Like it or not, porn is a thriving industry. It’s generally believed that around 10-15% of traffic on the internet is from users searching for and sharing pornography. And, if you’ve spent any longer than a few hours online, you’ll know that this isn’t difficult to believe.

As technology has grown over the years, so has the way we consume its content. Believe it or not, the way we consume pornography has vastly changed too.

Twenty years ago, the only way we could find pornography was on crudely-labelled VHS tapes on the top shelves of seedy video stores. Then, as the internet increased in popularity, subscription-based web pages became commonplace. These are still common today, but are usually reserved for famous names or catered towards specific niches.

Then, with the advent of smart phones and HD webcams, amateur porn became just as popular as professional porn around the mid-2000s. Instead of monthly subscription-based pages, people could pay by the minute for private camshows, or alternatively, pay a one-off fee for a particular clip or gallery.

Now, in 2017, Snapchat has become an outlet for pornstars to peddle their seductive wares for other users of the social media platform. Since the app was originally based around the idea of sending risqué pictures which would then promptly disappear after a certain time, it’s no surprise that sex workers have found a way to capitalize on this.

Snapchat offers a payment feature, Snapcash, which allows users to send money in exchange for clips or pictures. In many ways, this is natural evolution of the pornography industry. Due to the constant interconnectivity of the modern age, porn has become more direct and more personalized for each individual consumer. No longer are pornstars unattainable starlets with supermodel good looks; they’re now real women with whom we can converse with and make requests of.

It is entirely possible for snapchat pornstars of mid-level popularity to make a decent living through these kinds of means. While the big names in the porn industry are taking home six figure incomes, the pornstars on the rung below them are certainly making upwards of $50,000 a year. Although most amateur pornstars will be selling single clips and pictures between $1 and $10, these figures can easily add up.

From the pornstar’s perspective, one of the most attractive aspects of selling personalized pornography through Snapchat is the anonymity it provides. For example, a pornstar could sell the same clip or picture to a handful of people, all without any other users knowing that the media they’ve received isn’t unique to them. While this may be considered disingenuous by some people, it’s an easy way for amateur pornstars to make quick coin. However, it’s not too different from offering a subscription service in which all users are awarded the same material – it’s simply the same concept adapted for modern purposes.

Regardless, Snapchat does not condone the swapping of adult material, despite the original idea behind its inception. The app is coming down quickly on accounts which promise to provide pornography, and it seems that very few are able to sneak by its filters.