Free Passwords: The Bumpy Guide to Porn Sharing

by Katrien Jacobs

What does it mean to purchase and own a password to an Internet pornography web site? Why would anybody want to purchase access to Internet pornography in this day and age when it is increasingly available for free? A large majority of netporn sites are free, offering free samples, or they act as “feeder” sites. They are used as bait for pay sites and make money by successfully guiding viewers to premium services and a unique password. These sites are still growing in size and number and their spam engines have to some extent ruined the idea of a “real” netporn experience.

The premium membership is an imagined or idealized commodity, and spam is what ordinary browsers live with--the endless banal and slimy messengers that latch onto our nervous system. Steven Shaviro writes about those messengers as the indispensable vermin of the network society: “When such insect messengers come calling, you cannot choose not to respond. You may swat or shoo away a single fly, but more of them will always show up.”(1)Porn spam is now part of the “ecology” of the network and has also determined the manner in which societies value or ban it. A good sign of devaluation is disregard for the porn password as a key to products. It is a string of randomly combined letters and numbers that we can barely remember. And the price of this password is currently too high to simply make it worth purchasing.

The generous offer of free porn as the key to premium products has made way for free passwords. There are endless sites like or that have a list of pornsites and supply passwords to access them. is a site where can leave your email address so they will email you daily passes; is a search engine to look for passwords. On you can even see a picture of the webmaster who distributes the passwords. It looks more personal, like there is an actual and identifiable someone in charge. But it does not take too long before the cat comes out of the bag: the passwords don’t work, or only for a very limited time and never for more than five minutes. The jolly webmaster who gives out the passwords is fake. He just creates a bit of a free trail to excite us. Is he hoping that we will indeed finally get horny out of boredom or so sick of him that we will pay for a proper password?

We may then purchase the password to have the certainty of  getting better value for our money, and finally, the real porn experience. It is not only the porn pig who wants this certainty, but also the research pig who is afraid that maybe s/he will have written entire book volumes on “netporn” and totally missed out on the actual product. The netporn biz was hoping that the adolescent male would get their first jobs and then be in a position to buy their first premium memberships. They would get tired of illegal cyber activities and cumbersome download times, walking around with leather briefcases, blueberries and a small golden chain around the neck with an engraved password: Y6rrCS. But apart from a small percentage of Premium Pass owners, the at large adolescent generation has grown up with different Internet habits. They are impatient and have integrated the freely available porn clips into social networking habits and they have also started sharing their own home-made content.

The porn pig now prefers to watch clips and write comments directly on videosharing sites such and Or they still take the time and energy to share full-length movies via p2p software on sites like Epornium, Empornium or Puretna. In October 2007 Janko Roetgers wrote an article about 65 LA porn industry companies getting together in order to sue p2p porn traders. (2) A few of the studios decided to go forward and create an industry association to sue file sharers. The p2p sites Epornium and Poretna have more than a million registered users. Members have a password that they get for free and they collaborate in trading individual scenes, full DVD rips or DVD image files to burn their own discs, complete with menus and extras.

For the Spanish-speaking population there is the site Poringa, the pornographic sister site of Taringa. Both sites belong to the same owner and company group and are based on the concept of web 2.0, as members keep the site alive by posting and adding new information. It’s slogan is “placer colectivo” (collective pleasure). At Poringa people (read: men) post pictures, videos, links and “real” passwords that lead to hacked and home-made adult content. The site has an average of 200.000 visits a day. People are not only accessing it to get quick and easy access to content, they are also there to create porn identities and become significant members, to hang out, share and brag about their collections and upgrade to the next level. When you get a membership and a password you immediately start getting ratings from the community depending on the frequency of your posts, which are then also nicely assembled into a blog.

But are those p2p sites a more authentic open-source environment for the netporn experience? The website has an extensive terms of service that actually looks like an example of a rushed top-down government. It is a work of net art by itself in its esoteric qualities. It is full of contradictions and it is clear that nobody reads them and nobody takes them seriously. Members can report on objectionable posts to administrators including posters who break copyright. Site administrators investigate all complaints. The Terms of Service supports the idea that sharing porn collections is a serious activity and that there should be no distractions. Two of the things not allowed on the site are “Jokes and Riddles”  and “Posts containing just one image, the ideal is to have the full set.”

One member, Champagne, posts a video clip made by himself penetrating a woman and the letters “PI” painted on her back with his sperm. He dedicates the video to a long list of friends: they all have fake names but his jizz looks mighty real. And yes,the bulk of p2p porn trading puts the female body on display. Traders show off collections of favourite porn stars or photos of female lovers and make no effort at actually attracting female members. As a matter of fact, all softer content produced by female or queer producers would probably be banned as a “riddle.” Empornium has a dogmatic idea of what kind of porn can be posted and for instance excludes movies with adult content.“ No mainstream movies, clips or music, even if they have adult content. Stick to porn.”(3)

Porn has always had a low status among those genres conventionally regarded by audiences as belonging to “substantial” popular entertainment--like movies, magazines, live performances, or books. Netporn became the benchmark of a trend towards totally hollow or unsubstantial entertainment content. I have interviewed quite a number of people about their netporn habits, and they can barely remember the names of the companies or the movies they are watching. They can only remember the names of their favorite porn stars. The counter-wave netporn biz might increasingly be owned by autonomous porn stars or sex workers who create their own brands and networks. In China there is a large underground industry of companies and sex workers who have direct webcam sessions with paying clients, who send video recordings of the sessions after they are concluded. These products are more authentic and private than commercail porn, but they belong to an invisible or illegal industry.

Feminist pornographer Erika Lust made an intervention in the  male netporn landscape by releasing one of her shortfilms "The Good Girl” under the terms of a Creative Commons license, so that it could be downloaded for free from her website. But not knowing that a Creative Commons license cannot be revoked, she recently withdrew her free donwload and included the movie in the feature film “Five Hot Stories For Her.”(4) Here, Lust casts the free gift as a special appearance that may garner value and desire around her special collection. This model is generally being tested by the Euro-American “alt” movement. Feminist porn stars like Audacia Ray and Johanna Angel are creating websites to materialize the dual role of sex model and creative entrepreneurs. One could say that they put their own sexual bodies on the line and have a more authentic and female-controlled bond with the client. In relation to this, Florian Cramer has argued that the alt porn idea immediately lost its obscene edge. A web site for “authentic” porn stars like copied genres directly from conventional porn genres such as “Gothic porn.” (5)The altporn sexperts are educated but some of their movies are dull, their lectures are as slimy as the worst spam in the way they try to sell a “radical-erotic” outlook. Again the strategy works like commercial netporn. We are always urged to buy the products, but will spend endless time just observing the sales pitch.



(1) Steven Shaviro, Connected, Or What it Means to Live in the Network Society, University of Minnesota Press 2003, p. 23.

(3)Empornium Forbidden Contents

(4)Information about Erika Lust’s action

(5)Florian Cramer, "Sodom Blogging: Alternative Porn and Aesthetic Sensibility" In the C'lick Me Reader, which can be downloaded here.