Porn Surfing 101 - Paysite Content

Exclusive video is by far the most popular type of content on any pay site. All of the best sites offer exclusive video; others only offer "plug-in" or leased content provided by another porn production company; the same plug-in content is therefore available on many different sites.

Much of the time you get a lot more than just sex in the videos;  there are often video interviews with the guys before they get into the sex, so you get more of a feel of their personality and background. Videos are usually between 10 and 20 minutes long and can be of superb quality -- or absolute crap.

Stream or Download?

Most pay sites offer two types of video: streams and downloads.

True streaming video allows you to watch the video as it is "streamed" from the porn site to your computer. With true streaming video you can jump back and forth to any part of the video as soon as it starts to play. Streaming video does not save on your computer for future playback.

However some video that is called "streaming" is actually a "progressive download"; with progressive downloads the video with start to play for you from the beginning as it downloads the rest of the file to your computer's Temp folder. Usually you cannot skip forward or back within the video until that part of the video has downloaded; sometimes you cannot skip forward or back until the entire download is complete, which usually takes a few minutes.

Under ideal conditions streaming video is clear and continuous, but top of the line technology must be used to create, send and receive the video. Usually, downloaded videos provide superior playback.

Downloaded video saves a large file to your computer. You must wait for the video to completely download before watching it. This can take several minutes because they can be very large files.

Most pay sites allow you to keep and view downloaded video files as long as you like; others only offer streaming -- so you have to remain a member to see the video again. 

Video Formats

There are a number of different formats for Web video, including:

MPEG-4 (MP4, M4V) is by far the dominent format for both downloads and streams; it will play on almost any browser or device. 

QuickTime (MOV), is almost identical to MP4, and is usually played with the QuickTime Player

Flash is still a popular format for streaming video.

Windows Media (WMV), usually played with the Windows Media Player, used to be popular, but many sites no longer offer it.

You may also occasionally find video offered in outmoded formats such as DivX, AVI or Real Media.

New free versions of the video players are released regularly. 

Images 

Most pay site offer thousands of pictures along with their videos. The images are usually much larger and of better quality than those you will find on free sites and blogs.

Some pay sites don't bother with true digital photos, instead providing stills from their videos (known as "video captures," or "vidcaps" for short.) Vidcaps can range from quite sharp (if the video is high-definition) to awfully blurry (if they aren't processed correctly). Vidcaps can also only be enlarged to a certain point before they lose quality so they are seldom as large as true digital photos. On the other hand, there are some pay sites that take care to provide a full set of high-quality digital photos to complement each and every video.    

You can usually save any picture you're looking at by right-clicking on it and choosing "Save Picture As". Many paysites also allow you to download an entire photoset as a zip file which you then unzip to a folder on your hard drive. Very often you can also view the photos in a "slide-show" mode.

Live Sex

Many pay sites include access to real time sex shows or voyeur cameras. With live sex shows performances occur on a regular schedule. Recorded highlights of past shows are also usually archived on the site.

Voyeur sites  have several cameras situated in a living space so you can observe several guys as they go about their business. Nudity and sex do occur, but the episodes are not as scripted as the live sex shows.

The quality of video for live streams is not as good as for regular streaming or downloaded videos. Usually the sites include text chat so you can chat with other observers and / or the performer while watching. 

Almost always, live sex is an upsell on membership sites, not included with your monthly membership. 

More Content ...

Aside from video, images and live sex, a pay site might also include leased video feeds and ezines, erotic stories, chat, personals, forums, games, news and lifestyle articles.

Because pay sites depend on the customer remaining a member, they know they have to provide him with tons of high quality, exclusive content which is updated frequently -- and the best ones do! 


Porn Surfing 101 - Paysite Trials and Terms

Many pay sites offer you a chance to sample their offerings on a trial basis. For a low fee you (usually) gain full access to the site from two days to two weeks.

Be aware that, if you sign up for a trial you must cancel during a designated period or you will be rebilled for the monthly fee upon the expiration of the trial. Even more important, note that the designated period is sometimes one to three days less than the length of the trial, so you have to cancel before the trial's expiration in order to avoid the first monthly charge.

 It's easy enough to avoid being caught by this little trick: the rebill clause in the Terms and Conditions agreement will clearly state when a rebill will be made. (Remember, when you cancel a trial you still have full access to the site until the end of the trial period.) 
 
Terms and Conditions

Always scan the "Terms and Conditions" (T&C) agreement before signing up for a site. Of course you're not going to read the entire, legalistic, boring thing, but make sure to find the clauses regarding the rebill and cancellation terms, which are usually found around the middle of the agreement. If the terms are not clearly stated, do not join the site. 

In the bad old days of the adult Internet, you really had to be wary of slippery language. Fortunately, in recent years misleading tactics around billing have become quite rare because both government regulators and credit card companies have cracked down on abusers.

Things To Look Out For

If you take a trial the monthly rebill may cost more than a regular monthly membership

When you take a trial you would expect that when it converts to a monthly membership the monthly price would be the regular 30-day price. For example, the regular monthly price for a site is $29.95; it offers a three day trial for $3.95. If you don't cancel the trial then you are billed $29.95 for the next month's access. That is usually the case, but with a few sites the $29.95 price only applies if you sign up for the monthly membership directly (rather than taking the trial.) For these sites, If you take the trial the monthly rebill could be as high as $39.95. So always check the rebill information which is either at the bottom of the join page or in the Terms and Conditions agreement so you aren't unpleasantly surprised.

Automatic trials to other sites

Sometimes on the join page there will be one or two check boxes that tell you that you'll get a "free trial" to some other site when you join the site you're actually interested in. We advise you to always indicate that you do not want this "bonus" offering. These bonus sites are usually crappy ones you would never want to be a member of and if you don't remember to cancel the trial for the bonus site you are going to get rebilled the monthly fee, which can be as high as $39.95.

Record the details

Keep a record of the details of your transaction, including: the date, username, password, subscription or transaction number (if any), and the credit card used. At the bottom of the sign-up page, you'll find the name that will appear on your credit card statement (it is rarely the actual website name).

You will always be asked for an email address when you sign up. Make sure you provide a legitimate email as you will receive a confirmation of your membership via email. 


Porn Surfing 101 - How to Pay

The most common method of payment for pay sites is via credit card. Some surfers are still concerned about sending their credit card information over the Internet, but there are reliable safeguards that have been set up to prevent private information from being intercepted.

All Web browsers support a protocol known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which allows Internet communications to be transmitted in encrypted form. With SSL, the information you send can be trusted to arrive privately and unaltered to the website you specify.

How do you know when a transaction is secure? Most of the time your browser will let you know when you are linked to a secured site:
- an icon of a closed lock should show up in the address bar of your browser. 
- The URL displayed in your browser address box will start with https rather than http, the additional "s" standing for "secured."

You may have reservations about sharing your credit card information with an adult site. But virtually all adult sites use third-party billing companies to process payments. Your credit card information is transmitted directly to the billing company; the porn site owner and employees never see this information.

Online Checks

You are often given the choice of paying for a membership with an online check. There is really no reason to do this unless you don't have a credit card. If you are concerned about sending your credit card information over the Internet, you should be more concerned about sending your bank account information. If at some point you ever found that an unauthorized withdrawal was made on your checking account, recovering the money is virtually impossible, while you can always challenge a charge on your credit card.


Web 900 - Paying on Your Phone Bill
 
Another payment option is to dial a 900 number and have a one time charge put on your phone bill. The process is a bit of a pain, with PIN numbers to deal with and a slightly higher cost, but it's an option for individuals who don't have a credit card.
 


Porn Surfing 101 - Cancelling A Membership

When you decide to cancel your subscription to a pay site you may be asked for any of: subscription number, username, password, email address or the first several digits of the credit card you signed up with (which is why you kept all that information, right?)

A link to the site's customer service page should be included in the confirmation e-mail you received when you joined. You can also find the links to cancel at:

* the Member Services or FAQ page of the site
* the Terms and Conditions document
* the form page where new members sign up

At one or more of these locations you will find a reference to canceling with a link to a cancellation form. Just as when you joined, document your cancellation request by noting the date and time. In virtually every instance you will receive an email confirmation of the cancellation immediately.

Don't Cancel by Email

Sometimes you are given the choice of canceling by sending an e-mail. Avoid this. Instead you should always try to cancel by web form instead because the transaction is automated and instantaneous. With an e-mail you never know when your request will be acted upon. 

If Cancelling Doesn't Work

The adult Internet, under increased scrutiny from federal regulators and credit card companies, has really cleaned up its act in recent years. Consequently, problems with getting a pay site subscription cancelled or getting a refund are very  rare. 

Still, there are some renegade (often foreign operated) sites out there and it is conceivable that your initial attempt to cancel a membership will fail. If you don't receive a confirmation of the cancellation, you should then e-mail the site to make sure they have processed it.

If you have cancelled a subscription and then find an unauthorized billing on your credit card statement, contact the pay site immediately and explain the situation. Most sites will issue a refund to you in order to avoid having the billing charged back to them.

Likewise, if you join a site and find that it has patently misled you as to its content or you are having unresolvable technical problems and cannot enjoy the content, contact the site and request a refund.

If a pay site refuses to refund an unauthorized billing you can call your credit card company. Both Visa and Mastercard will likely believe you, charge back the disputed amount to the pay site and debit your account accordingly.

Fighting Back
 
If you believe a website is ripping people off, you can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel and / or the The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IFCC) which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.


Porn Surfing 101 - Mobile porn

More and more sites now offer a fully responsive experience for their members. That means the site will work well no matter what size of screen you are using.  In BananaGuide's site reviews we tell you what a particular site offers for mobile users. 

Sites that have a responsive design (or a mobile-friendly plus a desktop version)

By far the best deal for you, these porn companies recognize that customers should be able to readily enjoy  content from desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets -- all for one inclusive price. These sites can be accessed and easily navigated on smart phones, tablets and full-sized screens. 

Sites that include mobile video formats but do not have a mobile-friendly design

Some sites provide video (MP4) that will stream direct to a mobile device, but the actual site design is meant for a large screen and so is a pain to navigate on a small screen. While having a mobile video format available to stream is a definite plus, a mobile-friendly interface is also really helpfull. 

Sites with no mobile options

There are still some sites that don't offer anything for mobile users, but that is changing fast.

In our opinion, gay porn sites that offer all of their content in a fully resposive design suited to all interfaces are  the best deal for the consumer.


Porn Surfing 101 - Large screen viewing

It can be a lot more satisfying watching porn on your large flat panel TV, from the comfort of your favorite chair,  than perched at a desk or table. Most porn websites offer video in high-definition quality, which generally looks great on the big screen.  

There are two major ways to watch Internet video on your TV.  One is a direct wired connection from your computer or device to the TV.  The second is to wirelessly stream the content, which usually requires a  media box of some type.

Wired Connection - Easy and Cheap

While it's not the prettiest solution, setting up a wired connection is dead simple if you have an HDTV with an available HDMI port. Buy an HDMI cable and connect one of the TV's HDMI ports directly to your Internet-connected laptop. Use an adapter if your device does not have an HDMI port (for example Apple products).  

Switch your TV's "video source" to the connected HDMI input and the TV screen becomes a giant monitor. Using your wireless mouse and keyboard you can surf on over to your favorite membership site and stream a video, opting for Full-Screen.

With a wired connection you can also watch downloaded videos (though if using an Apple device, the video must be moved to iTunes first.)

Wireless streaming

There are many gadgets that will wirelessly stream Internet content to your TV. 

1. Connect a media box to your TV. Probably the best, if you like Apple products, is Apple TV.

2. Connect to the box via wifi with your laptop or mobile device

3. Surf the web to get to the content you want.

4. Inside the website, choose a video to stream in HD.

You can also watch videos that have been downloaded to your laptop (if using an Apple system, the video has to be moved to iTunes firest)

Some newer televisions have Google TV built into them. This allows you to browse sites and play videos as you would normally without any additional equipment or connections. 


A Brief History of Porn

In the 20th Century, the rights of adults to view adult-oriented material have been hotly debated in the media, all levels of government and organized religion. Dramatic changes in the public attitude toward explicit material have been driven by a loosening of restrictive moral strictures, an acceptance of sexual fantasy as healthy and by the spread of these materials throughout the media. 

Magazines

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine was one of the first to take adult material into the mainstream. In 1953 he obtained a calendar photo of Marilyn Munroe for $500 and featured it in his first issue, selling more than 50,000 copies on the newsstands. The second anniversary issue of Playboy sold 400,000 copies. Many imitators followed, the most notable of which were Penthouse and Hustler. These magazines definitely pushed the envelope for explicit photography and content. They were also sometimes considered degrading to women.

By the mid 60's stars like Jane Fonda, Shirley McLean and Elizabeth Taylor had appeared in Playboy. In 1971 Hefner's worth was pegged at $168 million, and in 1973 Roger Ebert wrote a profile for Esquire Magazine of Hefner's daughter Christie when she became the Chief Executive Officer of the Playboy empire.

Magazines catering to a gay clientele were clearly in evidence by the 1950's. After Dark, published in New York was a glossy entertainment magazine that featured lengthy articles and tastefully revealing photographs on choreographers, dancers and handsome young actors in the early stages of their careers. Robby Benson and Jean Michael Vincent are just two of many who were featured.

On the opposite coast, in Los Angeles, Physique Pictorial also began in the 50's. Muscular young men in "athletic" or playful poses filled its pages. Photographers such as Van Gloeden and William Day published portfolios of frankly erotic photographs. In the 1970s gay pornographic magazines took their places on newsstands. Of course gay men read them only for the articles!

Adult Movies

Movie loops and underground film footage were in wide circulation in both the straight and gay communities by mid-century; however by the early 70s mainstream films such as Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace and Behind The Green Door, starring Marylyn Chambers took pornographic movies into the mainstream. Male stars such as John Holmes and Harry Reams received notice for their own unique talents. In recent times, porn stars Ron Jeremy and Traci Lords have crossed over into mainstream films and television. Sexual themes, plot lines and images have now become common in all of the mainstream media.

The VCR

The advent of the videocassette recorder in the late 1970's caused a sea-change in the adult movie world. The VCR allowed millions of consumers who would never be caught dead in a porn theater to enjoy adult films in the privacy of their own homes. The adult video industry exploded. Today, over 10,000 new DVD titles a year are released, a star system has developed and there are industry associations, trade fairs, and a multitude of publications and guides to the adult film world.

The Internet

The development of viable personal computers in the early 1980's started the revolution we enjoy today. Color monitors with improved screen resolution and greater graphics capabilities coincided with the development of File Transfer Protocols, which allowed files to be transferred between computers using a remarkable piece of hardware called a modem. Despite the fact that the early modems were slow, and the transfer of large files over long distance lines was expensive, the earliest computer bulletin boards were a huge success. The Bulletin Board Services (BBS's) became a repository for large numbers of explicit images scanned in by willing contributors.

In 1989 a computer scientist named Timothy Berners-Lee created a set of protocols for linking documents that would allow personal computers to talk to each other. He called it HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language and it was the single most important milestone on the road to the World Wide Web. Because of the need to be able to move around between and inside a website, the first Web browsers appeared in 1991. Then came Mosaic, a browser that allowed more than one type of information to appear on the screen at the same time, combining graphics, text color and sound.

The need to broaden the reach of the Net became quickly apparent. Universities and governments operated the first servers and access to the Web was very limited. Soon more and more commercial servers opened up, allowing customers with PCs to access other PCs via the growing Net.

In 1994 the development and mass marketing of Netscape Navigator boosted the number of Internet users to 2 million. Individuals and businesses began realizing the potential of the Internet and started setting up their own sites. In the mid to late nineties, Internet traffic grew exponentially.

By the late 1990's large and small advertisers were spending billions a year on Internet advertising. Advertising of adult sites represented a significant percentage of that amount, demonstrating the economic potential of the Net. Pornographers made early use of online shopping mechanisms such as catalogues and credit card use, monthly site fees and provision of extensive free material as a lure for potential customers. In just a few years, the Internet changed the way we all interact with the world.

We applaud the operators of porn sites for their early recognition of the Internet's potential, their creativity and their willingness to portray frank sexuality in all its many facets.

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