Don’t Let Them Trick You – MindGeek, PornHub, and YouPorn are Bad News

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PornHub and YouPorn want you to think they’re good people. They really do. From giving funding to college sex educators to ‘fighting’ revenge porn to even paying for plows during snowstorms in major cities, they run some new positive propaganda stuff every time you turn around.

Don’t believe it for a single second. There’s a reason they’re on my blacklist.

They Have A Monopoly

PornHub’s parent company, MindGeek, has a virtual monopoly on ‘free’ porn streaming sites. These sites are modeled after YouTube, allowing users to upload content. Total, they consume the third-largest amount of bandwidth, with only Google and Netflix ahead of them. Companies they own or have a part in include (but aren’t limited to):

  • YouPorn
  • RedTube
  • Tube8
  • XTube
  • ExtremeTube
  • PornMD
  • PornIQ
  • Peeperz
  • GayTube
  • Babes.com
  • Men.com
  • Sextube
  • SpankWire
  • MyDirtyHobby
  • Webcams.com
  • Brazzers
  • Digital Playground
  • Reality Kings
  • Mofos
  • Twistys
  • Playboy
  • Wicked Pictures

They are involved with over 100 sites. No, I’m not kidding. If this wasn’t porn, I have a feeling they’d be more regulated and challenged by laws.

Stolen Content

One of the biggest issues with MindGeek companies is that they do not regulate stolen content. This means users can upload clips they got from any performer without that performer benefitting. There are even allegations that they cheat the system:

For example, one shady scenario involves a company that knowingly and willingly submits infringing content to its tube site — or pays others to do it for them — under the guise of “user” uploads. Then in an effort to seemingly comply with the DMCA, removes clips on request — only to have the compliance department send the removed material to the upload department, where this cynically cyclical process is endlessly repeated.

The monopoly MindGeek holds on streaming sites, in addition to the big production names they own or are involved with, make it very difficult for performers to feel like they can speak up. Adult actress Tasha Reign said, “It’s like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place in a way, because if I want to shoot content then I kinda have to shoot for [Mindgeek] because that’s the company that books me because they own…almost…everything.” The fear of being blacklisted by a company that owns nearly 100 sites is terrifying.

Siri, the owner of Abby Winters, said, “From personal experience, I know how hard it is to get my copyrighted content removed from tube sites – even the purportedly “legit” ones that porn magnate MindGeek owns still force copyright holders to jump through hoops to get our content removed from tube sites.” She goes on to explain that, like Walmart, MindGeek purposely has built a monopoly by providing ‘free’ content. Hell, they even profit more off pirated content than the stuff they produce and own.

It’s very costly to hire a legal team to issue DMCA takedown notices and threaten legal action, making it less accessible to people, too. That’s even more work someone has to do to afford to take legal action to keep work they do from being pirated. At the end of the day, that costs too much in money, time, and energy for sex workers – especially disabled SWs.

That monopoly also forces a number of performers, sites, and stores who would object to MindGeek’s ethics to work with them. If they don’t, they’d likely cease to exist. This has been an issue for nearly a decade.

Like Walmart, the quality of films made goes way down. When the #PayForYourPorn movement started, Megan Wozniak – the marketing director of Adult DVD Empire – said, ”If people continue down this road, porn is not gonna get made. It’ll all be amateur content, and you won’t get the high-resolution, high production quality that you have with the studios. We just wanted to educate consumers who might not be aware of the effects of pirated content.”

This becomes even worse when we consider that, unlike other film-based industries, adult performers only get paid once for their appearances. They don’t get royalties or money from sales unless they’re a one-person show releasing their own content. That means working much harder for less overall pay, something that has a lot of performers afraid for their career safety.

Doxxing Sex Workers

If that wasn’t bad enough, the process these sites use to remove pirated content puts sex workers at risk. About this time last year, I watched as a friend live-tweeted discovering their videos on PornHub. Once they filed to get that removed, it took quite a bit for PornHub to get on it. The scarier part? They put up this performer’s real name. They had multiple stalkers that could now find them. It took days of several of us harassing PornHub to get this remedied. It seems that every time I turn around, though, I see this happening to more performers.

What they’re doing is doxxing sex workers – sharing their true identities instead of scream names. It’s a revenge tactic to try to scare people away from getting content they rightfully own off these tube sites. If this were something YouTube did, you bet Viacom and others would stomp on this. Unfortunately, because this is porn, the government – which usually would get in on this stuff – doesn’t care.

And that’s scary AF.

For performers who, like any other human in an occupation, has a family or another job to worry about? It’s even more terrifying.

Gathering Your Data

The UK recently based the Digital Economy Act. One of the pieces of this act is to have an age checker on all pornographic sites. The AgeID system that MindGeek sites will use does more than that – it collects information about you. And they’re offering their system to other porn sites for a fee.

In order to verify your age, you can log into a third-party site. According to RT, MindGeek has stated it won’t collect data during the verification process. However, data is still stored:

The program will find the names, postal addresses, nationalities, dates and places of birth, email addresses, mobile phone numbers and demographic information of its users. The firm notes that this information can be used by AgeID “to develop and display content and advertising tailored to your interests on our website and other sites.”

The policy also states: “We also may use these technologies to collect information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or other online services.”

This has people concerned about visiting social media, conducting business, and more. And rightfully so, especially as MindGeek isn’t to be trusted.

Alternatives

There are so many porn sites and companies to avoid. SO MANY. Badass Ben Woods covered a lot of them in this piece for The Next Web. I highly suggest reading it because it highlights how awful other sites are as well.

As Siri points out,

There is no such thing as a “mom and pop” free porn site, I’m sorry. The largest, most popular tube sites are owned by large corporations (or simply extremely wealthy individuals) seeking to profit by stealing other people’s copyrighted material, and organizations that promote piracy of all online media.

So just know that every time you log on to a tube site, you’re definitely hurting performers like me, who work hard and pay out of my own pocket to produce original content for my own website. And you’re hurting the non-MindGeek-owned companies like Naughty America, Bang Bros, and many of the mainly-DVD-release studios like Vivid, Girlfriends Films, Elegant Angel, Evil Angel, and New Sensations/Digital Sin. Many of those companies continually have to cut their budgets as a direct result of piracy and tube sites.

I haven’t even gotten into the issues around problematic mainstream porn. In addition to the poor quality Wozniak mentioned above, much of the porn on these sites reinforces stereotypes that are way past done. They lack representation. Hell, they even teach those without access to better sex ed some negative things about communication, consent, and general sexuality. Alas, this isn’t the time or the place to really get into that.

Let’s discuss alternatives to MindGeek sites.

Obviously, my top pick is anything from parent company Pink & White Productions like CrashPad, Pink Label, or Heavenly Spire. Yes, these are affiliate links because I love P&W. I wouldn’t be their affiliate if I didn’t. The representation for queer, trans, disabled, and people of color their sites have honestly can’t be beat.

Other paid sites to check:

Make sure to check out amazing content from independent pornographers, cam performers, and more, too. Some of my favorite pals include: