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At just 20 years old, Kandie Monaee earns good money, works a few days a week from home and even gets gifts mailed to her by adoring clients. She is a success in a Florida industry that is consistently on the cutting edge of technology, generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and aspires to move into the mainstream. Her on-line sessions run up to six hours, mixing small talk and teasing with sex acts. Hundreds of viewers log onto a free website called Chaturbate and type her messages, awarding her virtual "tokens" as tips that she redeems for money.
I never had a vanilla job," she said. You're not likely to hear a Florida politician boast about these jobs or a Chamber of Commerce rep tout the web cam industry as one of the state's tech successes. But the convention underlines that selling live sex online has become a big and serious business in Florida.
Many of the scheduled conference events may sound titillating — there is a panel, for instance, on the latest generation in adult toys — but the overriding theme is straight out of Biz Profit and how to increase it in a competitive trade that requires more than just a willingness to expose flesh. In the digital age, many sex performers increasingly operate as private entrepreneurs, and business, marketing and tech savvy can make big differences to the bottom line.
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Maybe it's color schemes. Maybe it's graphics. Maybe it's video length. We like that we are one of the reasons the community is evolving and building. How many people work as web cam models in South Florida or the state? In truth, there's no telling, although hundreds likely work at least part time. It's not a category that shows up in labor statistics, and streaming companies don't make their stats public, although at any given time on numerous internet sites, hundreds of models appear live. But the industry trend line clearly points up.
Last week, two cam sites ranked among the top 50 most visited in the United States: LiveJasmin at No. That's according to the Amazon-owned website Alexa, which tracks web traffic. About 2, people ed up to attend Cam Con, a 40 percent increase from the year, according to organizers.
At the SLS Hotel on South Beach, Cam Con has rented out the entire property, and is being ed for the first time by Inked Con and Cannabis Con, which promote tattoos and weed — two other industries that have been in the process of burnishing once-seedy reputations. Adult star Stormy Daniels — yes, the one embroiling a certain president in scandal — is scheduled to appear at the Neon Night Swim Soiree at Hyde Beach.
At XBiz Miami at the Mondrian South Beach hotel, scheduled events include a "Booze-n-Buns" poolside mixer, models-only "speed networking" sessions, and panels about crypto currency, tackling cyber bullies, video editing techniques and lessons on organizing business records and finances.
All of it topped off by a "Cam Model Olympics" competition and an awards night at the swank Liv nightclub at the Fontainebleau Hotel. While old-school downlo and video clips still dominate the internet sex business, the social media age is also reshaping porn — allowing customers to more directly interact with performers.
With reality stars and celebrities interacting with fans endlessly on social media, cam clients also want to build relationships, if even virtual ones, with their adult entertainers. Offering more personal interaction in the sex business can raise risks for some models — bullying is common, but some customers also can be downright scary. This month, Miami prosecutors charged a wannabe rapper named Michael Belanger, 39, with stalking after he allegedly terrorized a cam model he met through Chatstar, a service that allows adult entertainers to exchange messages and calls with fans without revealing their real contact info.
Even though the unidentified cam girl blocked Belanger, he continued ing her daily and even showed up at her condo, police said. Even after a court issued a restraining order, he assumed the identity "George Costanza" on Camsoda and OnlyFans. At one point, I was in shape sexy and but I'm a little overweight and sexy," he wrote in one to her, cited in an arrest warrant. Webcams have been around since the mids. But in the early years, the adult entertainment industry was dominated by large production companies like Vivid Entertainment and Wicked Pictures that ed up stars, shot their films and promoted them at industry events and strip clubs.
But the same economic downtown that shrank the Ks of America's office workers a decade ago also gutted large porn production companies. In the aftermath, many performers had no choice except to go independent and into web cam work, said Stephen Yagielowicz, of the adult-industry trade magazine XBiz. Camming was the perfect vehicle.
And with that came the rise of websites such as YouPorn and Pornhub, which generally earn money from advertising while letting people watch X-rated video clips for free. Couple that with cheaper everything — internet connections, smart phones, web camera equipment — and a proliferation of streaming websites, and many web cam "stars" were born. One model might even be your neighbor, though you wouldn't know it unless you were trolling for sex services online. Most models, like year-old Lisa Klark, work from home.
Originally from Russia, Klark began camming two years ago to supplement her job as a ballroom dance teacher in South Florida she occasionally shows off her steps for viewers. Klark works for a few hours every night, after her classes. Her niche: online fetishes, sometimes dressing in rubber and latex outfits, armed with gloves, whips, handcuffs, chains and masks. I am tall — 5-foot-9 barefoot, 6-foot-3 in my high heels," she said.
Other performers work at large professional studios that rent space — there is one in West Miami-Dade, and even one in the heart of Los Angeles' Hollywood district, billed as the world's largest cam studio. Day or night, at any hour and across a dizzying array of sites, models of every shape, age and ethnicity perform all sorts of acts for group audiences, most of them unprintable in a newspaper.
Private, one-on-one chats cost extra. But for all the strange fetish fixations that can be found in the digital world, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the live cam trade is the large share of viewers who say they want to watch models just doing everyday things: folding laundry, sun tanning, maybe some homework. It doesn't take a Ph. If you toss out the pay-to-play sex acts, some exchanges almost seem sweet. Like this one: During one session on a site called MyFreeCams, a model named Brielle sat next to still unopened gifts, describing her mundane weekend plans.
One chat guest offered to send her electric hedge trimmers. She laughed. Subscribe Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Log in Log out. Regions Tampa St. Letters to the Editor Submit a Letter. Investigations Narratives Pulitzer Winners. Connect with us. About us. Obituaries Homes Jobs Classifieds. Careers Advertise Legal Contact. Log in. Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Log out. By David Ovalle and Miami Herald. Published May 29, Not in Tampa Bay, survey shows.
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