If you’ve been around the internet long enough, you know it’s very, very good at porn. That isn’t to say the internet isn’t good at other things — it’s pretty much the most convenient way to shop, kill time, watch movies and TV, and so on — but it’s so very good at serving porn. It’s as anonymous as anonymous can be, and the internet lets you can access porn right when the mood strikes and shame hasn’t yet taken hold. Because of this, the internet sector of the porn industry is massive — and the porn industry with everything else is even bigger. That’s why it’s incredible that webcam porn — camgirls and boys and whatever else — account for 20% of the entire industry.An article in the New York Times profiles Lacey, a 25-year-old camgirl who claims to make around $8,000 per month (during a “good” month), certainly a significant amount. An industry analyst estimates that the cam industry alone accounts for around one billion dollars per year, while the entire porn business is estimated to be worth about five billion dollars per year. Vivid Entertainment claims that “interactive entertainment,” a genre that largely includes cam shows, accounts for around half of the sales in the industry.The porn industry is actually down in profit from around a decade ago, thanks in large part due to the ease with which one can obtain free pornography, such as from tube sites and image boards. Free clip sites, for instance, outrank cam sites. LiveJasmin, a site you’ve no doubt run into thanks to obnoxious pop-up ads, ranks around 80th in US traffic, while Pornhub, a site you’ve no doubt run into because you’re a human being that uses the internet, ranks 56th.Boxxy, a different kind of camgirl.Interestingly, the monetization of the cam sites closely mirrors the free-to-play video games industry. The sites tend to use a cash shop, where you pay real money for tokens that can only be exchanged on the site. The sites make money off the token purchase, and users spend the tokens on the performers as tips — usually to make requests of the performers. So, it’s not only interesting that the cam industry accounts for a much larger portion of the porn pie as you might’ve thought, but that the (evils?) of cash shops thrive in other arenas as well.Next time you happen upon a cam site, at least keep in mind that the performers generally aren’t scamming you though, and the cams aren’t secretly run by for-pay porn networks like how the free clip sites are.