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Seth Warshavsky is impervious to the slings and arrows launched at him daily. The hugely successful CEO of the Internet Entertainment Group, a controversial adult content provider, focuses on the bottom line and ignores the people who label him a sleaze monger. It's true that one of IEG's main products is adult material, but we're all a product of sexuality.
There's nothing wrong with it. It's not news that sex sells or that it sells well on the anonymous medium of the Net. Notorious IEG capers like the Dr. Laura Schlessinger boudoir shots , the Pamela and Tommy Lee video, and the scandalous scam, Our First Time , have attracted millions of curious and horny surfers, and it seems they all have cash to spend. The Doogie Howser of the adult industry got an early start building his reputation. Like many of the Net's adult content providers, Warshavsky got his start in phone sex.
And the rewards rolled in. Warshavsky was riding the phone-sex gravy train until the FCC put a Denver boot on the wheels, restricting phone-sex payment methods. The first phone-sex companies collected money by using phone numbers with special prefixes or and charging through phone companies.
When the FCC outlawed that payment method, customers had to pay by credit card. Most exposure-shy callers were loath to reveal their numbers. Determined not rest on his laurels — and his vastly enriched bank account — Warshavsky decided to take his business savvy online. The Internet is totally anonymous, it's totally interactive, totally impulse-oriented.
Warshavsky launched Candyland. Certain that sex would move online, he sank millions into high-end servers, T3 connections, streaming videos, live chats, and other innovations. Unlike most non-adult start-ups, Warshavsky and his competitors had enough capital to invest in the technology that would assure a steady stream of future spenders. Last year, I went to buy a DVD player, and I asked the sales guy how many movie titles were available for the player.