No Thank You Sex, We’re Networking

    April 23, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

When it comes to surfing the Internet, sex is getting licked by social networking and the ability to connect with people based on more than just hormonal urges.

Social Networking more popular than sex?
No Thank You Sex, We’re Networking
social networking sites have more to offer

Ha ha, let’s all say it together. Interest in sex is going down online.

Social networking, through sites like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and a bunch more, have drawn a lot more attention. Bob Caswell at TechConsumer wrote of The Economist’s report on the downward shift for sex as the draw of social networking continues to grow.

Data from analysis firm Hitwise suggests the two content categories will change places soon. Based on US website visits, the change began in late 2006 and has persisted through early 2007.

Caswell thinks that based on his work with fixing computers infected via visits to adult sites, the online experience differs between adult and social networking sites as an issue of respect:

So many times the problem was porn, not in a "breaking up the family" sort of way but more in a "I ventured off to one site and now my computer is useless because of popups, redirects, and background changes" way. Why must curiosity toward sex be misinterpreted as an invitation for complete loss of control of one’s computer?

The idea of sex on the Internet doesn’t really bother me. But the idea of sex on the Internet being connected to a virus-like, "we now control your computer" response is extremely annoying.

The potential for profiting from those types of installations is just a mirror of how making money online has changed. At one time, adult spams invited people to sign up for that content. But other sites, and as Pete Cashmore suggested at Mashable, P2P, offer it for free.

Spam has shifted to being more about infecting computers to install adware or turn the PC into a bot. There’s more financial incentive to do this. It isn’t surprising that sites with less than prurient content would be hosts to drive-by malware downloads that accomplish the same thing; they have lost their ability to get people to pay for porn.

Social networking doesn’t have this problem, except for the occasional embedded content exploit. Appeal comes not just from meeting other people, but from being able to experiment without requiring a binary equivalent of antibiotics for one’s PC afterwards.