Dot-com failures become porn kings

Will failed Australian dot-com entrepreneurs follow the US lead into the lucrative world of porn?

SYDNEY--Failed US dot-com entrepreneurs are cashing in on the demand for porn, and there’s been a 10 percent rise in Australian-based adult sites in the last 12 weeks, according to local software filtering company SurfControl.

”Companies that failed to make a profit from their dot-com ventures are left with a major investment in skills and infrastructure. It’s not surprising that they would turn to a highly tradable commodity such as pornography,” SurfControl Australia’s managing director Charles Heunemann told ZDNet Australia.

And while Heunemann said he didn’t know if the failed Aussie dot-comers would get in on the act, “our own regional content development team based in Sydney have witnessed a 10 percent increase in Australian-based porn sites over the last three months,” he said.

However, the Internet Industry Association (IIA) didn’t seem to think the trend to move into the online porn market would sweep into Australia.

”It’s not likely--our local content laws would mean that any content that is stronger than R-rated could not be hosted here. And even if it was occurring, it would be only happening remotely and in a way that no one could reasonably detect,” IIA executive director Peter Coroneous said.

“I suspect that the online porn industry is so well-established now that the costs for new entrants would be quite high, and in the current capital market environment, funding will be hard to come by--almost irrespective of your business model.”

Research company Jupiter Media Metrix told ZDNet that although there’s an enormous movement of Web sites in and out of the online porn arena, it’s probably the same content recycled under different titles. And although there's a large number of sites, predominantly US-hosted, the major contenders for the porn site crown have held the top titles for some time, according to senior analyst David Stuart-Hunter.

Furthermore, the audience numbers surfing porn sites and the amount of time spent in this online sector have remained unchanged over the last 18 months, he said. Thirty-three percent of online users visit a porn site at some time in any month. On average, these users visit adult sites four times within that four-week period, racking up 64 minutes at one site over the course of a month--approximately 16 minutes per visit.

Whether or not a new porn phenomenon launches itself Down Under, Internet pornography is still causing major problems in the Australian workplace, according to Heunemann.

“Up to 70 percent of porn traffic occurs between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm,” he said.

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