A young woman lies on her bed and looks into the camera.

As Webcam Industry Grows More Competitive due to COVID-19, So Do Potential Risks

Newcomers need to be aware of scams and dangers linked to online sex work.

A young woman lies on her bed and looks into the camera.

Being a camgirl means I’m always prepared for change

As a camgirl, I’m always prepared for changes to our industry—be it the latest tech, updates to the sites I work on, privacy violations, or day-to-day fluctuations with clients.

In my line of work, no two days are ever the same: we never know when we’ll get a kooky, kinky request or spend hours in a private show building a new relationship.

However, COVID-19 has affected the industry in unprecedented ways, leaving many people struggling and others finding their fortune thanks to a boom in new clients. 

A nod to my privilege as an online sex worker

Before I start, I feel it is important to address that as an online sex worker, I feel significantly more privileged than sex workers coming from a background in full-service sex work or any work that involves physical contact.

These industries are now closed in many countries around the world, leaving full-service or in-person sex workers without alternative employment in a particularly vulnerable position.

Many clubs are not offering pay during this time and most sex workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits, which puts them in potential danger.

Those who work in full-service/contact sex work face having to continue working at increased risk with less choice in clients.

As someone who only does online sex work, which comes with its own dangers, I am privileged that I can continue to work and support my family throughout this time, without facing repercussions from the law or my health. 

The last couple of months bring a big increase in new webcam models and clients

The biggest change I’ve noticed in the industry is greater numbers of both new webcam models joining sites along with clients looking to combat self-isolation boredom with a little online fun.

As I mentioned above, with many sex work industries closing their doors during the pandemic, it has left few options for those needing to keep earning during this time. This has led to a significant rise in new webcam models. 

For some models, people being stuck at home with little to do has boosted their income significantly. However, others have noticed that increased competition has made them driven their prices down in order to keep their clients and earn enough money. 

Popular webcam site, Chaturbate [NSFW], stated it had noticed a 75% increase in new sign-ups to the site. However, this was far higher than the rate at which new clients were joining, meaning there are more webcam models were competing for fewer clients. 

There are also concerns that new people signing up to webcam sites might not be aware of some of the risks of online sex work, including doxxing, stalking, cyber-security concerns, and scams.

With so many people joining each day, fraudsters and people trying to take advantage of webcam models may find thousands of new faces to choose from, all of whom may be uninitiated with the darker side of the industry. 

Companies increase their payouts, but is it enough?

One of the biggest changes affecting the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic is in how webcam models are paid. 

Several companies, including Pornhub and Stripchat have changed their payment structures to allow their workers to get up to 100% of their earnings. This means webcam models can avoid or limit the cuts made from earnings that go to the companies.

These changes have been met with some enthusiasm—those who are already earning a lot as webcam models will see the greatest increase—but it has also provided an even greater incentive for people looking for alternative employment to consider camming as an option.

Ultimately, this has left camgirls like me, without followers in the hundreds of thousands, without a clear increase in earnings during this time but noticeably more competition.  

How you can support sex workers during this time

There are plenty steps that can be taken to support sex workers during this period.

One way to support sex workers is to pay for pornography. I know there are so many free sites and seemingly unlimited clips to choose from, but why not opt for knowing where your porn comes from? 

Check out your favorite stars and find if they have clip sites or look for an interesting indie company to support, this way you know the money is going to the right people. 

Another option is to continue to support online sex worker, like camgirls, and be generous with tips, if you can! This support should extend to anyone starting up in this industry or veterans who have been in this game since the late 90s, everyone could do with a little more cash in their pockets! 

You can also choose to donate to charities that are putting together emergency funds for sex workers. SWOP, SWARM, and local, sex-worker run local charities could benefit greatly from donations now to help provide money for sex workers in need. 

Lastly, it is important to point out that the situation many of us are in has been made significantly worse by the introduction of harmful legislation, such as FOSTA/SESTA.

This legislation made it harder to work in an online environment and shut down many of the sites we used to advertise. Therefore, please consider fighting against policies and legislation around the world that make sex work more dangerous. 

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the industry

Overall, COVID-19 has completely altered the webcamming landscape, bringing more attention to my industry, for better and for worse.

With greater competition for clients, I have noticed that my overall earnings are a bit lower, which is something my friends and colleagues in the industry have echoed.

I appreciate the support of companies that have made changes to their payment structures for taking steps to support the people who keep their websites going.

Regardless, it’s likely that the increase in pay-outs will not be enough for many people in this line of work to support their families, pay rent, and survive during this difficult time. 

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