Seth Warshavsky

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Seth Warshavsky (born 1973) is an American pornographer and the founder of Internet Entertainment Group (IEG). During the dot-com bubble, Warshavsky's welcome of media attention made him the face of the online pornography industry to a public fascinated with what was then virtually the only segment of the dot-com industry operating at a profit.[1] On February 10, 1998, he testified at a hearing on Internet Indecency before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.[2]

Beginning in 1996, with the profits from a phone-sex operation he started while living in the Oregon building in Seattle, Washington, he had friends at AT&T who would find him sex-related numbers.[3]

Warshavsky converted a warehouse in Seattle into the studios of IEG's flagship website, The website used computer technology that was cutting edge for its day. The business model was similar to that of a live peep show. For a monthly membership fee plus an hourly charge, customers could watch postcard-sized, low-resolution images of women strip and touch themselves in real time. For more money, they could talk to the camgirls over the phone and direct them.[4]

Warshavsky was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1997.[5]

In 1999, Warshavsky was rated number 40 on Time Magazine's list of 50 "most important figures in technology."[6]

Early Internet pornography scandals[edit]

Warshavsky was involved in many of the early Internet's porn-related media controversies, including:

IEG collapse[edit]

At IEG's peak, Warshavsky claimed to have 100,000 subscribers and $100 million annual revenue, although subsequent events cast doubt on the veracity of this earnings claim.

Anderson and Lee filed a $90 million copyright-infringement suit against IEG in 1998 to claim a share of the profits of the video of them. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, ruling that the duo gave up their rights when they agreed to let IEG webcast the footage. Following appeals, Anderson and Lee were awarded a $1.5 million judgment plus court costs and attorney fees in December 2002.[7]


  1. ^ Gimein, Mark (December 1, 1999). "Sex sells, doesn't it?". Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Jared Jacang Maher (2006-05-04). "Peter Knobel, Phone Home". Westword. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  4. ^ Rose, Frank. "Wired article". Wired.
  5. ^ "As Other Internet Ventures Fail, Sex Sites Are Raking in Millions". The Wall Street Journal. January 27, 1997. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "Bezos Grabs Time Top Spot From Gates". September 23, 1999. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Pam and Tommy:... - Pam and Tommy: accidental porn stars". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  8. ^ "Hoax". 2004-11-18. Archived from the original on 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (1999-03-03). "Blondie: Behind the music -". Archived from the original on 2001-10-31.
  10. ^ "Archdiocese of St. Louis, et al. v. Internet Entertainment Group, Inc. - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions". 1999-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  11. ^ "Hillsborough: Voyeur site tests cyberlaw". 1999-04-26. Retrieved 2013-04-24.