xHamster is a pornographic media and social networking site headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus. 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||82 (Global March 2017)|
|Launched||2 April 2007|
|Free;[which?] xhamsterpremiumpass.com is proprietary|
The site produces The Sex Factor, a reality series in which men and women compete to become porn stars. The site has been targeted as part of malvertising campaigns, and various 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 website on the Internet, 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 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 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."
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. In addition to these 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.
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.
Utah sex educationEdit
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.
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.
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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