xHamster is a pornographic media and social networking site headquartered in the Cypriot city of Limassol, with offices in Houston, Kyoto, and London. xHamster serves user-submitted pornographic videos, webcam models, pornographic photographs, and erotic literature, and incorporates social networking features. xHamster was founded in 2007. With more than 10 million members, it is the third most popular pornography website on the Internet after XVideos and Pornhub.
Type of site
|Pornographic video sharing|
|Available in||English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Dutch|
|Owner||Hammy Media Ltd|
|Alexa rank||60 (January 2019)|
|Launched||2 April 2007|
The site produces The Sex Factor, a reality TV series in which men and women compete to become porn stars. The site has been targeted as part of malvertising campaigns, and some governments have blocked xHamster as part of larger initiatives against Internet pornography.
In early 2007, a group of anonymous individuals decided to create a new adult video service, and xHamster was launched on 2 April 2007. xHamster was envisioned as a social network; a spokesperson said the site's content organization scheme was intended to allow "people who wanted to chat, exchange erotic pics and share amateur videos ... to find mutual friends online and maybe discover partners interested in intimate relationships." Surpassing 10 million members in 2015, xHamster became the third most popular pornography Internet website, after XVideos and Pornhub. In May 2016, xHamster launched The Sex Factor, a reality series competition where contestants compete to become a porn star.
xHamster has restricted access to its site and removed content in response to political issues concerning the LGBT community and rape culture. The site blocked users with IP addresses based in North Carolina during April 2016, after the state enacted a law that stopped its counties and cities from passing laws to protect LGBT people. In response to the verdict of the People v. Turner sexual assault case, xHamster instituted a "Brock Turner rule", which banned videos involving rape, including those involving sex with an unconscious partner or hypnosis. In the aftermath of the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak, xHamster offered Debbie Wasserman Schultz a US$50,000 role in a pornographic film with a Bernie Sanders lookalike.
In August 2016, Alex Hawkins stated that xHamster will be sponsoring a trip for Brendan Dassey to Wrestlemania. He stated "We are pleased that we can make this young man’s dream of going to Wrestlemania come true... We have been in talks with the family and they are more than thrilled that Brendan will get this opportunity after so many years of heartache and injustice." The idea was started by a change.org petition.
In September 2016, Alex Hawkins speaking for xHamster confirmed that they had purchased a sex tape alleged to portray American actress Alexis Arquette, which was put up for sale by an ex-lover shortly after her death. xHamster destroyed all copies of it, announcing that "Ms. Arquette was an icon and activist in the trans community and we could not see someone smear her memory the way the selling party was trying to do."
In February 2017, xHamster held auditions for U.S. President Donald Trump, Trump's family members, and Trump cabinet member lookalikes. The winners will be cast in porn parodies. Alex Hawkins said, "there is nothing more that the American public needs than quality adult content parodies to help them understand the ever shifting landscape of their Executive Branch of government." In March 2017 John Brutal, a dialysis worker in Minnesota, was selected as the winning contestant to perform the part.
During the total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017 xHamster experienced a significant decrease in site usage. Cities in range of totality such as Nashville, TN, had a viewership drop 43%. Charleston, SC, and Portland, Ore, saw drops of 36% and 35% respectively, jumping back up to 85% increase in Charleston and 63% in Portland after the eclipse. Cities outside the path of totality experienced a less drastic change, with cities such as New York and Los Angeles, which experiencing 15% less viewership.
In August 2017 xHamster sent a letter to the creators of the television series Sense8, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, requesting to host the third season of Sense8. Sense8 was originally broadcast by Netflix which chose not to renew the season. Lana Wachowski stated that content for a third season was being created hoping that someone would pick the series up. In the letter to the Wachowskis, Alex Hawkins stated, "xHamster has a long history of fighting for the rights of sexual speech, and non-normative sexuality. In addition to allowing billions of users to connect with individual articulations of gender and sexuality, we continue to use our audience to speak up against repressive anti-LGBTQ laws in the US and abroad, and for sex-ed in public schools Planned Parenthood and the rights of sex workers."
In September 2017, following Twitter "likes" from the account of Texas senator Ted Cruz, xHamster discovered his lookalike, Searcy Hayes, and offered her $10,000 to be featured in a role as a Ted Cruz look alike.
Stormy Daniels was the most searched porn star on xHamster in the first quarter of 2018. Traffic on xHamster.com increased by 5% nationwide and by 7% in Washington D.C. during her 60-minute interview with Anderson Cooper leading vice president Hawkins to the conclusion that the company had, rarely seen anything like this” before.
As a part of the marketing strategy, xHamster increasingly publishes job offers to celebrities or persons of temporary public interest. In November 2017, xHamster offered Julie Briskman a job in their marketing & social media team via Twitter after her old employer had terminated her. The woman had attracted attention for flipping the finger at U.S. President Trump while passing his motorcade on a bike. After rapper Drake got accused by Pusha T in a diss track of denying a child, xHamster noticed an increase in search inquiries over 2700% for the alleged mother and former porn actress Rosee Divine. In May 2018, in the aftermath of the diss track release, Divine was offered a job as an official xHamster spokesmodel. In June 2018, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea got a job offer after posting twerking videos on her social media accounts.
In May 2018, La Manada” (wolfpack) was one of the most searched for words on xHamster. The fact that the term is linked to the Spanish sexual abuse case, La Manada” lead xHamster to confirm that a video showing the alleged crimes of five accused men was never published on its website.
xHamster provides various pornographic videos, photos, and erotic stories grouped under categories catering to specific fetishes or sexual preferences. Users uploading content select from a series of set categories. The most popular category, "amateur", tags 30% of all videos posted. Popular gay uploads include "big cocks" and "bare back" with Oregon having the lowest gay porn view time at 1.5 hours a week while West Virginia has the highest view rate at 3.3 hours a week. The proportion of female users amounts to 26% with increasing tendency. In 2017, the website stated a 2,4 % increase in women visitors with the most popular search term in the U.S. being “Daddy” and “Mom” worldwide. On the occasion of Valentine's Day, xHamster collected data of female search preferences sorted by US states. In 17 out of 50 states, female-only porn was found to be the most sought after category. In addition to prerecorded videos, users can view live streams of paid models; the model can interact with several users by means of an online chat service. Models can also activate a "Tip" button, which allows users to provide the models additional money. xHamster accepts Bitcoins as a payment method, which (unlike credit cards) offers anonymity. The platform added a "Night Mode" which switches the site to a low-light background when activated. Since 2017, xHamster uses an artificial intelligence model that scans material on its website to target individual user preferences. In reaction to growing demand for tech related content, xHamster created a Virtual Reality platform to explore opportunities for VR techniques in the porn industry.
xHamster also contains several social networking features. Users have detailed profiles incorporating their profile picture and gender, as well as works added to the site. Content possesses a commenting and rating system, and users can interact by adding others as a "friend" or subscribing to another's content. Privacy settings allow users to make various parts of the account visible only to select individuals, filter private messages, and block certain requests. Users can also verify their identity by submitting a photo of themselves with their username, which confers a stamp upon their profile.
In January 2017, xHamster became one of the first major adult sites to incorporate HTTPS encryption. HTTPS allows for privacy, malware protection, and integrity of information exchange. Alex Hawkins said that one of the reason for HTTPS was because xHamster receives millions of visitors from countries where pornography is illegal.
In April 2013, Conrad Longmore, a cyber security researcher, found that xHamster and PornHub were attacked with malvertisements. In September 2015, xHamster was hit with another malvertising attack along with YouPorn and PornHub. TrafficHaus reported that it might be the result of a breach. On 28 November 2016 it was revealed the usernames, email addresses, and passwords of 380,000 users were stolen.
In response to Utah lawmakers rejecting a sexual education bill in February 2017, xHamster started presenting a popup to visitors from Utah, offering them to view xHamster's sexual education series "The Box". The rejected House Bill 215 would have allowed parents to opt their children in for more comprehensive sexual education than the abstinence-only sex education common in Utah, but was opposed for encouraging sexual behaviour and allowing children to be taught how to have sex. The bill's sponsor criticized the trend of leaving sexual education to pornographic websites such as xHamster and Pornhub.
In April 2017 in response to President Trump's decision to allow states to deny federal money to Planned Parenthood, xHamster stated that they would be posting to their site information on Planned Parenthood with a popup encouraging donations to the organization. The post states, “Porn stars and amateurs alike depend on increased reproductive rights, access to birth control and low-cost STI screenings, and non-judgmental sexual health education."
In November 2016, the company released its own beer, xHamster beer. The beer is an 8.5% ABV Belgian Triple-style ale. It is available for 3.90 EUR for .5 liters. It was sold out in the first five days.
In May 2017, xHamster partnered with Dutch Inventor Moos Neimeijer to create Minimeyes. A motion sensor Bluetooth device that uses infrared to monitor the room and signals the computer to shut all windows and sound when an intrusion is detected.
Since October 2017, xHamster launches a product campaign that addresses "owners of apocalypse bunkers”. Against receipt, owners receive some of the company's products and videos for free.
xHamster has been blocked by various governments. In August 2015, the government of India ordered Internet service providers to block several sites, including xHamster, under the IT Act. In Russia, a local court in the Republic of Tatarstan ruled in favor of a block on xHamster and other pornographic websites in April 2014; the ruling was passed on a year later to Roskomnadzor, the state media overseer.
Legislation to restrict pornographic sites include efforts targeted at reducing human trafficking which may mandate electronic manufactures to install content filters to restrict "obscene" material. Nevertheless, organizations in support of free speech have been speaking out against the efforts to include porn sites such as xHamster which noted 125 million clicks from Thailand and 95 million clicks from users in Turkey in which the site is banned.
Other attempts at censoring has its basis in violating net neutrality, whereby governments may restrict bandwidth to various Internet categories. xHamster's Alex Hawkins stated, "As an international company, we see every day how restrictive governments use regulatory tools, like traffic throttling, to limit access to not only porn but political speech."
In 2011, xHamster was sued by Fraserside Holdings, Ltd., a producer of adult films and a subsidiary of Private Media Group Inc. Fraserside and Private alleged that XHamster had infringed their copyrights by streaming copies of their adult media over the Internet. Fraserside brought the case in Iowa, and in 2012 Judge Mark Bennett found that U.S. courts lacked jurisdiction over xHamster because it is a Cyprus-based company with "no offices in Iowa, no employees in Iowa, no telephone number in Iowa[;] ... xHamster does not advertise in Iowa[;] No xHamster officer or director has ever visited Iowa[; and] ... All of xHamster’s servers are located outside of the United States." The copyright infringement case was dismissed.
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