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Techies, Don’t Apologize for Stickam

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What to make of the fact that Stickam, a site popular with young webcam users, is run by a Japanese porn magnate?

Here are the facts: The company that owns Stickam, Advanced Video Communications (AVC) owns and operates porn sites; Stickam has no advertising; Stickam has expensive office space; and a disgruntled employee with competitive business interests is concerned about child safety on the site.

Here are the allegations: Stickam employees deleted thousands of customer service e-mails; Stickam uses the same computer systems as other AVC sites that peddle porn.

Here are the possible conclusions:  AVC is simply expanding into other markets served by online video; Or, AVC is using Stickam to market pornography to a young demo that’s already familiar with web video.

The reaction in Silicon Valley is, as expected, droll eye-rolling. “Wait a second,” said one commenter on TechCrunch, “are you saying that my kids are using the same internet tubes that pornographers are using? I sure hope there’s no tube leakage!”

And that’s a fair point. Porn and non-porn, on the Internet, live side-by-side. It’s not as though online pornography is, like adult magazines at 7-Eleven, walled off from casual browsing.

But that tech-centric view also conflates proximity with intention. Continuing with the magazine metaphor, it’s one thing to place adult magazines beside consumer magazines. It’s a whole other thing to place the adult magazines inside consumer magazines. And should the allegations about Stickam be true, that’s essentially what the company is doing: Tricking consumers into exposure to porn.

I don’t know if Stickam is a porn gateway. But you should be wary of apologizing for any company that mixes the interests of children and the adult industry. One of those markets is going to be a loss leader. And you don’t keep loss leaders around unless they funnel customers toward profit. It’s business, plain and simple.

12 Responses to “Techies, Don’t Apologize for Stickam”

  1. Jean Anctil

    Stickam without pushing porn directly encourage young underage people to interact sexually on their site. Posting everywhere that it is prohibited to broadcast sexual content on their site , they do not enforce their rule. Young teen as young as 12yo are exposing themselves every day on stickam and no one does anything about it when it is reported.

    Tell a teen that something is prohibited, and they will test that interdiction !

    There are concern that some of the live action that teen participate in are recorded by staff and may end up in some underground porn video.

    It is one thing to look at a magazine, quite another to participate in live video conference orgy from the comfort of their bedroom.

    regard’s ,


    • Get a grip Jean..anyone with half a brain realize’s that it’s not the staff that is recording it, it’s the viewers..and it doesn’t end up in some “underground” porn video..It’s posted online within a hour…It’s life. Any cam site is going to have someone dumb enough to do something stupid, and it is going to get recoreded and posted. Remember your childhood. Kids have always tried to get away with breaking the rules,they always will, and they will be seen doing it.

  2. Scott Wilkerson

    Can no one grasp the idea that maybe this Wataru who excelled in porn as all are stating.. has not decided to try another market and be another utube, myspace, etc, etc ?
    I think if he has been smart enough to become rich in one market of porn , who really thinks he is dumb enough to screw up a new chance in a non-adult market of SNS using technology he has excelled in ???
    Why take a chance and mix the 2 when BOTH can be profitable on thier VERY OWN

  3. Stephan Fuller

    Wow, a technology company with ties to the adult entertainment industry…Let’s now boycott Holiday Inn, largest distributor of Porn in the United States (Ever hear of Spectra Vision?). And General Motors…Ever hear of Use Direct? If we bash every company that has a link to the Adult industry, we could have a lot more posts here. As for the assertion that there is a link/ between this company’s various websites. Let’s consider the source. A disgruntled employee, who “gets a conscious”, after four months and a failed attempt at a contract. As stated by his camp, “a disagreement over intellectual property ownership”. Interesting to see now that the first partnership announced by Mr. Becker’s new competing company is with Rauch Foxx, self-professed “Shock Jock”. It will be interesting to see what legitimate companies will want to do business with Mr. Becker’s company now that he has shown his desire to mediate his differences in the press…As for Mr. Stone’s assertion that this company had a responsibility to disclose its other holdings, I wonder what we might find if we started to dig into the New York Times ownership, The Ochs-Sulzberger family trust or the trust board members, Daniel H. Cohen, James M. Cohen, Lynn G. Dolnick, Susan W. Dryfoos, Michael Golden, Eric M. A. Lax, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. and Cathy J. Sulzberger. “People who live in glass houses…”

  4. Gary Sonnenfield

    Having a friend who works at Stickam and knew Mr Becker I am surprised it took this long for the porn connection to be uncovered. It has been making the rounds online among Stickam users. I mean really what startup with an audience of less than 7 hundred thousand users manages to lease the most expensve office space in LA without ever generating revenue or raising capital. And you should see the salaries of these people seriously. I made a mistake going to law school because apparently AVC pays you more for doing nothing than I get working 16 hour days. Stickam may be the house that porn built but even porn can only generate so much money. So where is the rest coming from. Hmmm? I have some idea and wish I could share but it will be better comming from someone on the inside. Even though I respect his decision to go public, I am surprised that Mr Becker did not have more to say about AVC. From what I have heard the porn is just the tip of a very large very dirty iceberg. They are up to their necks in a whole lot of dubious dealings none of them legal. My friend knows that Mr Becker can prove this and I am baffeled as to why he has chosen to keep quiet so far. I am a little disappointed Hopefully the New York Times expose will give others the courage to come forward with what they know and not feel intimidated by the thought of going up against a big bad company. Hey David took on Goliath and we’re still talking about it. If he comes forth with proof of the activities and true nature of AVC and Co, I’ll be first in line to shake his hand. It’s only a matter of time before the whole crooked lot is led away in handcuffs by the feds. Enron part deux opening soon at a newspaper near you. So please Mr Becker I know you have more to say and I hope you have the courage to finish what you started.

  5. Steve Bryant

    Why dismiss the possible connection between a teen hangout and a pornographer? While it’s true there is no proof that AVC is seeding stickam with porn, it’s also deeply troubling that the possibility exists to a greater extent than other video businesses. Therefore, the story is of interest to anyone concerned with child safety and/or social values, and therefore it’s “news.”

  6. routerguy

    is there any evidence that stickam is pointing it’s users towards porn? Now we’re going to indict against what people or a company might do?! If they go that route, by all means, feed them to the wolves. It’s also ok to be concerned and investigate. But unless you have any evidence, besides a “disgruntled employee” that says they’re sharing computing resources and that customer service emails get deleted (not good business, but I see no relationship to porn here) I don’t see how they’re either “Tricking consumers into exposure to porn” or, using your metaphor, placing adult magazines inside of consumer magazines. If there’s porn on stickam, post the link, and I’ll join right in on the bashing. Until then, I don’t see how there’s a story here.

  7. And this is why i do not use this site any more….
    There are other sites that offer the same “Live Broadcasting” experience. is one of them.