Pornography being marketed to cell users

Bethany Jones

Greater mobile technology means greater access to pornography and more opportunities for porn distributors.

A 2005 survey conducted by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association shows there are more than 200 million wireless customers in the United States. A 2004 study indicated cell phone owners were growing by nearly 2 million per month.

According to a study done last year by Maryam Kamvar of Columbia University and Shumeet Baluja of Carnegie Mellon University, two computer science professors who work with Google, mobile porn is on the rise.

To better understand what people were searching for on mobile devices, Kamvar and Baluja analyzed a random sampling of more than 1 million Google page views from cellular phones and PDAs to discover 20 percent of cell phone searches were for adult content, the largest of any search query.

Google spokeswoman Erin Fors said Google believes this study to be the first of its kind and searches for adult content may be so high because of the privacy that mobile devices offer.

The study was presented April 26 at the CHI 2006 conference in Montreal, an interactive conference for human-computer interaction.

An innovator of marketing pornography specifically to mobile users is Xobile, a division of the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network that allows web users to stream or download pornography onto cellular devices.

Xobile has more than 170,000 members, said Jay Strowd, director of new media technologies for AEBN.

A person can sign up for a free Xobile.com account and is then able to search through the adult library databases that contain 76,428 clips online, he said.

Strowd said on average, Xobile members purchase about seven movies a month. The movies run two minutes, except for free clips and iPod portable videos, he said.

Strowd said AEBN focuses mainly on cellular devices because Apple is retaining the majority of security rights on the iPod.

Strowd said the United States is learning from the European and Asian market, which is ahead in marketing pornography to mobile devices.

“The public is beginning to define a need for access to data anywhere and anytime,” he said. “People want to be able to access e-mail or view clips from their favorite TV program.”

Apple’s 2006 second quarter fiscal year ended April 1, and results were announced April 19. More than 8 million iPods were sold during the quarter, a 61 percent growth in iPods from this time last year.

When Apple launched its new video iPod October 12, 2005, it took only 20 days for iPod customers to purchase and download more than a million videos.

“Selling 1 million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, in an Oct. 31st press release.

Taking advantage of both new mobile technology and the obvious interest of the public is porn mogul Penthouse, who announced plans to offer movies on portable devices in November 2005.

Movies can now be downloaded from Penthouse.com for iPods and PlayStation Portables and they will be available for cell phones any day, said Marc Bell, chief executive officer of Penthouse Magazine.

Will mobile porn have an effect on people?

Jack Samad, senior vice president of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, said the increase of technology is making porn easily accessible to children.

“Porn has been around forever. The reality is young kids before had to walk into a store to purchase it,” he said. “They no longer have to worry about the public scrutiny.”

Samad said parents often purchase cell phones, iPods and Sony PlayStations for their children.

Samad said the National Coalition has been researching pornography for 23 years and said porn dissocializes individuals and it causes men to objectify women. He said there is also a link between a person’s exposure to pornography and when they will become sexually active.

“There is a detrimental affect on young professionals and we’re alarmed by the social acceptance by counselors who are promoting bringing this stuff into the bedroom,” he said.

Paul Cambria, general council for Larry Flint and for the Adult Freedom Foundation, which defends the adult entertainment industry, said new technology will have no negative effect on the porn industry and that it will only help it. However, it has made it easier for kids to view pornography.

Cambria said compared to the majority of people who view pornography, only a minor few suffer problems from it.

“The vast majority can drink alcohol in moderation, but there are some people who can’t, and they become alcoholics,” he said.

He also said numerous psychologists and sexologists agree pornography can be used as a tool in helping in the bedroom, but again, some people will have problems.

“My wife became addicted to a vibrator and she didn’t care about me anymore,” Cambria said. “When you scratch below the surface, you find out that the husband isn’t paying attention to her. People use this as an excuse for personal failure.”

What you can do if you think you’re addicted

Jr Mahon, 39, is a pastor at xxxchurch, which addresses the issue of pornography and provides solutions through non-judgmental and creative means.

In order to help people who are addicted to online pornography, the church developed free downloadable X3 accountability software. A person who wants help with his or her porn addiction can choose an accountability partner. The software logs all the porn sites a person has visited, and their accountability partner will get an e-mail every two weeks with a listing.

The site averages about a million hits per month, and Mahon said he receives hundreds of e-mails weekly about how the software is helping people control their addiction.

“We get a ton, a ton of college kids that write into xxx. Probably a quarter of letters are from college students.”

Contact enterprise reporter Bethany Jones at [email protected]