Benefits of Starting an Adult Webcam Business

The online adult industry is in a continuous state of growth, and has proven resistant to the fluctuations of the larger economy. Adult webcams, unlike other online adult business opportunities, offer a live service that is less vulnerable to piracy than traditional videos, and there are a variety of entry points to the business. Whether you want to be a camgirl yourself or are ready to aim higher by launching your own camming site, there is space in the expanding adult webcam business for everyone!

Adult Webcam Business Models

Becoming an Adult Webcam Performer

The most basic business model in the adult webcam industry is the solo performer. While it is straightforward and simple, with the least exposure to financial and legal risk, it is also has limited earning potential. Even if a camgirl maximizes their income using any affiliate programs available to models, the performer's earnings are limited by the time they have available to stream, and at the end of their career, a camgirl does not have a business that can be sold to another organization.

Operating a Webcam Model Studio

The next step beyond being a performer yourself is operating a webcam model studio. Running a studio increases earning potential, because you have a small pool of performers working for you, and you earn a share of their income. Unfortunately, the profit margin for webcam model studios tends to be small because performers expect to receive a high level of services and support in exchange for your cut of their income. Physical studios are able to take a higher portion of performer earnings, but in exchange they have to provide a physical location for models to use, as well as high-speed internet, room decor, and even computer, camera, and lighting equipment. This is a large capital investment, and will have continuing maintenance and upkeep expenses, even if models are not earning much money. Virtual studios may seem more appealing, but they have to work harder to justify even a small portion of the performer's earnings. They often have to provide custom payout schedules, which requires having a large amount of cash on hand, as well as camgirl coaching services, tech support, and even advertising and promotion services for their models. Most of the more popular and well-established models can do all of these things on their own, and will be unlikely to sign with a virtual studio.

Operating an Adult Webcam Site

Running your own adult webcam site may seem daunting, but it has the highest earning potential of any cam-related business. You are pooling the earnings of a large number of camgirls, which helps smooth the ups and downs of each individual performer's income, and once you cover your costs, the rest is profit. Webcamming is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the online adult entertainment industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Running a Whitelabel Webcam Site

Whitelabel camming sites are the cheapest and easiest option for those interested in launching a webcam site, but they come with a number of significant drawbacks. A whitelabel allows you to buy a domain and rebrand an existing camming site as your own. Several well-known webcam sites offer whitelabel services, including Chaturbate and Streamate (which Pornhub's LiveHDCams is a whitelabel of).

Whitelabel Webcam Site Pros

  • Low start-up cost: All you need to launch a whitelabel is a domain. You may also incur expenses if you hire someone to do some graphic design for your branding, but you can easily launch a whitelabel for less than $100 - less than $20, if you do everything yourself!
  • Fast launch: Once you submit your documents to a whitelabel program, you can expect approval to take just 2-4 business days. After that, you can customize your site in an afternoon and be up and running the same day.
  • No payment processing requirements: Running a whitelabel site is essentially an affiliate program on steroids. Like affiliate programs, you are not responsible for handling the payment processing for customers. New members sign up through your site, but when they spend money on your site, their payment is processed by the cam site that issued your whitelabel, so you do not need a merchant account. You, in turn, are paid for the members who sign up on your site by the issuing cam site.
  • No model recruitment, management, or payouts: While you can sign up new camgirls through your whitelabel site, and some whitelabel programs offer a model referral program tailored to whitelabels, you do not have to handle performers yourself. The camming site you are a whitelabel for has their own robust model recruitment program, and they handle all of the verification, support requests, and payouts for performers. They're responsible for bringing the models - you're responsible for bringing the members.

Whitelabel Webcam Site Cons

  • Omitted from search engine results: Search engines - especially Google - heavily penalize sites with identical content by pushing them further down the search results or omitting them altogether. Because whitelabel sites are created with identical content on a set template, and there are so many of them, most search engines don't include them in search results at all.
  • Site templates, filters, and other options restricted: Whitelabels allow you limited control over the appearance of your webcam site, but you only have access to filters and templates created by the origin site. Performers can only be sorted in certain ways, which restricts the placement of models that you may want to show on your cam site's front page.
  • No control over performers or pricing: Since whitelabels are created from existing sites, you are limited to an existing pool of performers with already set prices. You cannot individually select which webcam models you want to display on your site, and you cannot set minimum or maximum prices that the camgirls can charge for their services.
  • Fixed revshare rate: Whitelabels are paid a fixed revshare rate. There may be a tiered program that increases the payout percentage if your earnings increase past a certain level, but whitelabels are fundamentally an affiliate program, and there are few ways to increase your profit margin.

Building a Webcam Site From Scratch

Building an adult webcam site from the ground up gives you the most control over the resulting product. You can adjust and design every piece of your site to perfection. Unfortunately, building a site from scratch requires a high degree of technical programming knowledge, and if you don't have the skills, you will need to hire someone to do it for you. Taking this route will require a large investment of time and money, and while you may get your "perfect cam site" as a result, you will also have to do all of your technical support in-house, and code maintenance and updates will also be your responsibility, which can lead to large ongoing costs if you have to outsource.

Running a Webcam Site Using a Turnkey Script

Turnkey scripts like Modelnet provide a "best of both worlds" solution to running an adult webcam site. While you will need a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, the software itself is easy to set up and fully customizable. In addition to being able to set up your cam site with very limited knowledge of computer programming, turnkey scripts provide a wide selection of templates to choose from, each with a variety of tweaks that you can make to get your site looking right. Additionally, unlike a whitelabel site, you can recruit your own performers and can set price guidelines, allowing you to create the right image for your site using both site branding and performer selection. Modelnet also has a tech support team that can help you get your site up and running, and is available for ongoing support once your site has launched. While it is more expensive to use a turnkey script than a whitelabel, it is far less costly than building a site from scratch, and it avoids most of the drawbacks of using a whitelabel.

Adult Webcam Business Structure

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Choosing the right business structure is important in any new business, but it is especially important when it comes to the adult industry. Adult webcam sites are a legal business in most countries, but they can be a controversial enterprise, and it is important to protect yourself and your new webcam business from any issues that may arise. Running your adult webcam site as a sole proprietor, under your own name, is not recommended. Take a look at the small businesses information resources available in your country or state and consider arranging a meeting with a lawyer or entrepreneurship expert to figure out what legal structure would best fit your needs. Ideally, you want your personal assets protected in case of any legal action against your business, and you want to register your business in such a way that you can use your business name and address for all necessary filings and avoid having your own name made publicly available to prevent anti-porn organizations from harassing you personally.

Ownership of Content

Content ownership has become a hot-button issue between camgirls and cam sites in recent years. The model agreement that performers consent to in order to stream on your site should explicitly state not just who owns content posted and streamed through the site, but also how you intend to use any content uploaded to the site. If you plan to use image- or video-based advertising, or if you want to use affiliates to bring traffic to your site, you need to make it clear to models that their content may be used in this way. You may want to consider having an option for performers to opt out of having their content used by affiliates or for off-site advertising, especially if you plan to offer geoblocking for models.

Other Legal Considerations

Adult webcam businesses come with legal considerations that aren't even on the radar for other businesses. There are record-keeping requirements to consider, in addition to verifying the age and identity of all the performers on your cam site. You also need a system in place to ensure that camgirls are not providing any services that are either illegal or prohibited under the terms of your agreement with your payment processor. The time and money you spend researching these topics, consulting with industry professionals, and creating systems and documentation for your business will pay huge dividends in the long run by minimizing the risk of legal issues.

Adult Webcam Site Branding

In a crowded industry, your webcam site branding needs to be near-perfect. You're not only competing against established industry heavyweights like Streamate, MyFreeCams, and Chaturbate, but against a veritable tidal wave of whitelabel sites trying to gain traction. Your branding must appeal to both potential camgirls and potential customers, and must be both consistent and memorable.

Webcam Site Name

Your branding starts with your camming site name. The name will be featured in all of your branding, will be your site's URL, and is the hardest part of your branding to change in the future. Come up with several options, and use search engines to determine what your chosen name pulls up. Using a common search term with popular keywords may seem like a good approach to get traffic, but you may struggle to gain traction in search against already popular sites.

Brand Story / Personality / Message

Brands are more than just the name of the business. Every part of a brand, from the typography choices to the colors used, combine to create a "feeling" about the business. Getting the perfect combination of elements together to create the right image for your brand is a challenging balancing act that can be devastating if done wrong. Your pool of potential performers and customers see hundreds - even thousands - of brands daily, so you are fighting to stick in their minds. If you are inexperienced in the branding process, you may find it useful to hire a freelance professional to help guide you through the steps of creating a strong brand.

Branding Consistency

Once you have created your brand, you need to use it. If you create a logo, but it is only shown in your social media profile image and on your site, it won't be recognizable. Everything you do should be branded. Watermark every image or video you post to promote your adult webcamming site, create profiles that feature your brand's colors and typography, and treat every interaction as an opportunity to reinforce your brand's tone and values.

How To Recruit Cam Models

Social Media

Having a social media presence is critical to build your brand and attract customers, but it can also help you recruit models. You can choose to either passively recruit models by posting using popular industry-related hashtags and hoping they follow your account, or you can actively recruit using social media. Active recruitment can make some people uncomfortable because it feels like cold calling, but if you are selective in your targeting and messaging, then it has more in common with corporate headhunting. Identify models who you think would fit the style and format of your site, follow them, and then contact them directly about joining your site. Be up front about your association with the site, and make sure your site details are available in a clear format for models to consider (payout percentages and payment options, in particular). Copy-paste messages are the quickest way to do this, but taking an extra minute or two to mention something specific to that camgirl will make your interest seem more individualized. Do not message models using other camming site direct-messaging systems.

Work With Webcam Model Studios

Signing an agreement with one or more cam model studios can bring you a pool of camgirls quickly, but the quality of studio models varies widely, and some studios operate rather unethically when it comes to model contracts. Depending on the customer demographic you are targeting, you also may find that studios cannot provide performers who are proficient in the language you need. Studios will also often try to negotiate preferred terms for their models, requiring you to pay out a higher percentage of revenue or give their models higher placement on the site. Make sure you thoroughly vet any studios you are considering working with to ensure that their models will be a positive addition to your site, and carefully review any contracts you sign to make sure that both parties are benefitting.

Offer a Model Referral Program to Webmasters and Models

Satisfied camgirls bring their friends to the site, and if you offer a referral program, they are going to not only invite their friends, but to share the site widely and help new models become strong earners for you. Today's camgirls are savvy entrepreneurs, and they actively look for cam sites that reward them for bringing in new performers. Model referral programs can be either a one-time "bounty" payment or an ongoing revshare program. Providing camgirls with the tools to track their referrals - especially with a revshare program - encourages them to support their new signups to increase their own income.

Model referral programs for webmasters work the same way. Unlike camgirls on your site, who can automatically be enrolled into the referral program when they verify their identity to perform, you will need to develop an application, vetting, and verification process for the model referral program for webmasters, in addition to adding them to your payout system.

Offer an Introductory Bonus to New Models

Some sites have found great success in recruiting models using introductory bonuses. These offers usually take the form of an increased payout percentage for the first 30 to 60 days after a model's account has been verified, or cash rewards for reaching a series of milestones, such as hours streamed in a specific amount of time.

Sign Experienced Camgirls and Porn Stars to Exclusive / Special Contracts

A recent trend in the adult webcam industry has been the signing of experienced camgirls and popular porn stars to special contracts. The agreements with big name porn stars generally guarantee a minimum earnings amount to the model in exchange for a series of scheduled shows. If the site's members do not tip enough to cover the minimum earnings guaranteed in the contract, the site pays the difference. For less well-known porn stars or camgirls, the contract may only offer an increased payout percentage or cash bonuses in exchange for a guaranteed number of hours streamed. Signing a big name can bring in new models who expect to benefit from the traffic brought by having a porn star performing on a site.

How To Get Traffic For Your Webcam Site

Social Media

Using social media to promote your webcam site is both simple and free (or very cheap). Twitter is the obvious social media network for promoting adult content, but Reddit also allows adult content on its platform, and you can share images, GIFs, and video clips along with your site link on both to drive traffic. If you have SFW content to use, you can also use Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube, and even Facebook to get traffic. Using multiple social media platforms helps to build your brand identity and increase awareness of your site among potential members through regular updates of visual, shareable content. Pay attention to how your models are using social media to promote their services, and boost appropriate performer posts using your social media channels - promoting your models promotes your site as well!

Blogging / SEO

Good search engine optimization (SEO) practices will drive a significant amount of organic traffic to your site, and is one of the most reliable sources of traffic available to you. Using appropriate and relevant keywords in Meta tags, ALT text, and image names will boost your position in search, as will blogging. There are many subjects you can host a blog for on your cam site, including model guest posts, model interviews, live cam show reviews, and fetish or femdom educational articles. Having strong written content on your site gives you an excellent opportunity to rank higher in particular keywords, and regular posting gives you a boost in the Google algorithm.

Tube Sites

If your performer contract gives you content rights, uploading photo and video content to popular porn tube sites (Pornhub, XVideos, xHamster, etc) can result in high quality targeted traffic. Make sure you add watermarks with your site logo, URL, and the model's name to all of the content, and build out your profile on the tube site to help you further develop interest. If you do not have the rights to post model content on tube sites, consider reaching out to models and inviting them to submit content specifically for a tube site campaign in exchange for additional promotion.

Paid Advertising

Running paid advertising campaigns through advertising networks and traffic services (Traffic Junky, JuicyAds, ExoClick, etc.) can place adverts for your cam site on a wide variety of adult industry sites. With options to suit a variety of budgets and goals, you can customize a campaign to suit your needs. Most mainstream advertising networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, etc) either very heavily restrict or outright ban ads for adult sites, so make sure you use adult-friendly networks to avoid losing money on an ad campaign that ends up being banned.

Webmaster and Cam Model Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are a tried-and-true way to get high-quality traffic to your camming site. Offering an affiliate program to webmasters as well as one for camgirls will give you the best combination to drive traffic. You can choose to offer a one-time payment for new members, or a long-term revshare program as part of your affiliate offerings. Remember that if you have a webmaster affiliate program you will need to provide them with image and/or video content that they can use to promote the site. Camgirls can use their own content to promote their affiliate link.

Payment Processing for Adult Cam Sites

Get an Adult Merchant Account to Keep Costs Low

Adult webcam sites are not eligible for mainstream payment services such as PayPal, and are considered "high risk businesses". Because of this, you will need to find a high risk payment processor. Accepting credit card payments is critical to making money from a webcam business, and there are a variety of merchant service providers that offer payment processing to the online adult industry. Due to the high risk classification of webcam businesses, you will be charged a higher rate than a non-adult business, but if you shop around you can find a reliable, secure, and reasonably priced payment processor. You may need to pay an upfront deposit or setup fee, so make sure you set aside some money to cover the startup costs.

Handling Chargebacks

Businesses with a chargeback rate greater than 3% risk being blacklisted by payment processors, ending their ability to take payments from customers. Working with a high risk payment processor that understands the adult industry will help avoid this situation, as they expect higher chargeback rates from an industry that is considered high risk - and they charge higher rates to offset that risk. There are also chargeback management solutions that directly connect to your merchant account that proactively fight chargebacks and provide analytics on attempted and successful chargebacks to identify issues and patterns that you can use to avoid chargebacks in the future.

Common Risks For Adult Cam Site Businesses

Reputation

The adult industry as a whole suffers from a generally negative public perception, and there is a stigma attached to running an adult entertainment business. This is a reality that you will have to make your own peace with if you want to start an adult camming site. Registering a business name will help insulate you from friends and family accidentally discovering your involvement in the adult industry, and actively working to prevent illegal or objectionable activity on your site will avoid serious reputational damage.

Illegal Activity

The online adult industry is constantly under a microscope when it comes to the potential for illegal activity. To protect yourself and your business, you need to ensure that you are not hosting illegal content on your cam site. Create a flagging / reporting system for models and members to report suspicious behavior, and engage in regular, random spot-checks to ensure that you know what your camgirls are doing on your site.

Fraud

Fraud is increasing across the online business world, and adult webcam sites are no exception. There is no way to completely eliminate or avoid fraud altogether, but there are steps you can take to detect and prevent as much fraud as possible. If you are struggling with fraudulent payments, work with your payment processor proactively to mitigate your risk. If you ignore fraud on your site, you run the risk of being dropped by your payment processor, even if you are not actively engaged in the fraud yourself. Taking an active approach to identify and eliminate fraud in partnership with your payment provider will make you a trustworthy business partner and reduce your potential liability.

How to start webcam site using Modelnet

Having a high-quality software and a good marketing strategy is a key factor to get good revenue in webcam industry.

This guide provides you with major steps of launching a webcam site on Modelnet platform. Our software helps you to manage your site using a pay-per-minute billing system for chats between your clients and models. Your clients also can give Tip or organize Tip Goal Shows. The Modelnet system has all the features necessary for conducting a successful web-business, including an inbuilt system for paying webmasters, models, and studios. The software has a multilayered scheme of loyalty rewards for clients and attraction rate rewards for models and webmasters.

1 First of all, you will need a domain for your site. Register a domain name on GoDaddy.com or any other similar service. The name is better to be short and catchy. A well-chosen domain name will get your site up in search engine rankings.

2 Second, you should choose a software license fitting your needs. Monthly payment billing is more suitable for those who would not like to invest much at the beginning. One-time purchase suits best for long-run projects.

3 Third, choose a design for the site from 6 default layout templates. If you would like to have your site more personalized, we can create a unique design corresponding to your requirements.

4 Forth, choose add-ons for augmenting your profit and make the site easy to use for your customers. Our development team will help you to customize the software to meet your requests.

Software installation on a server

Our development team installs the software on a server as soon as the payment is done. The installation process takes one working day if there is no additional customization.

You will get full access to the site manager dashboard, server settings, and source files, as soon as the installation is finished. You can change and correct the source files if you need to.

Site Set-up

Enter the domain name of your site: to ensure that all the links from this page lead to pages on your server. By default the links point to our demo server.

1 Open the site manager page and fill in the e-mail field. System notifications and 'contact-us' data will be sent to that address. If necessary, you can change the password.

2 Open the system preferences page of the site. Default preferences are recommended and can be changed if necessary. It is important to pay attention to the following:

  • Mail-from address for e-mails. Customers will see this email, if they receive a letter from your site.
  • Set the commission rate that your models are going to get. Set referral commissions for your partners. The software has an inbuilt referral system that helps webmasters, studios, models, and clients to have more income through attracting new people to your site.
  • Set functionality and limits to paid and free chats.
  • Look through the rest of the preferences, probably you would like to change something.

3 Create necessary categories and set SEO preferences for a better Search engine ranking for each category.

4 Open the domain settings page where you can set the title of your site, upload a logo, add integration with your Facebook page, and insert Google Analytics code.

5 Set a payment system and create payment packages to allow your client to replenish the account with a credit card or with the use of other payment systems. You find a more detailed guide to the payment system customization in the guide to the software.

6 Study Privacy Policy, Refunds Policy, Terms of Use and USC 2257 pages. The content of those pages may need changes according to the laws of your legal residence country.

7 You should pay a guarantee deposit to activate your site in the Modelnet network. The deposit guarantees that provider site models receive real money from Modelnet clients. You can request to reimburse the deposit in full amount anytime.

Now when your site is set up, you are ready to launch your business! Activating Modelnet means that professional models are already on your site and you can start promoting your business.

Feel free to contact us If you have any questions about starting your webcam site. We will be glad to help you and provide you with needed information.

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24 min read
Rodion Shotskiy
Rodion Shotskiy
Modelnet Product Owner and Business Development manager at Scrile. In live video streaming software and mobile apps development over 10 years.