Technology

Online Porn Is Huge. Like Really, Really Huge. Who Knew?


Online Porn Is Huge. Like Really, Really Huge. Who Knew?

The good folks at ExtremeTech took it upon themselves this week to get at one of the Internet’s crucial questions—just how big are porn sites these days? The answer? Ron Jeremy big. To study porn sites, ExtremeTech turned to the DoubleClick Ad Planner tool from Google (GOOG). It’s a useful website where you can peek at information gathered by ad-serving cookies about how much traffic a website gets, the age and income of visitors, and the amount of time people spend on a site.

According to this tool, the online porn kingpin Xvideos feeds up 4.4 billion page views per month. That’s about 10 times as many as the New York Times and three times as many as CNN.com. YouPorn—another site packed full of stimulating content—notches 2.1 billion page views per month. And while people spend a few minutes per day on news sites, they tend to spend 15 minutes or more on porn sites, which would seem to say something rather definitive about, er, male stamina.

“But it’s not just men on the sites,” you shout. True, although the top porn sites count men as about 75 percent of their visitors. Breaking the stats down further, about half of the visitors make between $25,000 and $50,000 per year, while only 2 percent earn more than $150,000 per year. According to Google, the other interests of Xvideos visitors include Latin American music and gangs and organized crime, while YouPorn visitors like networking equipment and family films, so it’s an eclectic bunch.

While anyone can dig through these numbers, ExtremeTech did a nice job of adding some context to the incredible amount of data served up by porn sites. According to the Google estimates, Xvideos would record “29 petabytes of data transferred every month, or 50 gigabytes per second. That’s about 25,000 times more than your home Internet connection is probably capable of, which is a couple of megabytes per second.” Sliced another way, Xvideos will “serve up 50 gigabytes per second, or 400Gbps,” ExtremeTech writes. “Bear in mind this is an average data rate, too: At peak time, Xvideos might burst to 1,000Gbps (1Tbps) or more. To put this into perspective, there’s only about 15Tbps of connectivity between London and New York.”

Someone at YouPorn chatted with ExtremeTech and said the Google estimates are way below actual totals. YouPorn stores more than 100TB of porn and feeds up about 28 petabytes per month.

These types of figures put the top porn sites in a class that only Microsoft (MSFT), Google, and Facebook really surpass. My takeaway from this is that companies such as Dell (DELL) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) make a ton of money selling gear to the top porn sites and that these companies must have some very savvy engineers.

Vance_190
Vance is a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in Palo Alto, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @valleyhack.

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