LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Can the women of a virtual world possibly look like their inviting online avatars? Yes, according to RedLightCenter.
Claiming more than 3 million users, RedLightCenter is an adult 3D virtual world that has invited real-life women to submit provocative or even nude photos of themselves to display side-by-side with the RedLightCenter avatar on their profile.
"We definitely have, let's say, a whole group of users who predominantly have avatars that look similar to how they look in real life," CEO Brian Shuster told AVN Online.
Shuster admits some users, submitting photos or not, look nothing like their avatars.
"That certainly happens, but we have a surprising number of hot users who have real hot avatars," he said. "We are an area where people can life out fantasy, but are inclined to do that in a sort of realistic way."
Patterned after Amsterdam and its famous Red Light District, the virtual site was launched as a no-holds-barred response to virtual site Second Life.
"It's pretty explicit; we don't censor stuff," Shuster told AVN Online. "It's a fully integrated community for adults, 18 and over only.
"When we first started out, we realized that this is an amazing repository for amateur porn. So basically, users are taking pictures of themselves for the fun of it, to show other users, and it's really exciting," he said.
The members don't truly use Red Light Center like a typical porn site, either.
"It's a liberal kind of world for open-minded people to connect with very adult, very explicit segments, including fetish categories, amateur and so on," Shuster said.
With the site's user creation tool, a member can configure an avatar in various ways, from face shape, eye color, hairstyle and color to height, tattoos or not, piercings to clothing, including lingerie, in layers.
The site's primary revenue comes from monthly recurring subscriptions, which allows paying members to engage in sex and other activities, though site download and membership is free.
There's even an alley, just like Amsterdam's Red Light District, which features live girls hanging out in windows, beckoning buyers to come hither.
"These are actual models, doing live cams, not avatar models," Shuster said. "We have, let's say, some arrangements with a variety of services. All of the business within the 'real estate' is operated by third parties. This includes all the clubs, movie theaters and DVD stores. Webmasters throughout the industry come in and license player space from us, so we participate in a variety of revenue streams. But we don't do much player advertising; we keep that to an absolute minimum because it's unnecessary."
Shuster told AVN Online that you'll find plenty of porn stars on the site in avatar form, but not really doing business.
"We have a whole range of members," he said. "From everyday, regular people to porn stars signing up to hang out, playmates -- it's all recreation for them. They're not doing it as part of a paid promotion at all."
View some of the women of RedLightCenter.
View or join the site at RedLightCenter.com.