|Headquarters||32 Boulevard Royal, L-2449 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg|
MindGeek is an international information technology firm, specializing in highly trafficked websites. It is headquartered in Luxembourg, with offices in many countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Cyprus, and the United States. The company, which employs a staff of 1,000 in over 35 subsidiaries, operates a wide variety of services, predominantly high traffic adult video sharing websites including YouPorn and Pornhub. The structure of the Manwin company around the world has been described as being highly complicated and impenetrable for anybody on the outside. The company is also one of the two leaders in mobile-phone pornography in North America, handling millions of visits each day. According to the company, Manwin is one of the top five bandwidth consumption companies in the world.
The finances of Manwin, including the corporations bank accounts, computers are controlled by a subsidiary company in Cyprus. Cypriot documents do not reveal the source of the money used to finance the operations of the company. But they identify two companies that are involved. The companies are CB Agency Services LLC in the State of Delaware, and Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC, a financial services company in Chicago.
The Manwin business model is based on low margin and high revenue. The many millions of users watch free movies along with ads for paying pornography sites that belong to the Manwin network. It is estimated that only one in a thousand users click on these ads. The viewer then pays either a fee for one-time use or signs up for a pornography subscription that offers better-quality, longer films than what is available free. One former employee for the Manwin website MyDirtyHobby.com reports signing 14,000 actors and actresses, some 6,000 of which are regularly active. For every euro of turnover for a film or live chat the actor or actress appears in, they usually are credited with 25 cents. A single actress could thus generate an income of about €12,000 based on a turnover of around €50,000 per year.
In December 2012, Manwin owner Fabian Thylmann, a German national who lives in Belgium, was arrested by Belgium police. He was later extradited to Germany at the request of Cologne prosecutors on suspicion of tax evasion. Thylmann has reportedly denied that he has evaded tax and maintains that he was merely minimizing his tax burden. According to documents of the Luxembourg Trade Register, Thylmann is CEO and sole shareholder of the main Manwin holding company.
Manwin is the owner of many major pornographic web 2.0 websites including YouPorn, Pornhub, Tube8, XTube, ExtremeTube, JuicyBoys, Webcams, Mydirtyhobby, KeezMovies, Tranny Surprise, and SpankWire, which between them generate some 16 billion visits per month and consequently are believed to be among the most popular websites on the planet.
Manwin also owns and operates a number of pornographic content brands such as Brazzers, Digital Playground, Mofos, MyDirtyHobby and Twistys. They also manage the websites of Wicked Pictures.
In March 2010, Manwin bought the Canadian holding company Mansef. Mansef owned the websites Brazzers, Mofos, and Pornhub.
In September 2010, Manwin acquired EuroRevenue. Known for its hardcore content, EuroRevenue has a variety of niche sites that include everything from teen-oriented fare to gangbang and bukkake porn.
In December 2010 two California residents filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California against the owner of pornography website YouPorn. The suit alleges that YouPorn has violated cybercrime and consumer-protection laws by using surreptitious technology to harvest information about what websites they had visited. YouPorn is owned by Midstream Media International NV, based on the island of Curaçao, which itself is a subsidiary of Manwin.
In November 2011 Manwin became an operating partner of Playboy, managing the brand's online and entertainment business Playboy Plus Entertainment, which operates a number of television channels and online services based in the UK and Benelux.
A security breach in February 2012 led to YouPorn's "YP Chat" being temporarily disabled as passwords and email addresses of more than 6,000 users were compromised; a breach at Digital Playground's site in March 2012 compromised user names, email addresses and passwords for 73,000 subscribers along with numbers, expiration dates and security codes for 40,000 credit cards.
A merger notification (with Reality Kings) was filed with the Austrian Federal Competition Authority in April 2012. In September 2012, Manwin completed the acquisition. Company documents show that following the deal in the autumn, Miami-beach based RK Holdings gave a Dublin company, Manwin Content RK, the right to use thousands of its pornography movies. The list of movie titles, lodged in the Irish Companies’ Registration Office, fills more than 60 pages. The copyright transfers and the presence of a billing company in Ireland indicate that Manwin may be moving some operations to Ireland to cash in on the Republic’s low corporate tax regimes.
Manwin filed a lawsuit in California in November 2012 to block a new .xxx domain. It claimed that introducing the new suffix was the first step towards making it mandatory, meaning governments could easily censor by blocking access to all .xxx sites. Manwin announced that it would not allow its content to be used on any sites with the suffix, saying: 'We oppose the .xxx domain and all it stands for. It is our opinion that .xxx domain is an anti-competitive business practice that works a disservice to all companies that do business on the Internet.'
Backers of ballot proposition Measure B, known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act (aka "Condoms in Porn"), have called for the "No on B" campaign to return a $220,000 contribution from Manwin. Manwin was the largest single donor to the "No on B" campaign which sought to defeat Measure B. The contribution may be illegal under US law as it can be considered to be from Fabian Thylmannm, as he is not a US citizen. The ballot measure, which passed, requires pornography producers to obtain public health permits and use condoms in their films.
In May 2013, Manwin, owner of one of the largest portfolios of adult-oriented websites, agreed to settle an antitrust lawsuit it brought against ICM Registry over the cost of .xxx web domain names. The settlement will result in discounted wholesale prices of $7.85 a year for .xxx names during May 2013 and at other times in the future. ICM Registry is owned by British former fax-machine mogul Stuart Lawley. The settlement provides that ICM will not pay any money directly to Manwin.
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