Thursday, October 28

Pornhub and company are losing clicks

In the wake of legal proceedings for disseminating intimate videos without consent, the sites of Montreal porn giant MindGeek recorded a marked drop in attendance. Its most popular platform, Pornhub, lost its title as the # 1 adult site this fall.

This is what stands out SimilarWeb data, a British firm that assesses website traffic. From December to January, the number of monthly visits to Pornhub fell 21%, from 3.2 billion to 2.5 billion.

The site that was at the top of the most viewed pornographic sites has been dethroned in recent months by Xvideos, owned by its main competitor WGCZ.

The observation is similar for the other free platforms of MindGeek which is run from Montreal and employ hundreds of people in the metropolis. During the same period, the number of monthly visits to YouPorn fell by 26% while those of RedTube fell by 32%.

“What has been going on since December affects MindGeek in every way,” says Margaret MacDonald. A doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, she is one of the few Canadian academics to be specifically interested in the strategies deployed by pornographic platforms.

Several legal proceedings

The company’s image was first tarnished by the publication ofan investigation by New York Times, she recalls. In early December, the American daily reported testimonies revealing the presence of illegal content that would have been broadcast without consent on Pornhub.

In the days that followed, MindGeek announced have deleted nearly 10 million videos posted by unverified users.

To this were added mediatized legal proceedings, she points out. Forty women filed a lawsuit against MindGeek and Pornhub in December. They claim that videos of them were broadcast without their consent and claim US $ 40 million in damages.

In January, an Ontarian initiated a class action request $ 600 million against MindGeek on behalf of people whose intimate videos were allegedly released without their consent.

More recently, in mid-February, it was the turn of two women in Alabama to initiate legal proceedings in the state Federal Court. Videos of them were reportedly released without their consent. They question the verification system of users who share videos on MindGeek sites.

“And in the last few weeks in Canada, MindGeek executives have also had to answer questions from the Standing Committee on Privacy and Ethics,” adds Margaret MacDonald.

These are all elements that would have changed the perception of the company which has generated what it qualifies as a “network effect”. A drop in attendance on the company’s flagship platform would have resulted in a drop in attendance throughout the latter’s ecosystem.

In addition to MindGeek’s free platforms, the company’s most popular paid site – Pornhub Premium – also saw a notable drop in traffic (-32%), from 205 million visits in December to 138 million in January. . This decline, Margaret MacDonald explains in part by the Visa and Mastercard positions who have suspended the use of their cards on Pornhub. “It has no impact on free sites, but it can have an impact on paid sites. “

But that’s not the only explanation, she says. “If you pay for pornography on the Internet, you are part of a minority and, probably, more concerned with respecting the production of what is there. Subscribers may prefer to register on other sites to view the work of the actresses and actors they follow, she said.

The number of visits to MindGeek’s sites is dropping as the online pornography market grows in its sails. The latter was worth 35.17 billion US dollars in 2019, according to estimates by Absolut Market Insights (AMI). The consulting firm, specializing in market research, forecasts annual growth of 15.2% in the industry by 2027.

Like streaming platforms, like Netflix or Spotify, the demand for pornography platforms has increased during the pandemic. The adoption of new payment methods like digital wallets and payment by cryptocurrency would have made it easier to access, says AMI. MindGeek did not respond to our request for comment.

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