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Over the past five-or-so years we’ve seen a few breakout websites that have either directly or indirectly changed the face of porn. One is clearly a boon, while the other is a more complicated bedfellow. Twitter has assisted pornstars in breaking down the barriers between them and their fans, allowing for 24/7 contact with those that made their career, and it has been embraced by almost every pornstar this porn-filled noggin can think of! Hit up a list of pornstar Tweeters and you’ll soon enough find photos of Katie St. Ives wearing nothing but a fedora and a cigarette or Bobbi Starr’s blog posts addressing the state of the adult industry; both examples of the stellar additions to the porn world made possible by Twitter.

The other site? Well, that’d be any one of those XXX YouTube clones popping up faster than you can complain about their horrible video quality and blatant copyright infringement. (More on those sites and their impact on the industry here.)

Tubular Belles in Streaming Hell

YouTube may disallow pornographic content of any kind to be submitted by its essentially anonymous users, but the site has inadvertently launched a huge number of similarly styled “tube” sites that offer streaming videos of an explicitly adult nature. Where Twitter, Facebook, and, yes, sometimes even YouTube only serve to advertise and promote adult businesses and the porn community as a whole, the vast majority of adult tube sites allow content to be posted no matter its legal standing. Example: a noted performer is featured on an all-anal site in her first assfuck scene but before a few dozen eager viewers can sign up to the site and enjoy High Definition footage of their favorite pornstar in her anal debut, the scene has already been added to a free tube site, breaking copyright restrictions and damaging the movie in the process.

Now what happens? Well, tube sites being as reliably disappointing as they are, the scene is probably rendered in a horrendously encoded 360p Flash video and heavily edited, removing much of the performer’s introduction as well as the climactic cumshot. Not only is the uploading of this content often a violation of copyright law, but it makes an enjoyable, memorable beat-off session that much harder to achieve.

Just like the music and movie industries, porn has reached a critical juncture in its lifespan. Do you, the home viewer, go the cheapest route, one loaded with low-quality images, poor sound, lost revenue, copyright infringement, and a complete absence of customer service or do you scan Mr. Pink’s for a worthwhile adult site to enjoy for a full month without having to worry where your next sock-shot is coming from? Hell, we’ll even supply you with discounts! As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” and when you’re paying for nothing, well…