AbbyWinters' Garion Hall Profiled in Australian Newspaper

Nov 19, 2012 7:15 AM PST

MELBOURNE, Australia — Abby Winters doesn’t exist. At least not how you think., the popular “natural” girl/girl porn site born in Melbourne, Australia, is an enigma that supposedly took its name from a one-time female partner but is in reality run by 37 year-old Garion Hall, who’s somewhat of a mystery himself.

The Sydney Morning Herald profiled Hall whom they labeled Australia’s king of reality porn, chronicling his rise from a lonely, horny teenager to the head of G Media — the company he founded 12 years ago that boasts an Alexa rating of 97 out of the top 100 porn sites in the world.

Hall’s signature website features “female-friendly erotica” with healthy looking 20-somethings in all shapes and sizes (some with visible pubic hair — reportedly Hall’s favorite fetish) that according to the article has about 35,000 subscribers and earned $8 million a year in its 2007 heyday.

“We want wholesomeness, physical naturalness. No piercings, no shaved pubes, no tramp stamps. I don't consider these things wholesome," Hall told the newspaper.

Bucking the “fakeness” of traditional America-produced porn, Hall said that he met a woman named Abby Winters in the ‘90’s who was interested in creating female-friendly porn using amateur talent. Enamored with the idea, Hall became more involved as the site gained popularity.

The CEO maintained that Winters sold her share of the business to him in 2003, and by 2007 the girls-only website took off.

The article goes on to describe some of the site’s devout models that pose as a backlash to “misogynist porn.” A 20-year old Melbourne art student said,  "Most porn is fluoro-lit and animalistic. The student appeared in two softcore shoots for the website. "There's no comparison. I was impressed by how beautiful everyone looked. I almost didn't consider it porn."

Hall's approach to porn struck a chord. He reportedly spent $1 million to crack the U.S. adult market in 2007 while exhibiting at a Las Vegas industry convention. "We took 10 models with girl-next-door good looks and a fun demeanor and employed them full-time for two months," Hall said. “They performed yoga nude every hour, a wildly popular stunt. We were the talk of the town."

But AbbyWinters success didn’t come without hardship. The piece talks about employee unrest and personal conflicts that include speculation as to whether the person of Abby Winters ever really existed or was the brand simply manufactured by Hall to make the site appear safe and female-friendly?

Other troubles included disgruntled models that found their images on other websites — the likely result of illegal torrent site downloads — and legal woes from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the online content watchdog, concerning urination content. But the company managed to skate since the site’s servers were housed in the U.S.

The site was also hit with an accusation from a former company senior manager about the use of an underage model that repeatedly plagued Hall despite any evidence. The company admits that there were some age verification problems between 2000 and 2003 as the system was being "refined," but it's now now foolproof with two sets of identification being checked six times by different people.

But in 2009, according to the article, the company’s Melbourne headquarters and Hall’s home were raided by police, resulting in Hall being charged with 54 counts of possessing and producing objectionable films. All but two of the charges were ultimately dropped (including two child porn raps) and Hall was fined $6000.

Hall concedes that in the early days, between 2000 and 2003, the verification systems for models' ages were still being "refined". Then the company began interlinking and cross-checking several forms of a prospective model's ID. The systems are now foolproof, he says, with two sets of identification being checked six times by different people.

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Like all titans of porn, Hall’s success and problems helped to inspire his country’s support of freedom. And his female-friendly business model inspired Australia’s adult industry lobbying group, the Eros Association to lend its support. The Association's Robbie Swan told the Herald that Hall’s bust was a big reason why he and his colleague Fiona Patten set up the Australian Sex Party — a way to support "ethical" Australian erotica.

In 2010, Hall and staff headed off to Amsterdam but found it hard to find the girls that fit AbbyWinters’ M.O. and warm locations that worked, causing the site to take a serious membership hit.

Hall said he’s now more hands-off and devoting time to developing new online billing and web content management systems — new projects the AbbyWinters CEO said he hopes to sell to other businesses.

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