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There are plenty of porn friendly payment providers. They just cost a lot of money relative to "normal" merchants because of a few simple reasons:

1) Chargebacks -- people chargeback the shit out of these kinds of transactions. Significant other sees the bill, gets pissed / confused about the charge / whatever and gets it charged back. 2) Fraud -- people use stolen CC's to pay for this kind of thing. 3) Porn operators are, as a whole, rather shady themselves and present their own set of risks to a payment provider. A lot of those chargebacks in #1 are actually valid chargebacks.

You could say "use bitcoin", which would solve the chargeback problem but do nothing for fraud and shady porn sites. If anything it would exacerbate the shady behavior because consumers would have no recourse against fraud.

In short, collecting payment for porn sites a tough, costly business.




Used to work in a business that sold porn DVDs and had to deal with chargebacks. We had an inbound sales call center, and a customer service one where you could cancel.

Among the chargebacks, fraud is the most common reason code, but the amount of true fraud such as stolen credit cards is astoundingly low to the point of being almost non-existent. I would say 90% of cases were the angry spouse and the man denying it. The most common actual fraud you would see is a relative who lives in the house using it, say a grandson using grandma's credit card or adult children running up a $4k tab after their parent died.

Also I had to find friendly merchant banks, the problem with this is it is very much a two-way trust street. Just as there are tons of shady porn providers, there are tons of shady merchant banks. Some will hold your money for no reason and can jeopardize your whole business, so we always had everything spread across multiple banks but that could still be problematic.


So what happens with those angry spouse chargebacks? You just eat the loss if that happens (and ban the customer)?


We eat the loss and the chargeback fee, it's just a cost of business.

It's not worth it to ban the customer. 90% of them don't buy again. Of the 10% that do, it's worth it to keep their business and risk the chargebacks. Most of them get better at hiding the porn. Also if we did this we would end up banning great customers who closed their card due to actual fraud and the bank just ending charging back everything after a certain date.

There just weren't really that many trying to scam us out of DVDs. Other business factors affect your chargeback rate way more than these customers.


What's the percentage of porn-related shadiness is because our society and business culture forces that? It seems similar to drug prohibitions etc. I haven't had to deal with a shady drug dealer in years now that weed is legal. Maybe if vice-clauses and the like weren't so ubiquitous we'd see more upright actors in the field.


Historically, you see more prostitution in uptight eras (Victorian, etc) where "good girls don't."

More recently, research suggests that rates of sexual assault go down when porn is readily available. It's a controversial thing that a lot of people don't want to hear at least in part because it directly contradicts a lot of feminist narrative that rape is about power, not desire.


Also, research is showing sex in general decreasing. Interesting if porn causes humans to stop reproducing just enough to go extinct.


With 7 billion people on the planet, I'm not losing sleep over this possibility. Especially since I am increasingly seeing stories about outright elderly women giving birth, a la a joke I read forever ago that "In the future, the pressure to produce grandkids will go way down because our grandparents will still be having babies."

That future appears to have more or less arrived.


Drug prohibition is a thing about laws.

It is legal (in the US) for people (of legal age) to purchase pornography* .

The fact that there is a cultural disapproval of pornography is not that much like there being laws restricting it.

Also, some things should be socially discouraged while being legal.

If you mean this as purely a descriptive question, then I suppose that yes, if fewer contracts excluded pornographic content from some service, then (nearly tautologically) there would be more services which permit it, and this might make some able to be more trustworthy about things.

However, normatively, I think the fact that pornography is viewed negatively, at least in public, is a good thing.


> I think the fact that pornography is viewed negatively, at least in public, is a good thing.

I'd love to see your thoughts on this expanded. I don't have a particularly rigorously formed opinion on this, but my gut disagrees. I'd settle for some links to articles/etc. that reflect your viewpoint.


Not OP, but my gut agrees with his. Very tricky issue and I don't think anyone can say who is "right", so I fall back to one universal principle to inform my opinion here, as well as a general societal observation.

The principle: moderation is almost always best. This applies to food and exercise, to work/life balance, to sex and drugs, and everything in between. Pornography consumption generally does not represent "moderation" of sex, but the extreme end of it - you crave sexual stimulation so badly that you resort to watching other people having their sexual urges fulfilled (which can then make the porn consumer less motivated to pursue healthy avenues to achieve their own sexual fulfillment, leading to a downward spiral). People will always be drawn to porn because sex is the one "addiction" that almost everyone is born with, but having a thin healthy layer of public shame helps to encourage people not to go too far down the rabbit hole.

Societal observation: society seems to be becoming shallower, more transactional, particularly in the realm of dating. In my opinion, unrealistic expectations of each other in a sexual context is one of the biggest causes of this, because when those expectations go unmet people move on to the next person they find on some app, instead of investing time into building a relationship and seeing if it can work (and growing themselves as a result of that investment). I think pornography contributes to these unrealistic expectations, and thus to making society more shallow.

I'm always cautious to dive into this too much in today's political climate, but I also think there are significant societal downsides to the more extreme levels of sexual liberation that are rapidly becoming normalized in American society (possibly all of western society, but I'm a bit too ignorant to speak on that). I think pornography contributes to this as well.


> Pornography consumption generally does not represent "moderation" of sex, but the extreme end of it - you crave sexual stimulation so badly that you resort to watching other people having their sexual urges fulfilled (which can then make the porn consumer less motivated to pursue healthy avenues to achieve their own sexual fulfillment, leading to a downward spiral).

This is equal parts editorializing and [citation needed]. Keep in mind that correlation != causation.

> I also think there are significant societal downsides to the more extreme levels of sexual liberation that are rapidly becoming normalized in American society

What downsides? What exactly do you mean by "extreme levels of sexual liberation"?


> This is equal parts editorializing and [citation needed]. Keep in mind that correlation != causation.

If you still trust any citations to social science research in 2019, I have a bridge to sell you. Unfortunately it is my strong belief that for the moment, we're on our own on this one. When discussing climate change, programming language trade-offs, tax policy, etc, give me all the evidence and data. But for this particular area of study, I trust my own observations/life experiences more than any research. I'm sure you and many other HNers will hate that answer, but I stand by it.

As to your second point, if shallow and transactional sexual relationships becoming more common does not seem to you like a downside, I doubt we will ever see eye to eye on this. For this particular subset of the issue though, you can google "consequences of extreme sexual liberation" and find any number of articles that describe this position and list the various downsides, most of them more clearly and articulately than I can (and some will also describe the behavioral patterns that could be characterized as "extreme sexual liberation"). I'm unwilling to go into more detail as sharing my opinions on topics less controversial than this has resulted in real life threats more than once.

Edit: In case it wasn't clear I just want to explicitly state my position: I am glad that pornography exists, I am glad that it is legal, and I am glad there is a bit of a stigma around it. I hope none of those things change.


> I'm sure you and many other HNers will hate that answer, but I stand by it.

I don't "hate" it; I just don't think it's worth anything. It's incredibly foolish to think that your own experiences qualify you to make sweeping statements about something as weird and subtle as human sexuality.

> As to your second point, if shallow and transactional sexual relationships becoming more common does not seem to you like a downside, I doubt we will ever see eye to eye on this.

Probably not. They're not my cup of tea personally, just because I am who I am, but again I don't consider that a basis for making a value judgment. I would love to hear you clearly articulate why you do attach a negative value judgment to this hypothetical increase in casual sex. Maybe you will change my mind—I am a reasonable person.

> google "consequences of extreme sexual liberation" and find any number of articles

The results of this were laughable. Nothing but more opinion and editorializing (that seems to be a theme here).

> I'm unwilling to go into more detail as sharing my opinions on topics less controversial than this has resulted in real life threats more than once.

Well, this is the internet and I'm not going to threaten you. If you can't produce a cogent argument, that's on you.


> Pornography consumption generally does not represent "moderation" of sex

What about couples with different libido (and functioning well otherwise). What about people who can't find a couple. What about people from any LGBTQ minority (and especially in countries where it is way less liberal/legal than USA?). I hate myself for saying that, but I think that particular phrase above is a symptom of a privileged position, since following "investing time into building a relationship" sounds quite similar to "why you just don't stop doing crime/drugs/alcohol and go to college", "why you just don't stop eat and do some runs instead".


It's really interesting to see the two responses to this, one "trad" and one socialist! I'll give my two cents as well.

I'm persuaded by the arguments of second-wave, sort-of "sex-negative" feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. Modern feminism seems mostly to have moved towards supporting the idea that sex work can be empowering and freely chosen. And it's true that with the internet this can be much more of a reality. Still, most of what I've read, and documentaries such as Hot Girls Wanted, imply that the vast majority of women working in porn and sex work have concomitant drug and alcohol problems and/or mental illness, and the job takes a huge psychological toll. It's not conducive with happiness and a positive image of oneself and others.

I think it's probably good (not to mention unavoidable) that pornography exists in society, but it should be less abundant and more stigmatised.


Pornography is a symptom of the commodification of sex, much like legal prostitution, sugar-daddies, and even the transactional swiping hookup apps that dominate dating among lower age groups. It is the tendency of a capital-dominated culture to turn everything into a commodity that is bought and sold; sex is merely one element that this system has consumed. After the wide acceptance of the birth control pill, the trend has been for women to take the same career and life path as men. Women no longer need long term relationships for sex or material needs; sex in the age of the birth control pill is done on women's terms and negotiated for a price they accept, as long as that relationship does not interfere with maximum capitalist production.

It's possible that if sex were not a commodity, we would be happier and more mentally healthy.


Sex was bought and sold long before capitalism, though.

And I don't even mean prostitution, although that one is obvious. But in traditional patriarchal societies, brides are often effectively bought and sold, and sex is a part of that package. The difference is whether the benefactor is the woman herself, or somebody else.

In a very cynical sense, in a traditional society, women are "capital" of a very special kind - they are the "means of production" of heirs. And heirs are necessary for the family line to accumulate other kinds of capital over time.


What do you make of dowries, where the bride's family transfers wealth to the groom's family? Are they buying the sex of the groom? This would be consistent with what you are saying. Dowries (wealth from bride's family to groom's family) are much more common today and throughout history than a dower (the reverse wealth transfer).


Agreed. And I think a large fraction of men (the ones who naturally suck at seducing women to begin with), if given the means to both reproduce and achieve sexual gratification WITHOUT women, would leap at the opportunity. Women recognize this, which is why they so heavily resist things like sex robots or even male contraception.

Jango Fett from Star Wars Episode 2 was an archetypal MGTOW and ahead of his time: cloning himself and investing all of his resources in transferring his accumulated life experience and knowledge to his "son"....no resource-sharing woman involved.

Personally I consider that a very dystopian potential future....


Women most certainly don't resist male contraception. On the contrary, women are usually the ones who have to keep reminding men to do it, or to use more reliable methods. For fairly obvious reasons: women are the ones who have to deal with far more serious consequences of unprotected sex.

And as for robots... consider the relative popularity of mechanical aids such as vibrators for women, and for men. I'd say that women have embraced sex robots a long time ago.


>>>Women most certainly don't resist male contraception. On the contrary, women are usually the ones who have to keep reminding men to do it, or to use more reliable methods.

I should have clarified, I wasn't referring to condoms but to pill-style oral contraceptives. Entirely my fault for the lack of specificity.[1][2]

>>>I'd say that women have embraced sex robots a long time ago.

Not as a replacement for THEMSELVES. [3][4][5]

[1]https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1251868/Of-course...

[2]https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-male-pill-contracep...

[3]https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6730555/Swedish-fem...

[4]https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/25/ban-se...

[5]https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/04/27/sex-robots-epitom...


I was hoping for some studies. This is a good example of "anecdotes are not data", and especially so that most of these are tabloid op-eds. It's a stretch to conclude something as broad as "women resist things like sex robots and male contraception" - such a claim strongly implies the majority, but all I'm seeing here is a few angry people, and sensationalist journalists happy to give them a platform.


From[1]: "For the second question, we found a marginal effect with men being more open to the idea of having sex robots (36 men in favor vs. 21 against) as a result of filling out the survey, while women being more against it (19 women in favor vs. 24 against)"

Or from[2]:"The only specific robot type with significant effects was sex robots: men (Mdn=3) reported them as being significantly more useful (women, Mdn=4), and men (Mdn=5) were also more willing to acquire a sex robot (women, Mdn=5)."

But both of these are user/owner-based perspectives on sex robots, rather than directly answering "How do you feel about competing with robots in the sexual marketplace?"

However, [3] points out that "Women compete by enhancing physical appearance and denigrating rivals’ reputations." [emphasis mine]. It stands to reason that women would continue to denigrate sexual competitors, even if those competitors are artificial constructs.

[1]https://hrilab.tufts.edu/publications/scheutzarnold16hri.pdf

[2]http://hci.cs.umanitoba.ca/assets/publication_files/beyond_p...

[3]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016748701...


In America we are seeing the acceleration of sex commodification to it's zenith.


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Define "mentally stable"? Deviance is a core part of the human identity, isn't it?


You are making a moral judgement, it has nothing to do with mental stability.


[flagged]


The plural of anecdote is not data. Also, do you have any credentials to back up your expertise in the field of psychology?


[flagged]


> I don't flash my credentials to win arguments online

I'll interpret that as "I don't have any relevant credentials."

Credentials often mean something. I see armchair lawyering all the time on HN, and as a actual attorney I find it both concerning and unsurprising how much ignorance exists of the actual law, enough for me to periodically step in and say something (and reveal my bona fides because I think it's relevant) when I think such a misunderstanding could be harmful to readers who may mistakenly rely on such assertions.

Your summary judgment of the mental health of the practitioners of the world's oldest profession is already unconvincing; the fact that you have no actual training or expertise in this area makes us trust you even less.


There's enough nuance in "mentally stable" that having some actual credentials, training, or at least pointing out relevant studies would be useful. Otherwise it does look like you're equate your moral stance with mental health diagnosis.


[flagged]


You've not provided anything - that's the problem. You posted an assertion and not backed it with anything substantial. Try to start with that.


> 1) Chargebacks -- people chargeback the shit out of these kinds of transactions.

So perhaps offer a payment system without chargebacks? Direct bank transfers also do not offer chargebacks and people use them for payment for goods and services.


In the US, the most common ACH debit and credit transfers can be “returned,” which is similar to a chargeback. This is covered by Subpart A of Regulation E of the Federal Reserve. Only “wire transfers” such as Fedwire and SWIFT transfers, which consumers rarely make here, offer final, irrevocable* payments the way many other countries’ normal domestic transfer systems do.

* Meaning they can’t be undone through the payment system. Sometimes it’s possible to sue the recipient or recover the money in other ways.


> If anything it would exacerbate the shady behavior because consumers would have no recourse against fraud.

Cryptocurrency works quite a bit differently to credit cards. "Fraud" in the usual sense isn't possible: it is not possible for the service provider to take your money merely by falsely claiming that you authorised a payment. Payments can only be initiated by the client.


> Porn operators are, as a whole, rather shady themselves and present their own set of risks to a payment provider. A lot of those chargebacks in #1 are actually valid chargebacks.

...is there a logical reason for this?


Society holds such jobs in low esteem, so the kind of people who take them are the ones that are not worried about their reputation. There are a few who buck the trend and keep it classy, but most are just the kind of people who will do anything for a quick buck, including double-charging paying customers.

It's a viscous cycle, really. We treat porn producers like dirt only only dirty people want to take the job which further reinforces our stereotypes about said people. Plus the barrier to entry is real low and brand loyalty is almost nonexistent so it's a prime industry for fly-by-night operators.


I knew someone who was involved in the 1-900 business in the 90's. Apparently back then it was relatively common to DoS your competition by running up a lot of fraudulent calls to their numbers. The hope being that the telco would cut them off, and you'd have one less competitor.

For my friend who was hit by this, it really sucked, because telco billing chargebacks in those days took 3 months or more, so it looked like he had hockey-stick month-over-month growth... until suddenly he didn't, because most of the "growth" was fraudulent charges intended to get him shut down.


Sound like a sort of catch 22. Payment processors treat them as second class citizens, so first class who would not do shady business don't dare set up in the industry. And so the reputation of the ones who do validates the processors' line of thinking.


At a guess, people are less likely to make a fuss about fraud when they're embarrassed to admit they were trying to buy such things.


Are there porn-friendly payroll providers?


ADT. We're just a business.




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