What does matter is that these webcam shows turn their paying viewers on and get them off. Otherwise, the customers won't be back next time, and who wants to perform webcam sex when no one's paying to watch?
This begs a question: What does it take to deliver sizzling webcam sex, the kind that keeps customers coming back and paying for more, week after week?
No matter how great a webcam show may be, it won't make money if no one can see it. This is why "it is important to make sure you have a decent Internet connection," said Carole, spokeswoman for ImLive.com, a cam site with more than 10 million members.
Once you have a good pipe in place, the next step is installing quality technology at the performer's location. "Webcams are quite inexpensive, so if you can afford to get yourself a decent cam, this does help, especially if you can zoom or use a remote control," Carole said. "And, obviously, if you have sound, it helps contribute to the show."
MILF goddess Vicky Vette said she believes in working with the very best equipment for VickyAtHome.com. "We use a three-chip MiniDV camcorder connected to a dual processor P4, broadcasting two streams, one high and one low, so everyone can get a clear picture," she said. "The most important thing is that we, as well as the person watching, have high-speed Internet. The faster the better, so that there are less instances of buffering. Nothing kills the moment more than watching a live performer suddenly freeze; especially as things are getting exciting."
Get committed performers
With the right pipe and equipment in place, the next must-have for great webcam shows are committed performers. This means people who aren't just in the business for a buck. They have to enjoy performing sexually on camera and have the people skills to create the fantasy that the customer is paying for. "You can have all the top-of-the-range equipment you want, but without your performer being friendly, nice, warm, chatty and giving a good performance, you will not succeed," Carole said. "The biggest asset a host performer has is her or himself and their performance and smile."
One performer who takes this advice to heart is Kedra, one of LiveCamNetwork.com's featured chat hostesses. "I try to treat all of my customers as though they are new friends," she said. "All of my time in the chat room, I am talking - not typing - to them and getting to know them. I converse with them via email and on the LCN BBS. I want each person who comes into my chat room to feel special because they are. Each person is unique, and I never know what to expect."
To this end, Kedra makes an effort to interact authentically with her customers to find out what their desires are. "If you don't find out about your clients, you can't keep their interest," she explained. "I ask the people who come to my room what turns them on. Not many actually do that! You can't turn anyone on if you don't know what they like."
No phonies allowed
It may seem strange to advise paid sex performers to be genuine. However, in a cybermarket where customers have become very savvy, bored performers with fixed smiles won't sell anymore. "Be real!" Kedra advised. "The world of online chatting has become much more sophisticated over the years. People can spot a fake in no time, and though there are some who enjoy the fantasy-only aspect of an online persona from a chat hostess, most will be drawn more to the models who are honestly sharing a piece of themselves with their customers."
Ideally, webcam performers will be secure and open enough to get into the sex they are performing, in order to provide the maximum turn-on value for their viewers. Vicky Vette said that when she does live webcam shows, "I cum for real, no faking. It turns me on when I see people who are really into it, really enjoying themselves, so I assume others are the same. I try to be very spontaneous and real, never planning too much in advance."
"It's all about interactivity and honesty," Kedra said. "The perfect world would allow all people who participate in the chats to share their fantasies without fear or regret, their likes and dislikes and understand that I am willing to participate in almost anything to share their ultimate experience with them. Their knowledge that I am willing to do those things and willing to share is what would make for that perfect environment."
Keep it fresh with different scenarios
Of course, guys eventually will get bored with the most honest and genuine sex if it doesn't change from week to week. This is why smart webcam sites mix things up a bit by planning special events and theme nights to sate their customers' appetite for something new. "Each weekend, we have a different theme party where we take a relevant topic and have a party with the hosts making special pictures and dressing up according to the theme," Carole said. "Every two to three weeks, we offer our members a celebrity porn star event where we bring the top stars from the industry for an hour to chat live with the members. This is offered to all members for free. Coming events include Tory Lane, Sasha Grey and Bree Olson."
"LiveCamNetwork has many sorts of events and is always willing to try out new ones," said Greg Jones, general manager and "media guy" of LiveCamNetwork. "We've had live ‘Nude Lightsaber Duels,' ‘Girl-a-Thongs,' live ‘Drink-a-Thons,' live BDSM shows, celebrity appearances, and they're all usually tied in with drinking contests, trivia contests and drinking trivia contests."
"It's all about creativity and interaction!" Kedra said. "I have theme nights, watch ‘Monday Night Football,' play trivia games - anything my chatters or I can come up with. I love to have fun in my chat room, and 90 percent of that is making sure that my viewers are enjoying the show. I hate to be bored [or] boring, and I ask my chatters what they would like to see. Again, you have to take the time to find out what interests your clients. They are the ones you are performing for."
"I try to make each webcam show special by performing in a special outfit like a nurse, policewoman, bondage dom, Swiss miss - whatever crazy thing strikes my fancy that week," Vette said. "In my opinion, the best shows are the ones with the least amount of planning, the ones that just happen, like when I get home with 20 minutes to spare before the show, and I have to take a shower, scrambling to quickly put together some lingerie and grab some music.
"Conversely, Rokkerr (Vette's husband, cameraman and fellow performer) and I have meticulously put together themed cam shows, like our ‘Pink Side of the Moon' cam show where we played Pink Floyd, had psychedelic crotchless net lingerie, painted the basement wall a stoned-out aqua-blue color, used glow-in-the-dark light sticks and even bought a smoke machine."
Of course, creativity can go off the rails. The Pink Floyd webcam show "really didn't fly," Vette said with a laugh. "The music drowned out my voice, and I couldn't stop coughing from the smoke!"
Go truly interactive
In a perfect world, webcam hosts and customers would be able to get each other off remotely, using Internet-connected technology. This isn't possible yet, but the Web-connected Sinulator vibrator allows surfers to control the device at the performer's end. That's right: Using a PC, a customer can control the vibration and rotation of the Sinulator being used by a webcam model, in real-time. "We actually do offer the Sinulator on ImLive.com, where a member can control the host performer's vibrator," Carole said.
But what do performers think about having customers control their sex toys? "I think that would be awesome!" Vette said. "It would make it even more personal."
Kedra's reply: "Enabling my chatters to control my LiveCamNetwork toys? Please?!?"
To offer great webcam shows that keep customers coming back for more, you need a big Internet pipeline and decent audio-visual equipment at the performer's end. What matters most is having smart, good-natured performers who have people skills and truly get off on helping others get off.