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Apr 29 11 11:57 AM

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This post was written in response to Pygmalion but also to other debates about the role of coercion in the Cam Industry, so I decided to move it here onto my "home court." UL
link to the original thread: http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.p...t=0&#entry19158

Pygmalion, I think you answered the question well enough. And help to raise another question in turn. Is anybody else beginning to see a pattern here?

Katrina tells us of the risks of going independent in the Ukraine;
http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.php?showtopic=2693

Then Dancing Days reports the same for the SM Studios in Belarus here:
http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.p...t=0&#entry18526

And nobody who's sane dares say a thing about what happens in Russia - except for camsculptor who must have earned a place on somebody's hit list by now with comments like these on the studios in St. Petersburg..lol http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.p...st=0#entry19058

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St. Petersburg first of all is flooded with beautiful women, formalized prostitution in the hotels and nightclubs, high end strip clubs and literally hundreds of cam studios.

The owners of the studios are pretty savvy and have figured out two things.. first.. keep the studios in small well distributed apartments where 5-20 girls can work in different shifts.. this keeps the cops at a distance.. and it also minimizes the girls talking to each other too much.. makes them easier to control.

Second, make the studios nice.. the performance rooms are elegant.. there are typically decent showers and a stocked kitchen..

So far so good right?  Sounds like porn starlet paradise??? 

Well.. that is where the nice stuff ends.  Shifts are 12 hours and sometimes 24 hours.  Girls have to make a minimum of sold minutes or they simply do not get paid for the shift.  Even if they are five minutes short.. no pay.  If they are short and the next model who has reserved the room arrives tough luck.. no pay.  They are "fined" for all sorts of violations and their conversations are monitored typically in real time.  Any conversation that violates the "script" they are supposed to use constitutes a "fine".  Any TOS violation from any site is a much more serious "fine".  Showing up late is a "fine".  There are also other punitive measures that are applied.. for really "impudent" models they can get "locked out" and are not allowed to work yet are still responsible for their minimum on the day or days they are "locked out".  One of the most insidious methodologies is the loan sharks.. big surprise a lot of girls need to borrow money for this or that.. pay advance or outright loans.. and once this starts.. they are going to be working on cam for a long time. 


And then we've heard lots of stories out of Romania over the past four years that suggest that there can be very "sticky exits" for studio models who want to go independent. Not that it can't be done = as both Andra and camgirl have told us. But all the same, this all suggests that the Eastern European studios are able to keep the industry and its profits pretty much under their control to their advantage, because the Western web-pimps on web-site like MFC or PF work with them to help keep it that way. Now why would that be to their interest - if it wasn't to ensure that there would be a constant "over-supply" of models on their web-sites involved in a desperate "head to head" competition between themselves for client tokens?

As I said elsewhere. lol
http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.p...st=0#entry19053

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It's interesting to note that MFC is reluctant to sign on Romanian models and independents and prefers to stick with its Studio sub-contractors which are owned by male web-pimps- what the Romanians call the "peste." This is what we were told by Sweet_October years ago about PF's refusal to hire independent cam models who were "free agents." Perhaps this is a way to keep the mix of "free and unfree" labor competing against each other on MFC's web-site? Of course this is equally true of F4F, LJ, Peeks, PF, SF or SM. This competition between workers with unequal access to information and different degrees of bargaining strength now appears to be a structural feature that's true across the entire industry.


And here in my response to Nocturne the one -that she blew right past without making a real response:
http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.php?showtopic=2737
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UncleLewis.
If you start to look at this global industry from the vantage point of North America or the UK what leaps our at you is the fact that the market is "owned" by women who are independent entrepreneurs, who manage their own time, define their own business model and marketing strategy and keep most of the money they earn. However if you look at from the Global South or Global East then a whole different picture emerges - so different that it's like describing  "a whole other profession" in terms of pay, working conditions and above all else, personal autonomy in the workplace. One is a post modern form for sex work that's very entrepreneurial, managed by and for women and the other is a semi-industrial corporate setting, again managed by women, but for companies where men are the "big studio bosses" - usually because they have heavy political connections within national economies based on a form of  "crony capitalism."  This is what the French would call "Le Capitalisme du Mafia et du Cul"

What I think that our little research project on CGN has established after 5 years of effort is that some big and medium sized web-cam content providers, companies like, Streamate, Vivid (f4f); *keepshows*; Private Feeds, Secret Friends, 2Lips - and to a lesser extent ImLive and MFC -  rely heavily on their partnerships with studio owners in the Colombia Central and Eastern Europe, The Philippines, Russia and The Ukraine who act as subcontractors to recruit and manage most of the models that appear on those web-sites. This is even more true of the European cam sites like Euro-live, XLoveCam and many of the Belgian, Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish live cam sites. To a great extent the Eastern European studios - especially the Romanians but also the Russians and Ukrainians - "own" this Euro-market. And when they don't, immigrants from those countries make up the bulk of the work-force in the Dutch, Italian and Spanish studios located in Western Europe.  The number of studios is in the thousands and the number of cam-girls in their employ must number in the tens of thousands (20-40,000 in Romania alone). These studios and their employees are very important "live content" providers for the global industry of which you are a part.


The question here isn't whether going "independent" is to the advantage of the individual model -clearly if she can cut out the middle man and manage her own time, it is.. The question is it to the advantage of anybody else to let her do that? So why not stop her if you have the necessary muscle? Which is exactly what they do in Asia, Colombia and Eastern Europe.

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UncleLewis: March14, 2011.
There are other countries in this world where that idea that women can be so empowered by new technology that they can capture most of market and take for themselves the lion's share of the industry's profits, will simply not be tolerated by the Mafia/KGB alliance in power. And those are the same places where the Western web-content providers (web-pimps) have found some of their best partners as well as most of their "product." Their decision to "off-shore" much of their content production was not a simply as matter of economics, but also a preference for corrupt and repressive regimes as business partners.

And why does this matter to Western cam models?
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The sex industry is under siege in the US because for some Americans the idea of women selling sex is a scandal, and more to the point, for a lot of men, the idea of you're selling sex and then getting to keep the lion's share of the money earned is absolutely intolerable. So the Christian Right, the Radical Feminists and their liberal friends are in a sense the objective allies of the cops and the mafias who would drive sex commerce underground again so as to restore male leverage over you all, and their ability to extract heavy "protection rents."


UL
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"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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#1 [url]

May 3 11 2:46 PM

But allow me to add that being an independent "cam-model" isn't a bed of roses either - regardless of how much money a "girl" can earn.. This is a "profession" that's not a a profession that anyone can own up to... Here's a plaintive note on that sounded by "Fria" on SW that tell us what's missing - legal status, a Union and real job contracts.

BTW, this maybe something that Romanian cam-girls are about to get from their Ministry of the Fisc, a regular occupational status as "videochatiste"- accompanied a highly irregular, and very high, "sin tax" on their income.

UL

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Fria
Member

Joined: Apr 2011

Re: Dear Diary : The Life of Real Cam Girls

my first Dear Diary..

Yesterday was a great MFC day for me and a very good streamray day.
Thats how all days should be since we put so much time and effort into this job and I feel if we (models) dont earn MORE then a regular 5 to 9 then its not worth it..

I wonder when will I live extra comfortable off this job, when will I save a ton of $ and when will I say I made it...
I wonder every day if not having a real social life, a real job, real 401 K, a real "carrier" is worth the money im making......

We are all hard working goddesses and we all deserve alot better.

I wonder if this job will EVER be recognized as a normal one, if we will ever get a "union" going or job contracts so we can finally write on our resumes we DID do something for the past 1-2-3 whatever years, instead of lying to everyone trying to hide what we do.......

"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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#2 [url]

May 4 11 1:52 AM

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BTW, this maybe something that Romanian cam-girls are about to get from their Ministry of the Fisc, a regular occupational status as "videochatiste"- accompanied a highly irregular, and very high, "sin tax" on their income.


I doubt it will happen soon, especially because their income is very hard to be proved, so if it will happen it will be a difference between the income declared and the one actually received.

"career" yeah, that's the magical word used by multinationals to convince people from here to work 10 hours/day for shit money - and it works

You cannot be part of the crowd and achieve your dream at the same time.

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#3 [url]

Jul 30 11 1:55 PM

I must correct myself. SW members Bambalina and Bella Bellini (who are also CGN Members) have raised the issue of the co-existence of studio models and independent western models on the large web-sites in this thread on Stripper-web which deals with SM advertizing itself on the Gonzo porn site Motherxxxx.com.. discussed elsewhere on CGN.. Problem is Bamb is making some claims about violence and trafficking that go beyond anything for which we have found strong evidence. Look at the reports in "The Situations In Asia" and Romania for what we did find. They also raise the issue of the webcam content providers's alliances with pirate forums and tube sites which Trainer and I originally raised here three years ago in this thread: http://camgirlnotes.15.forumer.com/index.p...t=ST&f=42&t=995 .
UL

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Posted: 07-09-2011, 10:53 AM    #32
Bambalina
Featured Member

Bambalina's Avatar

Joined: Dec 2006
Streamate doesn't care though...they DIRECT advertise on sites that Pirate privates, I have seen them on other VERY questionable sites, enough to know that they really do not CARE at all what sorts of traffic they send to you (or how dangerous they are) and they do not care what sorts of twisted shit they support...and before you even THINK of defending them, What the FUCK did you expect from a company that makes a HUGE profit off of Studio Girls in other countries who are beaten, paid too little, often slaves, etc.?? What did you expect from a company that directly supports trafficking of women?

I mean, I get that you need to make a living, but working for the devil? Sheesh...

(remember, every DOLLAR you make for Stream supports these practices, you can say whatever you want, but you ARE part of the problem if you work for Streamate...they are BAD BAD people)




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Old Posted: 07-09-2011, 11:04 AM    #33
BellaBellini
Veteran Member

Joined: Aug 2010
All cam sites deal with studios in Eastern Europe, South America, Asia, and now Africa. They all protect the studios. I hate it just as much as you do, but streamate aren't any different from MFC, video secrets, live jasmin etc etc etc.

All cam sites have pretty much the same model release form. One day they are going to be using our old videos to advertise services to settlements on other planets if that ever happens. All the model releases cover that eventuality also.



Reply by Bambalina
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True on the studios, however there are quite a few sites out there who pay the studios the same worldwide, and a couple conspicuous ones who pay the poorest and most desperate countries a LOWER percentage because they know they can get away with it...Streamate is one of those. YOU make 35%, but there are several countries that only get paid 25%.

MFC does work with studios, but pays them 5 cents per token, just like you, and then the studio knowingly rips the girls off and MFC does know this happens, but they DO pay the studio a fair amount, which is MORE than 30% higher than streams 25%. So there isn;t really a comparison there. If you read what studio girls write, they often say they make a more fair wage from MFC (which granted is still a fraction of what the Studio gets paid)...In fact some studio girls who work for MFC make 35% of what they earn! Same as you do on SM!

The model release is a HUGE problem in this business, because they know you don;t really read it, or if you do, you just shrug and sign anyway...Signing your rights to all your content away forever with no pay is literally like robbery and you are suckers for doing it, but if you want to BE a Camgirl, you HAVE to do it...That is why I believe the whole premise of "Stealing Customers" from Streamate (or others) is ridiculous on every level. They rob you with no choice but to be robbed if you choose this career...insane...

Again, one "However" here...MFC is not known to have ever sold your privates, used them for free promotion for themselves, popped up your live room on child/beastiality/FREE sites, or even used you for promotion of their site on a wide-spread and pervasive basis like SM does. Even *LJ*..which I have nothing normally good to say about...doesn't screw their models at NEARLY the level that SM does....

Sorry, but in my opinion, SM is the example of bad behavior and is a full measure worse than ANY other site out there.


And this very interesting rejoinder by BellaBellini that gets it right on the money. UL
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I'm sure Adult Friend Finder aka cams.com and live jasmin are up there with Streamate. I know Live Jasmin gets most of its traffic from all the illegal sites.

I've seen MFC banners on file sharing sites. MFC doesn't even have an affiliate program like Streamate. It is invite only, so who knows where their affiliates are. Leo used to make most of his money through MyFreePaysite and owned one of the biggest password sharing forums out there. If he used sites like that to build his business in the past, who is to say that the 'user submitted' shows aren't used by affiliates on torrent sites.

There are trade offs on all the major traffic sites at the moment. To make a lot of money on MFC you are giving away a lot for free to get the traffic you need to be earning $500+ a day. I saw a girl/girl show featuring 2 of the top North American models that had close to 5000 people in their room watching. Over 2000 of those people were guests. How many actually paid? These models were using dildos and inserting them during a free show also.

Personally, that's not something I'm ok with because of my boundaries. But it is fine for other models because they are earning a living that way.

IMO selling cam shows is advertising. There will always be money in the cam industry because customers want interaction and a personalized experience. You aren't going to get that from a recorded cam show. You might get a new customer though, or maybe not.

The numbers don't lie though. Streamate is making lots of money using their marketing strategy, MFC also makes a truck load with their business model.

Some of this money trickles down to the models and we have to do decide where we feel happiest working.

I can't handle working on sites with low traffic or outdated technology. It is soul destroying to sit there and build up your clientele. Or have to negotiate with customers about payment methods if you are doing independent shows.

It's one of those situations where I don't think you can make absolute arguments about a specific site being root of all evil and exploitation. We just have to make our own decisions because this is what the industry is like at the moment.

It reminds me of some of the research I read on girls working in factories in Asia or South America. They were also being exploited, working 18 hours a day, getting paid next to nothing. And yet, they escaped rural areas where their parents would sell them to sex traffickers.

Unfortunately our choice is mediated by larger forces like capitalism and the 'free market system'

"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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