A hand-drawn clock!


Porn: The driving force of technology

I once interviewed Danni Ashe, the soft-core porn star who founded the hugest online porn empire in the world. She told me that she’d been invited to speak at a couple of business events — not for the obvious cheesecake reasons, but because she knew a lot about developing web-based applications. When she first went online in 1995, there were no e-commerce or rich-media tools in existence. “I had to hire geeks,” she told me. “We had to build our own online billing system. We had to invent our own technologies for streaming media.”

This is an old paradigm, of course; new technologies are always instantly dragooned into the age-old service of getting people off. Some of the oldest photos in existence are of nekkid women. So it wasn’t that surprising that USA Today decided to run a story yesterday on the ways in which the porn industry has become a leading high-tech innovator. However, one paragraph did give me pause:

Technology has paid off handsomely for porn sites in the USA. Led by sites like Danni’s Hard Drive and Cybererotica, they generated $2 billion in revenue last year, up 10% to 15% from 2002, says Adult Video News, a trade magazine. That’s about 10% of the overall domestic porn market. The number of porn sites has vaulted eighteenfold, to 1.3 million, since 1998, says the National Research Council.

Uh … the National Research Council is keeping track of how many porn sites there are?

(Thanks to Slashdot for this one!)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson