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The girls don’t need anybody." Once viewed as a small niche in the world of adult entertainment, camming today has become "the engine of the porn industry", according to Alec Helmy, the publisher of XBIZ, a sex-trade industry journal. Theresa Senft herself became a camgirl for a year while doing four years of research for her 2008 book entitled, Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks.

Senft has described herself as "the first academic camgirl" while becoming a “camgirl writing about camgirls.”"The men I meet online rarely fall into the category of anonymous asses who have abandoned all social etiquette, nor do they resemble the pasty, calculator-wristwatch-wearing forebears of chat rooms past.

Similar webcam model hosting sites such as Chaturbate, CAM4 and My Free boast 4.1 million, 3.7 million and 2 million unique monthly visitors, respectively.

The decentralized business model of camming has upended the pornography industry in multiple ways.

A webcam model often performs erotic acts online, such as stripping, in exchange for money, goods, or attention. Since many webcam models operate from their homes, they are free to choose the amount of sexual content for their broadcasts.

Unlike traditional pornography, the interactive nature of the camming medium titillates with the promise of virtual friendship.Princeton University sociologist and author of The Purchase of Intimacy, Viviana Zelizer, states of camming: "They’re defining a new kind of intimacy.It’s not traditional sex work, not a relationship, but something in between." Within Cam Girlz, a documentary film about the industry, the male fans often say that they come to camming sites as a way to fulfill emotional needs.Kari Lerum of the University of Washington suggests that men are more open and vulnerable in cam rooms than in strip clubs, and can become very invested in relationships which only exist on the screen.The term webcam is a clipped compound used to combine the terms video camera and World Wide Web.

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