Web of Porn: The Business of Porn - Part 2

The promised e-commerce boom is another factor behind the sex industry's growth online.

Although not directly selling sex, lingerie company Victoria's Secret for example, showed investors what the future of online retailing could look like by sending its underwear models sashaying down an online catwalk. Not surprisingly, a surge in traffic jammed the lines to the company's Web site.

Over at Playboy's new York headquarters, rumours -- flatly denied by the company -- that it was looking to float its Internet business on the stock market illustrate the strength of its online assets.

According to Mark Tiarra, president of United Adult Sites, a trade association representing over 500 adult entertainment Web sites, pornography sites are one of the biggest attractions on the Web. 50 to 60 percent of traffic from search engines goes to adult sites according to Tiarra while figures from Internet analyst Media Metrix indicate that while adult sites may not be the ultimate traffic champion, they still account for a very large chunk.

In September last year for example, more than 18 million viewers had a peep at adult Web sites, not bad when compared to the 48 million who visited marketing/corporate Web sites -- the most frequented spot.

Adult sites actually came in level with travel/tourism and not too far behind educational sites. The gender bias of cyber sex is predictably towards the male, according to Media Metrix which reckons that in a typical month six million men between the ages of 35-54 frequented sex sites compared to just over 2 million women of the same age group.

There are many shades in the cyber-porn spectrum, from harmless amateurs beaming pictures of domestic bedroom games to the World Wide Web to the darker side of sadism and torture. Not surprisingly analysts are in two minds whether sex sites will follow the same route to cyber stardom as the amazon.com's of this world.

Despite the huge volume of traffic that Net sex attracts however, there is little activity on the IPO front. Observers claim that the sex industry -- mostly privately owned -- will have to restructure dramatically if we are to see the investors go crazy for the likes of sex.com.

Take me to the Web of Porn Special.