How was Pornhub, “the sex giant” born?

How was Pornhub, “the sex giant” born?

To coincide with the release of a documentary about the Pornhub subpage on Netflix on March 15th, a look back at the birth of the sex giant

This now gigantic platform has had many issues related to violence, sexual abuse and consent in the content it publishes. ” This documentary asks us about the definition of sexuality and consent when multi-billion dollar platforms capitalize on user-generated contentsaid Suzanne Hillinger, the director and producer of the documentary. Now let’s get back to the origin of the story.

A golden opportunity

The story begins quite logically. It’s 2006 and the students at Concordia University were passionate about sex and the internet. By creating this platform, they see an opportunity that could appeal to many people as videos of complicated, rare and expensive sexual nature are kept at this time. No doubt out of a desire for confidentiality and security, the identities of these founders have long been veiled. Still, there is a good chance to bet on it Ouissam Youssef, Stephane Manos, Feras Antoon and Matt Keezer are the origin of the platform. They first launched YouPorn in 2006 and then Pornhub the following year.

Matt Keezer reportedly bought the domain name for $2,750 from an acquaintance he met at a party at the Playboy mansion. Initially, the site was just a video aggregator, but it quickly became a huge hit due to its user-friendly interface and the amount of content available. The site also implemented a revenue sharing system with content producers, allowing users to find professional-quality videos on the site. The math was extremely good: in 2007 it was the rise of the internet, the smartphone revolution (the iPhone has just appeared), and the intensive development of the X-industry.

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A lucrative business

Pornhub has more than 1 million visitors per day 6 months after its launch in 2007. Today, Pornhub is the 13th most visited website in the world, estimated to be worth $1.5 billion as of December 2020. This website hosts where you can watch free and paid content, initially through advertising or with premium subscriptions, continues to attract new visitors every day. With 3.5 billion monthly visitors, Pornhub is the flagship company MindGeek, which beats other similar platforms like Youporn, Redtube, Brazzers Studios, etc.

The real revolution broke out in 2010. The site launched a mobile version that allowed users to watch pornographic videos on their smartphones. This is how confidentiality and discretion become absolute: users have anytime, anywhere access to the world’s largest hub of sexual fantasies according to their desires. This opaque and lucrative business is run with an iron fist by German businessman Fabian Thylmann. The latter sold its shares in 2013 and it was one of the founders, Feras Antoon, who bought it for $100 million with reclusive Austrian businessman Bernd Bergmair. Feras Antoon then becomes CEO of the parent company.

The trouble begins

In April 2021, CEO Feras Antoon’s $20 million mansion burned down. It is most likely an arson attack by anti-porn activist groups who are said to have set the fire. This event follows revelations by The New York Times in December 2020, which revealed that Pornhub was infested with videos about sexual abuse, revenge porn, spying on women, racist or misogynistic content, but also sequences featuring underage girls. These revelations prompted Pornhub to remove 7 million videos (more than 50% of the site’s content) and review its moderation policy.

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In 2022, this scandal forced the companies Visa and Mastercard, which operate the platform’s transactions and act as intermediaries for Mindgeek’s advertising management, to end their partnership entirely. In June 2022, MindGeek’s CEO and COO, David MarmorsteinTassilo, tendered their resignations. Pornhub recently said it had introduced stricter operating rules for its users and subscribers.. However, the company is still the subject of numerous disputes and immense financial interests.

Pornhub offers a world of considerable unbridled fantasies, but it certainly damages women’s image and erotic imagination in general by imposing stereotypical sexual patterns on youngsters’ minds with devastating force. The documentary Pornhub: Close-up on the Sex Giant, airing March 15th on Netflix, will surely reveal many secrets to us!

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