I still remember the olden days of cam sites back in the nineties…when internet connections crawled and bandwidth limitations were as tight as an Escalade parking job on Black Friday (I was THIS CLOSE to using a significantly more vulgar analogy, but I’m trying to reform). Watching camgirl hotties do their thing was nowhere near as interesting as it is today, simply because models were basically forbidden from getting naked or doing anything funky in free chat.
The reason for this was that the big cam sites of the time (I’m thinking of bygone giants like IFriends and a couple others) were convinced that, in order to maximize profits, it was best to make viewers pay for the least bit of cam naughtiness. And indeed, at that point in the adult internet’s history, getting folks to pay for anything adult-related was easy as pie. I remember putting up simple text links on a free site or thumbnail gallery that would lead to multiple member signups at sites like IFriends within hours…damn, those were the days!
It was a different era, and convincing people to spend money on adult sites was substantially easier than it later became. With the explosion of porn video tubes and wall-to-wall free porn, consumers of adult entertainment on the internet got a good bit more discerning and selective about where they blew their cash online. While cam sites continued to make great money, some industry people began to see that times were changing and the business models were going to have to change with them.
Then, around a decade ago, MyFreeCams pops up with a bold new approach that would revolutionize the adult cam site biz. Models were allowed to get naked and naughty in free chat (at least unofficially), and “tipping” was introduced. This led to the phenomenon of cam whales, tip bombs, and the rise of the “top model.” Traffic to the site blew through the roof, as you might imagine, and a star was born that totally shook up the cam site realms like never before. Today, nearly all of the cam performers people talk about as being the queens of the camming industry got to where they are by being tipped blue on free cam sites.
Several years after MFC trailblazed the way for free cam sites, Chaturbate showed up with a similar business model and came on so strong, it now dwarfs MyFreeCams in terms of total traffic and is poised to become the biggest cam site of them all. To be fair, it must be pointed out that Chaturbate basically offers everything under the sun on their site (solo girls, boy-girl, tranny, alien, leprechaun), while MFC offers only female models. This is the main reason for the traffic disparity, I’m sure, but it’s also true that Chaturbate has a great deal of free apps for models to use that make broadcasting much easier — and they also run a much better affiliate operation that brings in a huge amount of webcamming superfans on a daily basis.
Having said all of this, there are still players in the cam site industry who have resisted the rush to free cams and continue to do quite well. LiveJasmin, for instance, consistently ranks at the top, in terms of traffic, and hasn’t really changed its main business model much since MyFreeCams and Chaturbate came on the scene. The question is, with the writing clearly on the wall, how long will the old way last?
If you’re a model or webcam studio owner, you need to get out in front and focus on a strong free cam site strategy to be able to really bring in the mega moolah going forward. I’ll soon be releasing a guide to rocking the cam at MFC and Chaturbate that I’m sure you’ll be interested in, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Will be dropping soon!