Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age

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Routledge, 2000 - Business & Economics - 305 pages
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Sex sells. Already a ten-billion dollar business-and growing-most sex businesses require relatively low start-up costs and minimal equipment. No wonder retired porn stars, homemakers, college students, and entrepreneurs of every stripe are eager to jump on the smut band wagon. Following the money trail, or in this case, the telecom routes, the author reveals how some big phone companies are cashing in too. Obscene Profits offers a startling and entertaining new look at this very old business, and shows why pornography, in all of its variations--videos, magazines, phone-sex, spy cameras, etc.-- is one of the most profitable and popular new careers to come out of the electronic age.

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Obscene profits: the entrepreneurs of pornography in the cyber age

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Lane, an attorney and the publisher of the Journal of Electronic Discovery and Internet Litigation, provides a timely case study of the business and economics of pornography. What makes this an ... Read full review

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I read this book by Fred Lane and it was fascinating and is very well written. Actually, I read it twice, separated by a month or two. It is that good.
I was a teen back in the late 1980's and
would spend countless hours on Jim Maxey's Event Horizons BBS, not because of pretty girls but because of the online games which was totally different and superior to anywhere else in the world. One was called The Black Hole where I would move blindly with my keyboard arrow keys into a dark empty screen, to see what I might bump into. (There was no use of a mouse back then and no images, just IBM graphics characters to sub as borders and boxes, etc). There was no telling what you'd find as you moved from one screen to the next, and most of the time you would have to answer questions, perform a task, and move on to a reward. Another online game, nothing like it anywhere was called, Escape From Languor using RIP Graphics online.
It was Jim Maxey and his BBS where I first saw the abbreviation, LOL, meaning Laugh Out Loud. and this was because of some of the hilarious and comical things people had to do when playing his games, then going into chat or messages to talk about what they just did.
Jim Maxey annoyed some people because he would force you to stretch your mind and think and if you didn't answer a science question correctly, you had to pay the price or be logged off. I think this only helped secure his popularity and an innovator and computer genius.
There was also a text game, forget the title, but I would ask questions and it would answer. It was truly amazing, far head of its time. I thought at first there was a person on the end but soon learned there was not, just programming but I've never run across anything like it before and always wondered why I never read about it. I think maybe the association of nude pics on Event Horizons BBS has made some timid writers a bit hesitant of giving Jim Maxey his due credit for the many firsts.
I read that Jim Maxey's accomplishments include:
* Created the first computerized "Movie" on a PC. The movie was a succession of frames from a NASA launch, was available to download on Event Horizons BBS.
* Created the very first PC color images with the new EGA format, which preceded the VGA format.
* In 1987 coined the term "SuperVGA" with the first high-resolution images profiled on PC Magazine's "After Hours".
* Created the first online Dating Service in 1983 as advertized in a local newspaper.
* Authored the award winning "Voyager III", an educational adventure into space, that actually taught Astronomy. The adventure was profiled on the cover of Boardwatch magazine.
* Authored the first graphics oriented online game, "Escape From Languor".
* Originator and creator of MaxiPic images. Read article about the MaxiPic EGA creation process.
* Helped Create the GIF Image Format With seven other developers on CompuServe Information Service. In an interview with Andrew Sedgemeir (sp), Maxey indicated he was not the brains behind the GIF development, only one of eight men invited by CompuServe to develop the format.
* Founded one of the first commercial online businesses. In 1983, he founded Event Horizons Inc and operated Event Horizons BBS as CEO and president.
* World's most profitable BBS (Bulletin Board System), the first BBS to accept credit cards for online access with a merchant account.
Jim Maxey designed a prison ship where you need to move from the lowest level in the ship to the uppermost level then take control of the ship. But along the way you had horrible monsters, such as John Boy Walton holding the head of JFK saying, "Ask Not...". It was hilarious, campy, wonderful. And I love it. Jim Maxey was obviously a genius, far ahead of his time. I always wanted to meet him and have always wondered what happened to him.
Update: Just found his Facebook page:

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About the author (2000)

A graduate of Boston College Law School, Frederick S. Lane is a freelance journalist, lecturer, and expert witness. He has written three previous books on how legal issues affect society, including most recently The Decency Wars. He lives with his family in Burlington, Vermont.

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