Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via pornographic Bulletin Board Systems such as Rusty n Edie's.
These BBSes could charge users for access, leading to the first commercial online pornography.
When a user purchases a subscription to a commercial site after clicking through from a free thumbnail gallery site, the commercial site makes a payment to the owner of the free site.
There are several forms of sites delivering adult content. The most common form of adult content is a categorized list (more often it's a table) of small pictures (called "thumbnails") linked to galleries.
This type of distribution was generally free (apart from fees for Internet access), and provided a great deal of anonymity.
The anonymity made it safe and easy to ignore copyright restrictions, as well as protecting the identity of uploaders and downloaders.
Some free websites primarily serve as portals by keeping up-to-date indexes of these smaller sampler sites.
These intents to create directories about adult content and websites were followed by the creation of adult wikis where the user can contribute their knowledge and recommend quality resources and links.
The rise of pornography websites offering photos, video clips and streaming media including live webcam access allowed greater access to pornography.
On the Web, there are both commercial and free pornography sites.
The bandwidth usage of a pornography site is relatively high, and the income a free site can earn through advertising may not be sufficient to cover the costs of that bandwidth.
A 1995 article in The Georgetown Law Journal titled "Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway: A Survey of 917,410 Images, Description, Short Stories and Animations Downloaded 8.5 Million Times by Consumers in Over 2000 Cities in Forty Countries, Provinces and Territories" by a Carnegie Mellon University graduate student claimed, among other things, that (as of 1994) 83.5% of the images on Usenet newsgroups where images were stored were pornographic in nature. The student changed his name and disappeared from public view.
Before publication, Philip Elmer-De Witt used the research in a Time Magazine article, "On a Screen Near You: Cyberporn." findings were attacked by journalists and civil liberties advocates who insisted the findings were seriously flawed. Godwin recounts the episode in "Fighting a Cyberporn Panic" in his book Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age.