The Identity Crisis of Selling Sex Online. Anonymity and Validating Identity in the Online Sex Industry
SexyGrrl53112. BlndePrncessxxx. UrGayMaster00xx. These are made-up usernames, but we've all seen similar ones, right? Most of us assume them to be spam-bots, scam-artists, etc., but in the world of internet sex work, how does anyone know for sure? Moreover, if you're an amateur producer and seller of adult activity and material, how do you make sure that the user is of age, real, and not simply going to record your camera show and sell it as a video?
Privacy And Access Is A Tough Balance For Online Vendors
For large porn studios and esablished independent producers working through legitimate clip-selling sites, things are fairly easy; the user is asked to self-identify their age, and the rest is a basic online transaction (of course, with any adult site, the age verification and purchasing hurdles may be bypassed by unscrupulous teens who've taken mom or dad's credit card, but that's outside of the site's legal responsibility). But pre-recorded pornography isn't the only kind of sex material available for purchase online. Today's online DIY sex industry includes things like live shows, paid domination, and other ongoing direct business relationships that require a bit more care than a one-time (or even repeated) purchase from an internet storefront.
There Are More Amateur Content Creators Every Day
Because the online sex industry is so filled with independent content creators, for many there's little in the way of regulation beyond what simply is and isn't legal. So, most of the work of verifying the identity of buyers falls to the creators themselves. Female dominatrices and cam-girls have invented their own methods, like video verification, in which one or both of the parties sends a video or appears on live camera providing their name and face to prove that they are who they say they are. Some even ask customers to sign a contract. Of course, the degree of care taken depends strongly upon the type of content being provided. It also depends upon the parties' experience in the industry, leading to concerns about young, naive men and women being taken advantage of online.
Whistle Blowers Are Everywhere
On the flip-side, some have opened whistle-blower social media accounts, calling out fakes, scammers and general wastes of time. The twitter account @TIMEWASTINGSUB, for example, displays evidence that certain users in the BDSM community are con-artists (generally, the evidence isn't used to publicly "out" the person's involvement to the outside world, but only to community members). Other Twitter users and adult content creators are able to include the @TIMEWASTINGSUB account on a relevant tweet, and it will be re-tweeted for visibility. Beyond these sort of vigilante watchdog groups, there may not be much that can be done for the poor souls who get catfished by scam accounts. Fortunately, a quick course on personal online safety and security can help any victim turn savvy. Keep personal information close. Work through a legitimate payment system, like Paypal. Do your research. Learn to reverse image search. If you believe an account is committing a legitimate internet crime, report them. The same general tips and tricks apply to the internet sex industry as anywhere else.
Some Sites Are Dangerously Inadequate
Despite the grey areas, risks, and the shockingly sloppy methods some people use to validate one another's identity, there are a significant number of porn producers, models, dom(me)s, subs, etc. who are pushing to standardize things and protect themselves and customers from being ripped off. If there's a silver lining in all of this confusing mess, it's that somewhere, right now, some scammer is talking to some other scammer about double penetration, and both of them are, well... getting screwed.