Chapter List

  1. Adult Video Chat. What It Is.

  2. Cam Models. The People Who Do It.

  3. Customers: The People Who Pay For It.

  4. Legality Around The World.

  5. How Cam Sites Work.

  6. Things New Models Need to Beware Of.

  7. Why Cam?

How Cam Sites Work 

Cam sites are the platforms. They seek to earn revenue by facilitating live adult chat interactions between performers and customers. We rely on them to earn money. So in this chapter, we’ll cover a bit more about the details of cam sites, the role they play, and why we exclusively use the Flirt4Free network.

Cam Sites have 3 roles.

Role 1: Infrastructure

The actual site where customers visit to find models is a technologically sophisticated product. Live streaming hundreds of HD video feeds simultaneously to hundreds of thousands of users is not a trivial process.

For cam sites, this process is made harder by being adult companies. At the time of this writing, Apple and Google both still universally prohibit adult companies from listing apps in the app store. This means that companies which ideally would be able to leverage the modern tech industry infrastructure to build better products are instead required to custom build everything themselves and operate websites, not apps. Most major cam sites have a full-time software team of a dozen plus employees whose job it is to keep the site online, prevent attacks, and update/upgrade the site over time.

Beyond the technology infrastructure of the site, cam sites facilitate the payments infrastructure that customers use to spend money on models. This is similarly expensive due to financial industry discrimination against adult companies (labeling them as High Risk).

Role 2: Traffic

With the infrastructure in place, the cam sites next job is to get a bunch of models on it, and make sure there are a lot of customers for those models. Traffic to cam sites is big business and the competition between major cam sites for the best traffic is fierce.

We partner with Flirt4Free because in our view, they are the best at acquiring quality traffic in the U.S. As most of our models are American and customers show xenophobic tendencies (customers spend more money on models who are from their country on average).

Traffic is the lifeblood of the site. And it tends to be what half of the efforts at a network are spent on.

Role 3: Models

The final (and most important) job of the cam site is to have models on their site so that the traffic has someone to talk to.

Typically a major cam site has a traffic department and a model (broadcasting) department, made up of different people, working complimentary to each other. The more quality models that the broadcasting department can bring to the site, the higher rate at which the traffic will convert to spending customers. The more high quality traffic the affiliate department is able to send, the easier it is for the broadcasting department to attract/retain quality models.

As a management agency for models, one of Pandora’s primary roles is to understand the dynamics of any cam site and the broader cam industry, and make sure that are models are broadcasting in the situation that will earn them the most money. Years ago, we decided that Flirt4Free was the best option, and have worked to build a strategic partnership with them as our sole network.

Flirt4Free and Pandora are separate companies, with different owners, and not always overlapping interests. Pandora’s part is to represent the interest of models and we are aggressive in doing that. Flirt has a strong interest in satisfying models, while also needing to protect the interests of their traffic partners and employees, and they are aggressive in doing that.

Major Cam Sites In Action

We want to give a broad overview of the major cam sites in the industry. Hopefully it is clear that we’ve chosen Flirt4Free as the best, Flirt4Free facilitates Pandora making money, and our bias is clear. But let’s cover how we came to this bias.

In late summer 2019, we are thinking of 5 sites when we refer to the major cam sites. There are others, for sure, but we want to limit it to these 5. Those are:

  • MyFreeCams

  • Chaturbate

  • Streamate

  • Live Jasmin

  • Flirt4Free

You can listen to episode 10 of our CAM101 podcast for a more in depth view.

We break sites down into two major categories.

Traffic Oriented: Sites who allocate a high % of the overall money to acquiring traffic and a lower percentage to models.

Model Oriented: Sites who allocate a high % of the overall money to model payouts and a lower percentage to models.

In our view, the fixed costs of running any cam site network are likely to be comparable. The key difference in strategy comes down to deciding how much money goes to traffic vs how much money goes to models. In general, more money allocated to one will mean less money allocated to the other.

Our goal was to find the site where our models would earn the highest dollar-per-hour income. In 2018, with Flirt4Free, we saw our models earn $58/hr on average, over 22,000 hours broadcast. We think their strategy is the best, but let’s cover everyone briefly.

The only accessible metric (though often difficult to attain) is model payout %. So we just assume that 20-25% of the costs go to network infrastructure, the advertised % for models goes to broadcasting, and the rest of the % is being spent on traffic.

note: These reviews are representative of our views on the sites based on publicly available information or reports from models who have transferred to Flirt4Free via Pandora from other sites. We do not have an ongoing professional relationship at this time with any of these sites and certainly do not speak on their behalf.

MyFreeCams: 50% payout to models. Traffic unknown.

MyFreeCams is the leader in high model payout sites and a dominant force in the U.S. cam market. Sites who have tried to compete on them with even higher than 50% rates have failed. Most sites who have tried to compete with them on 50% rates have also failed. The business is almost impossible to manage at 50% payout rates, but they have managed to succeed where many others failed. MyFreeCams is a female-only cam site.

Chaturbate: 50% payout to models. Traffic unknown.

Chaturbate surprised many people by not failing. They have quickly become “one of the major cam sites” over the past few years and have gotten a lot of attention. Financially, their business model seems identical to models in terms of money allocation. Culturally, Chaturbate is very different. Chaturbate has very much embraced a platform role, preferring to be in the background, with very few rules on what models can/cannot say/do. It is very much a free market. You might even call it… rowdy. Chaturbate is certainly the most inclusive cam site around: male/female/trans/non-binary, old and young, large or small. Anyone can make an account on Chaturbate and they do. We admire the ethos of just letting everyone do what they want and having no barriers to entry for anyone (ID verification to get paid). But again, we don’t work Chaturbate.

Streamate: 35% payout to models. 35% to traffic.

Streamate keeps it simple by allocating even amounts of the money to the broadcasting side and the traffic side. We admire that. They also have male/female models, though a quick glance at the site shows that females are the predominant force on the site in terms of numbers.

LiveJasmin: Sliding scale payouts to both models and traffic.

LiveJasmin has an interesting business model, it’s similar to Flirt’s. They seem to look at their data a lot (smart) and adapt their incentive offerings based on that data to attempt to get the max for everyone. It’s cool and likely to benefit both their traffic partners and their models.

We follow LiveJasmin closely. But our assessment is that while they are a dominant force in the European markets and extremely competitive with Flirt4Free there, they aren’t a major force in the US or an ideal option for US models.

It’s impossible to predict what % ends up actually getting allocated on LiveJasmin to traffic versus models, only they would know that.

Flirt4Free: Sliding scale payouts to both models and traffic.

Flirt4Free is the 3rd bowl of porridge in the proverbial goldilocks story. They allocate a slightly higher percentage of the money to models than to traffic, but still a high enough percentage of the money to traffic to make them the preferred option for U.S. affiliates.

They just dominate the U.S. traffic markets, and we think everyone who works at cam sites around the world knows it. Which is why they are likely to talk a lot about the model payout % and not about traffic.

Every site we’ve listed has a ton of traffic, that’s not in question. But it’s a question of quality and ratio that matters.

  • How many daily active users do they have compared to daily active models?

  • What is the average amount of money spent per-hour broadcast site wide?

  • What is the model success rate (how many models that start broadcasting succeed)?

  • and our ultimate stat: What is the average per-hour income on the site.

We wish sites would publish these figures, we think it’s insane that they don’t, and we think the reason to not do so is just that they’re insecure.

No one is quite sure who the best actually is. These 5 cam sites are the biggest in the world, but which one is the biggest? Only they know their annual revenues, and it’s a close kept secret. And only they could compute the stats and make them public, but they don’t. Because the first cam site to do it faces a strong risk that another site might respond with better numbers, and they’d look bad.

Our Industry Assessment.

We believe that the business strategy of sites like MyFreeCams and Chaturbate are to allocate that higher percentage to models in hopes of attracting high quality models, so that those high quality models convert new traffic to spending customers at a higher percentage, and they get as much value out of their lower traffic budget as a site that pays less to models and more to traffic, does.

It could be the case that those two sites have succeeded where others failed and that this is exactly what’s happening on MyFreeCams and Chaturbate. But we’re skeptical.

The other thing that these sites are known for is being one-to-many oriented (versus Flirt4Free which is private show oriented, as are LiveJasmin and Streamate). We think the one-to-many strategy is necessary when you are buying a lot of cheap (per-unit, they still spend a fortune) traffic and trying to optimize conversion rates. Having models do more for free increases the retention rate of raw traffic, and is likely to lead to more conversions. The downside though is models needing to do explicit shows for a mostly non-paying audience.

Private shows maximize per-user value and, in our view, are the right approach for most models to maximize per-hour income, it’s also what we see the strongest demand for on Flirt4Free.

It’s good to be at the top of a 50%, one-to-many site. With a busy enough room and a solid performer, insane spending can and does occur. And sites love to brag about their most successful models. But in our view this success comes at the expense of the majority of models on the site. Being #1 on MFC or Chaturbate might pay $500/hr or more.

But so does being #1 on Flirt4Free to be honest. And being #50-500 pays a lot better.

So our assessment of 50% sites is that by allocating a higher percentage to models, they do in fact attract more models, but the lower spending on traffic results in a bad model-to-user-spending ratio that ends up restraining models per-hour incomes across the board and concentrating success at the very top.

A brief note on Streamate’s even approach. It’s certainly fair. But we think it ends up with fair results as a consequence. Which we’ll illuminate by clarifying what we understand to be Flirt’s approach, which we’ll call the blended approach.

Blended Model Percentages In Effect

Is it fair for some models on a site to get paid a different percentage than other models on the site? It’s a great question. One we evade by referring to ecosystem. We want the ecosystem that produces the best economic results for the most models. And we care a lot about equal opportunity.

Flirt’s current pay scale for U.S. models begins at 27% and ends at 50% based on the total sales and hours broadcast in a 2-week pay period. With 200,000 credits ($20,000 in sales) and 40 hours broadcast being the required outcome for the highest percentage.

Models who generate below 25,000 credits ($2,500 in sales) get a 27% commission of sales.

Models between 25,000 and 50,000 get 30%. 50,000 to 100,000 get 35%. 100,000-200,000 get 40%.

How we have seen that play out is very agreeable to us and to the majority of our models. Full-time models contribute more to the site, generate more sales, and get a higher percentage of those sales.

It would be wrong to just say that part-time models pay for it by getting a lower %. In reality, when Flirt introduced this pay scale, the effect was to significantly increase their average payout % to models across the board, irrespective of hours.

Even part-time models tend to make more than 25,000 credits.

The main accounts that get paid out at 27% are what we refer to as “long tail models.” Every month, thousands of people decide that they’re going to be a cam model, setup accounts, and try it out. A month later, very few of them still cam. Camming is hard, customers are demanding, people forget to login, and so on. Some people login here and there, maybe a few hours per week, every couple of weeks, and make a few sales. While the sales per account is quite low, in reality this is a normal experience for someone in the cam industry, so in aggregate these sales represent a non-trivial amount of revenue for a cam site.

By paying a lower percentage to those accounts, the site frees up money to finance paying out the highest percentage possible to other models. That is smart.

They take the same blended approach to traffic spending, but we don’t know the specifics.

As a result, on a site like Flirt4Free, full-time models make a great rate, while the site still spends significantly more (millions and millions of dollars more) on attracting high quality traffic.

That’s how our models made $58/hr for a year on Flirt4Free.

But we like to say that $58/hr is bullshit. It’s a stat that is only useful in this kind of assessment, it’s no indicator of what an individual model is going to earn. If one of our top models from the past year hadn’t joined, that number probably would have been $52/hr.

In reality:

  • a few models make hundreds of dollars per hour, are full-time, and win the site.

  • dozens of models make $60-120/hr either part of full-time and aren’t always top ranked.

  • hundreds of models make $25-40/hr either part of full-time and are never top ranked.

What we’ve seen is that Flirt is the easiest site for models at all of those levels and for all genders.

They do a great job of acquiring traffic and then on the site do a great job of pushing that traffic out across the network, not clustering it to the top models.

That is due to their 1 to 1 focus. Top models are often always in private 1 on 1 shows, and customers leave their room to check out other rooms, and then those models end up in private, and the traffic keeps moving through the site. Top models rates are also prohibitively expensive for most customers and many of their customers seek out the middle/lower ranked models for private shows. We just don’t see that being likely to happen as much on sites where everyone can sit in the top models room for ever.

End of chapter.