Do you know the people who are controlling the type of sex that we are being fed? Here’s why we need decentralised erotic content

 

 

Porn is a monopoly, and its name Is Mindgeek

Pornography and erotic art have been part of human society long before the internet came around. From engravings in caves, wall paintings and rock art in ancient Mesopotamia to erotic paintings, verbal and written erotica  – humans have always been incredibly creative in expressing their sexual desires and longings.

 

When the commercialisation and digitalisation of art and pornography started taking over, the industry was dominated by porn moguls such as Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire who fascinated the masses with a bon vivant lifestyle, a scandalous magazine and various TV shows that he hosted.

 

The mass adoption and widespread accessibility of the internet presented a deluge of new possibilities for the thriving adult industry. But, as so often with new technologies, early adopters had a massive advantage over even the most established companies and experts from pre-internet erotica times. As a result, online porn is now led by a secretive group of experts on algorithms, search engine optimisation and targeted advertising, leaving previous dominant players behind.

 

online porn is now led by a secretive group of experts on algorithms, search engine optimisation and targeted advertising

 

The Montreal-based business Mindgeek is the owner of several of the sector’s most visited sites including Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn. MindGeek towers over the pornography industry in Europe and America. Despite this, basic facts about the company are largely unknown. That includes its main owner — a businessman called Bernard Bergemar, whose name is almost completely invisible on the internet but who has a claim to the title of the world’s most successful porn tycoon. Until the Financial Times started an investigation, his identity was secret, known only to a small circle of MindGeek executives and their advisers.

 

Very little is known about the new group of operators whose pockets are being lined by the demand for sexually arousing footage and who dictates what kind of sexual content is being fed to the masses. Today, 1/3 of all internet traffic is connected to viewing pornographic content, porn is more popular than ever. So, if we all watch porn, how come we know so little about the people behind the porn sides we visit? Why are we not more aware of the type of content we consume, who profits from it, who makes sure the content we watch is not exploitative or even things as basic as why can I watch all these videos for free, meanwhile I have to pay my subscription to cinema and music streaming platforms?

 

Today, 1/3 of all internet traffic is connected to viewing pornographic content. The truth is, the majority of porn users is very unaware of what they are watching online and who they’re supporting. And that is not a coincidence.

 

The truth is, the majority of porn users is very unaware of what they are watching online and who they’re supporting. And that is not a coincidence. MindGeek’s website hardly shows any traces of the adult entertainment industry. Instead, the company counts as “a leader in design and development” and managing “high traffic websites”.

 

 

The business of big data

Detailed data tracking the sexual fantasies of hundreds of millions of people direct what MindGeek orders production studios to shoot for their subscription pages, which are then promoted on the company’s vast network of tube sites to tap into their massive audience.

 

The man who defined the new era of porn was Fabian Thylmann. As a teenager in Germany in the late 1990s, he developed one of the first pieces of software that enabled website owners to charge for advertisements by tracking what visitors clicked on. It offered a glimpse of how lucrative online marketing could be if only there was something to attract crowds — such as free videos of people having sex. With the money made from his first venture, Mr Thylmann, began snapping up fledgling porn sites and production companies, which were struggling to compete with free sites full of videos ripped off from them.

 

It offered a glimpse of how lucrative online marketing could be if only there was something to attract crowds — such as free videos of people having sex.

 

Porn sites collect more user data than Netflix or Hulu. … the porn industry could have a bigger economic influence on the US than Netflix. Researchers who analysed 22,484 pornography websites warn that 93% leak user data to a third party. The information gathered by porn sites creates numerous opportunities for violence, blackmail, and discrimination, constituting a clear and present danger to those who consume online pornography.

 

 

racial and misogynist slurs as clickbait have serious effects on societies attitudes to sex

Surely you’ve noticed the strange titles most porn videos on these tube sides have. “Blond bitch being destroyed by massive black cock”, “Asian whore getting her holes filled with cum – the level of misogynist and racist violence that is being normalised in porn is not just outrageous, it has serious consequences on the lives of women and marginalised groups.

 

“Studies show that 90% of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online, it’s crazy that while we have to unpack what effects this will have on their attitudes to sex, we have to now consider how we view the ‘other.’ Watching videos of pornographic images that glorify racial slurs, physical violence and the degradation of black women is not a healthy image to be exposed to.'” – says the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). Internet users’ sexual lives are likely to be more impacted by the explicit short videos we trawl through than by the theories of the world’s most respected minds.

 

Responsible for the blatant discrimination on porn sites are the companies capitalizing off of racism and racist stereotypes, sexism and misogyny. The porn industry seems to get a free pass to promote endlessly harmful and abusive content in the name of marketing sexual entertainment to anyone with an internet signal, and it’s a problem.

 

Internet users’ sexual lives are likely to be more impacted by the explicit short videos we trawl through than by the theories of the world’s most respected minds.

 

Harsh consequences for sex workers and consumers

The extreme rise of free online pornography has resulted in a massive decline in the wages of porn performers. Mindgeeks business model and monopoly has squeezed profit margins for producers, squashed smaller companies and pushed down pay and working conditions for a growing number of actors.

 

We need alternative, independent solutions for erotic entertainment

Mindgeek’s porn monopoly has changed the adult industry and it has changed the relationship and outlook on sex of billions of viewers worldwide. It is impossible to tell what kind of consequences this already has and could potentially have in the future. All we know is that we are not going to leave the future of sex in the hands of a few ominous tech geeks who are not even willing to reveal their identities and business models to the public. We believe that blockchain can be used to better or even solve some of pornography’s most pressing issues.

SX Noir, President of Women of Sex Tech said in an article for Indie Mag:

“We need to defund big tech and start investing in private, nicher internet platforms that do away with addictive scrolls and the Las Vegas jackpot feel. Sites where we can buy directly from the creator. That’s where I see the future: smaller, better and with more empathy.”

 

And this is where nftreats comes in…

 

Here’s what nftreats will be doing differently

  • We won’t work with manipulating algorithms. We believe that you are smart enough to make your own choices about what you want to watch and we also believe that your sexuality is complex,  diverse and way too beautiful to be narrowed down to a few searches you’ve made. We’re not going to bombard you with similar content over and over again to keep you hooked. We want you to keep exploring and find new things and we want you to be in charge of your own desires.
  • We won’t collect any of your data to target you with specific advertisements, or to sell to suspicious third parties.
  • We put content creators first. 90% of each sale goes directly to the performers and artists on our platform. We are also going to pay gas fees for our creators to make nftreats accessibly for everyone.
  • You won’t ever see racial slurs, misogyny or other forms of discrimination or violence on nftreats. We believe that erotic art and porn is a beautiful form of entertainment, but we also know that it has underlying educational aspects. What we watch online shapes our depictions of sex offline, especially because we live in a world where sex education is not accessible for a lot of people.
  • We don’t believe in moguls or monopolies. We’re all about decentralisation. If we really want to know what our community wants to see, we’re gonna have to ask our community instead of implementing algorithms. This is why we’re going to work towards operating nftreats as a DAO.
  •  The customer gets privacy and freedom to choose how they pay. Without it ending up on the bank statement.
  • We take ethicality seriously. All content on our platform has to undergo a screening process before it can be minted on the blockchain.

 

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