We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
79,470 News Articles

12 ways porn shaped the internet

How adult content improved the web's infrastructure

8. Naughty: Browser Hijacking

Among the earliest instances of browser hijacking occurred when slime lords would use spyware and adware to hijack a browser's home page or change a user's default search engine, redirecting the hapless surfer to bogus 'search engines' loaded with pay-per-click ads for adult sites. The owners of these pages would receive a few pennies every time some the rube clicked on one of the links - a commercial arrangement that might translate into tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each month.

9. Nice: Traffic optimisation


Long before blogs appeared - or aggregation sites like Digg and Reddit, or affiliate ad networks like Link Exchange, or even Google Adsense - X-rated online venues were building massive site traffic by sharing links, customers, and revenues among themselves.

"The porn folks have led the industry in traffic development and monetisation," says Ariel Ozick, chief of operations for Wired Rhino, a search marketing optimisation company. "They developed the concept of top sites linking to generate traffic and were among the first to develop an affiliate revenue-sharing model."

Since the dawn of the web, adult sites have been sharing customers, says Frieser. "Back in the '90s, if you subscribed to an adult site and left after three months, you'd get an email offering access not only to that site but to three other networks for the same price. There was a lot of that going on."

Now Frieser says that the phenomenon is starting to regain strebgth, in part because pay-to-view adult sites are losing their audience to a plethora of free smut on the Net.

10. Naughty: Domain-Name Hijacking


There's probably no more egregious example of someone filching someone else's domain than the circumstances prompting the legal battle over Sex.com. In 1996, Stephen M. Cohen allegedly used a faked document to convince Network Solutions that legal ownership of Sex.com had been transferred to his name. He then operated a wildly profitable porn operation on that site. In 2001 the domain was returned to its original owner, Gary Kremen, and Cohen was ordered to pay him $65 million. Cohen refused and is still at trial for contempt after going on the lam for five years; Kremen sold the domain in 2006 for an estimated $14 million.


IDG UK Sites

Sony PlayStation 5 release date, price and specs UK: When is the PS5 coming out?

IDG UK Sites

New Apple TV release date rumours, features: 'new Apple TV next week' rumour

IDG UK Sites

Mobile email is powerful and useful - but also hopelessly intrusive

IDG UK Sites

How the Oculus Rift VR headset is helping train the surgeons of tomorrow