BuzzFeed: Amount of Web Porn Unknown

May 16, 2013 9:30 AM PST

CYBERSPACE — Since it first lit up the Internet, the world has been trying to measure just how much porn there is on the web. And to no surprise, nobody really knows.

A BuzzFeed article however took a stab at measuring the vast traffic numbers in a recent article by tapping the brains of some adult industry websites, gurus and Internet experts.

XBIZ’s own senior editor Stephen Yagielowicz tried to shed some light on the mystery. “It’s a real mud pit. First off, it’s just a diverse industry to categorize. Do you count both free and paid sites? Do you count strip club sites too? But the biggest issue is that there are no good numbers provided by the companies, which is why you won’t find reliable data.”

And despite reaching out to major players like YouPorn, RedTube and XVideos, not many had anything concrete to say.Buzzfed ran into adult’s customary tight-lipped stance on divulging figures, citing questionable copyright scenarios and competitive angst.

The story also ran into a brick wall trying to get numbers from comScore and Akamai who said they don’t track adult sites. And to no surprise, getting web companies’ revenue figures from payment processors like CCBill and Epoch are never accessible and always proprietary.

As usual, financial info was sketchy at best with the article citing a Forrester Research report that compared 1998 estimated adult industry revenue figures of about $750 million compared to what’s now an old 2006 number of $2.84 billion.

But the article did manage to gather some numbers, albeit questionable, from Internet watchers including Extreme Tech that quoted YouPorn’s claim that it pulls in 100 million page views per day and at peak hours, its sees 4,000 page views per second, streaming nearly 100 gigabytes.

“The same report, which cites the Google DoubleClick ad network as its source, estimates that the most popular tube site, XVideos, gets roughly 4.46 billion page views and 350 million unique visitors monthly. That’s roughly one-third of YouTube’s monthly traffic,” Buzzfeed reported.

Web giant Freeone’s managing director Roald Riepen offered some personal insight. He told Buzzfeed that his site sees 445 million page views a month and 2 million unique visitors per day, with roughly 14,000 viewers on the site at any given time — most of which comes from the U.S.

He noted however, that monster tube sites rake in much more traffic. “The owner of Manwin (owner Brazzers, Mofos, etc., but also big tube sites like Pornhub, YouPorn, Tube8, etc.) told me they control about 30 percent of the tube traffic which comes down to [roughly] 65 million [unique] visitors a day,” Riepen said.

Riepen also guessed that tube sites pull in 20 million [page views] a day, and that doesn’t count mobile traffic, which he believes accounts for 15–20 percent of monthly traffic numbers.

Buzzfeed admitted that the math is fuzzy at best, but pointed out that the major video sites alone are attracting somewhere near 220 million unique visitors per day as compared to all of Reddit that sees about 13 million unique visitors monthly,  and Facebook that gets between 600–700 million.

The article also said that an OnlineMBA study suggested that porn makes up 12 percent of all websites on the Internet and that 40 million Americans are regular visitors.  But Riepen summed it up best. “The thing with numbers on the Internet though is that 85 percent of them are made up. So no one truly knows.”

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