But since camming only requires a video camera, broadband service, and computer, there has now been a power reversal and it is the female webcam performers who propel the industry while at home.
Todd Blatt, who once produced pornographic movies in California and has several Ferraris to show for it, declared: "If you’re the middle guy who has been eating off this industry for 20 years, it’s a big change.
Enabled with this new revenue stream for strippers, the strip club industry went through a period of extreme growth during the 1980s.
And in the early 20th century sociologist Paul Cressey noted that within the hundreds of taxi-dance halls of America, "the traffic in romance and in feminine society" would become available when taxi dancers would offer their companionship and "the illusion of romance" for ten cents a dance.
Within public chat rooms the audience can see tips and viewer comments as scrolling text which appears next to the real-time video stream.
Camgirls will frequently read and respond to the scrolling viewer comments.
Webcam performers are often highly entrepreneurial, and use mainstream social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, and Tumblr to build and maintain relationships with their customers.
Kari Lerum of the University of Washington suggests that men are more open and vulnerable in cam rooms than in strip clubs, and can become very invested in relationships which only exist on the screen.
The term webcam is a clipped compound used to combine the terms video camera and World Wide Web.
The girls don’t need anybody." Once viewed as a small niche in the world of adult entertainment, camming today has become "the engine of the porn industry", according to Alec Helmy, the publisher of XBIZ, a sex-trade industry journal. Theresa Senft herself became a camgirl for a year while doing four years of research for her 2008 book entitled, Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks.
Senft has described herself as "the first academic camgirl" while becoming a “camgirl writing about camgirls.”"The men I meet online rarely fall into the category of anonymous asses who have abandoned all social etiquette, nor do they resemble the pasty, calculator-wristwatch-wearing forebears of chat rooms past.