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Internet Only 1% Porn 422

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-ninety-three-percent-spam dept.
Eli Gottlieb writes "In what surely comes as a complete and utter surprise to everyone here, a new calculation shows that only one percent of web pages contain pornography. While the calculations were performed using data forced from Google's and Microsoft's search indices by the government, they will help the American Civil Liberties Union to keep enforcement of the Children's Online Protection Act of 1998 banned. A loss for business privacy has become a victory for free speech, even though netizens lose a beloved old proverb."
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Internet Only 1% Porn

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  • I get "Nothing to see here, move along".
  • I suspect (Score:5, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:15AM (#16851408)
    that everyone's hard drive pron content percentage is much higher, however.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:20AM (#16851512)
      Well, you see it's like this -- the internet contains only 1% "pornography"; but of the remaining 99%, 93% consists of "artistic nudity" and "adult performance art". :-)

      • That is true. Only true artists do the ATM thing to make a statement about the current state of affairs.
    • by Salvance (1014001) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:24AM (#16851584) Homepage Journal
      Hmmm .... a few years ago the journal Nature found that 2% of the internet was porn [216.109.125.130]. This would explain why it now takes me twice as long to find what I'm looking for.
      • by grazzy (56382) <(ten.ews.ekauq) (ta) (yzzarg)> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:32AM (#16851670) Homepage Journal
        We must take this threat to internet porn seriously and ACT before it's to late. According to these statistics internet porn will be down to 0% in just a couple of years. Save the porn before it goes extinct!
      • by snowwrestler (896305) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:36AM (#16853620)
        User-driven content ("Web 2.0") has led to a massive increase in the parallelism of page creation. Every single story submitted to Digg becomes a new Web page, as does every Flickr page, every Wikipedia page, every Match.com profile, every Youtube video, every Myspace page, every Slashdot comment, etc.

        Some porn sites allow user-generated content (pun intended, eewww...), but overall the number of people willing to share recordings of themselves having sex is probably pretty small compared to the number willing to share their favorite song or interesting link or thoughts on a subject. (At least I hope to God it is.)
    • Re:I suspect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ghyd (981064) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:31AM (#16851662)
      What would be interesting is the amount of data transfered.
    • Re:I suspect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:31AM (#16851666) Homepage Journal
      I suspect that the porn content of the Net is highly underrated. Having done such surveys in my life for businesses, I can say that any metric that you're looking for can be skewed drastically by looking at the numbers differently. For example, if you many porn sites want only a handful of pages to be indexed, so if you go by page count, porn will be very low. If you go by machine or domain names, then porn will rank fairly high, since many porn sites use domains to isolate different types of content for the same service.

      If you discount auto-generated pages, you willl also eliminate a huge fraction of the Web.

      There's an awful lot of play in these numbers, so don't be too shocked if they're just dead wrong from most points of view.
  • oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rayde (738949) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:16AM (#16851416) Homepage
    Dang! Now what am I gonna do with my new Dell [youtube.com]?
  • 99-1 law (Score:5, Funny)

    by cucucu (953756) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:16AM (#16851418)
    99% of the people spend their time in 1% of the web
  • by regular_gonzalez (926606) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:18AM (#16851454)
    As if this will change the opinions of any of the powers that be in favor of increased legislation and restriction of online content? The argument will shift to "...but that 1% makes up (20 / 30 / 50 / arbitrary number) % of internet traffic! Save the children now!"
    • by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:32AM (#16851676) Journal
      All that porn is clogging up the tubes, and it making them really sticky - that's why it takes so long for me to get the internets that my staff sends me.
    • As with any government endeavour they hired scientist, computer experts, and a slew of other specialities. Do you think those people are come back with data that doesn't support their continued existance?

      Government driven research leads to one thing, more government driven research usually by the same groups. When you don't have to show a profit from your results you return what best profits you.

      • by monkeydo (173558) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:02AM (#16852104) Homepage
        As with any government endeavour they hired scientist, computer experts, and a slew of other specialities. Do you think those people are come back with data that doesn't support their continued existance?

        Yes, that's EXACTLY what they did. The government was trying to prove that there is a need for COPA. Instead they proved that there isn't.
        • by El Torico (732160) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:51AM (#16852810)
          Yes, that's EXACTLY what they did. The government was trying to prove that there is a need for COPA. Instead they proved that there isn't.

          Don't open the champagne yet; the DOJ can find data in the study to support their claim.
          I noted this in the article -

          Stark's study found that only 6 percent of all queries returned a sexually explicit Web site, despite the consistent popularity of queries related to sex.

          Which raises the question, what percentage of the search terms are of that nature? The report from Dr. Philip Stark states that in addition to the random search terms, 685 popular queries (as counted by Wordtracker) were used in the study. When those search terms were used, the return rate of sexually explicit sites was about 37%.

          To me it shows that a lot of people are looking for pr0n (and finding it), so I wanted to see what people are currently looking for. These are the current top 30 search terms [wordtracker.com], but they have been edited by Wordtracker "so as not to cause offense." Does anyone have access to the current, unedited top 30, 100, 500, etc.?

  • The other 99% (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Baal Sebub (797455)
    are link farms to porn sites.
  • that The Internet is for Porn [google.com]?

    (Old link by now, sorry).
  • by consumer_whore (652448) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:18AM (#16851480)
    99% useless
    • by owlnation (858981) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:55AM (#16852022)
      Of course the whole 99% isn't useless. However a significant percentage does indeed seem to be.

      For example if I use English words to search for something in Google.de....

      (At this point I would like to point out to any web designers who code to redirect users to country specific sites and languages based on their IP address, that if I ever find you I will hurt you, that's a promise. I live in Germany and travel a lot in the EU, but I speak English, I'm damned if I can ever get the page I'm looking for after a cookie clear. Seriously, do you think I'm too stupid to know the difference between .com and .de; that's why I typed one not the other, why on earth should you redirect me?)

      ...anyway, using almost any English words in Google.de pulls up almost nothing but link farms, SEO pages and click fraud sites, etc. It makes me seriously wonder about the true value of my Adwords account - I really don't think enough is being done about this issue. (And to anyone from Google who's reading, please encourage your German colleagues to do some work, SEO is rampant here.)

      Or perhaps we're just long overdue for the next generation of search engine. Google is better than that which came before it, but it still has a long way to go. I want to find my porn without click fraud crap.
  • by geoffspear (692508) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:19AM (#16851494) Homepage
    A giant, annoying ad floating over the page and they still can't earn enough money to hire a copyeditor who can spell "Microsoft" correctly? How can I subscribe to this fine publication?
  • by Rahga (13479) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:19AM (#16851496) Homepage Journal
    Let's face it... The supply of women ready to put themselves out on display on the internet pales in comparison to the sheer mass of teen angst that flows out onto myspace/youtube/livjournals etc. :)
  • Ok but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by otacon (445694) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:19AM (#16851502)
    Search engines don't index all of the things on porn sites that are for members only i.e. Terabytes of member's only pages, video, and pics. For example sex.com could only have a few pages for the public that Google would show, but in reality they have thousands more. So it would be hard to be accurate at only 1%
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Daemonstar (84116)
      Also, it depends on of they were searching with Google's "Safe Search" on or not (it is on by default; you have to turn it off in the "Advanced Search").
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by porcupine8 (816071)
      But you could argue that that's likely to be balanced out by the non-porn members-only pages. Ever tried to google something in Lexis-Nexis? (I doubt they included scholar.google.com in this search.)
    • About web search (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nieske (998571)
      This might also have something to do with the fact that sex-related topics also aren't the top in web search anymore [theage.com.au], now only numbering 3,8% as opposed to 17% (!) in the mid-nineties.
    • While it's interesting to think about, the absolute percentage of all existing Web content that is porn is not really the important question. The important question is how much porn the public sees inadvertantly, and whether federal legislation is needed to protect kids from porn when they are online. If most porn content is hidden behind logins, that lends strength to the idea that such a law is not needed.

      Also I should point out that there are vast stores of Web-accessible, non-porn information hidden beh
      • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:53PM (#16857444)

        The important question is [. . .] whether federal legislation is needed to protect kids from porn when they are online.

        The important question is whether or not children need to be protected from porn at all.

        I ask this question seriously: Have there been any studies done that shows that exposure to pornographic images makes a child more likely to engage in sexual activity sooner, or makes them somehow less likely to use protection during intercourse? If not, it seems to me that this isn't about protecting children -- it's about protecting parents from uncomfortable discussions that, frankly, are part of their job as parents.

        Personally I wish children were exposed to MORE porn and MORE sexual discussion. It seems to me that the US has become entirely too prudish about sex. It is a natural and necessary part of life and we should stop treating it as a depravity. Sex is what it is. If we, as a society, instill maturity and responsibility in our children, I believe the vast majority of the concern of sex is rendered moot.

  • Not a good metric (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RISTMO (926726)
    People don't view "pages" of porn. They view graphics and videos. Each page might contain several dozen images. Then there are zip files full of images that are never displayed in the page itself and videos that only count as one file. A much better measurement would be the total size of all porn related files vs. the total filesize of the web.
  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:21AM (#16851530) Homepage Journal
    1% Porn
    49% Erotica
    2% Goatse
    30% Bush haters
    15% Bush supporters
    2% Slashdot articles
    10% Blogs
    8% Math geniuses
    42% AOL and MySpace pages .3% Good Stuff .01% Abandoned Stuff
    69% Potty humour
    80% Top Ten and Stupid Lists
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:22AM (#16851546) Homepage Journal
    ...to skew the odds back where they belong. --------> (_Y_)
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:22AM (#16851548) Journal
    Google indexes somewhere around 4000 million web pages. This means that the internet is flooded with 40 million pages of porn!

    Numbers are great when you make them dance.
  • Google and Microsoft search indices. Sounds like too pure a fountain to draw from. Try mining from a dirtier source, like my browser history.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:23AM (#16851562) Homepage
    Well, I'm glad we've cleared up that little misunderstanding. I guess ISPs can block everything except port 80 now. Many thanks.
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:24AM (#16851570)
    Percentages mean absolutely nothing if you don't know the sample upon which the percentage is based.

    "30% of the Internet is porn".

    Was the entire Internet checked? of course not. So what sample was taken? was it a list of random domains, or a list of random pages - which will produce quite different results. If it was random domains, which list was the sample taken from? was it from all sites, or just .com sites? how was the random number generated? presumably sites beginning with "s" (e.g. sex) will tend to be porn sites - was the generator biased in any way? if *pages* were chosen (unlikely, I guess, since it means indexing entire sites, and some porn sites will be pay access, so their pages will be hidden), was it a sample of pages from a sample of sites, or a full set of pages from a sample of sites?

    Also, pointedly, what exactly *is* a site with porn? do we mean hardcore porn (peneratration) or do we include softcore porn (glamour)? shouldn't we differentiate between the two, and have two percentages?

    So propositions like "the xxx is nn% yyy" are so trite that they are meaningless.
    • by garcia (6573)
      More importantly, most free porn is not easily linked to from sites like google. If you do an image search on google you might find one 1000th of the amount of porn content that you would if you were to find a TPG site and then use an incremental URL to get to the rest.

      Many free porn sites are now going to URLs that are not easy to guess and thus you cannot get to their content unless you know the specific URLs (linked by TPG listing sites like thehun, elephantlist, sublimedirectory, etc).

      So while they mig
  • It is pretty easy to avoid porn if you don't want it, I'm always amused when a relative wants me to scrape all the spyware off their XP box and I suggest this could be avoided if they would stay off the porn. They act all indignant and confused until I pull up their IE history and look through their documents and find the videos they save.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:26AM (#16851616)
    During a business trip to Alabama several weeks back, I met a fellow who I'd describe as the typical sort of Christian fundamentalist you'd find in the southeastern US. He's not a bad person, but his views are somewhat, in my mind, unusual.

    We were talking about the Internet, and some of the work he'd done speeding up the TCP implementation for an embedded OS. He mentioned at one point that he was worried it'd be used to transmit pornography at a faster rate. I found this absurd, so I asked him to elaborate on what he considered pornography. He was telling me that he thought pictures of the adult women modelling underwear and bras in Wal-Mart flyers were pornographic!

    Now, I don't know this guy very well. My best guess is that he's got a raging erection most of the time, but due to the beliefs and customs of the society and religion he has been exposed to his entire life, he's had to build up this anti-pronographic personality. It seems he's taken it to the extreme. But it showed to me the problem with pornography: its definition differs so widely between different individuals.

  • by el_womble (779715) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:30AM (#16851642) Homepage
    My maths isn't great, but I did a few simple calculations and that is still a metric fuckload of porn.

    Feel free to convert it into imperial. I think rods would be an appropriate measure.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How many Rods to a Fuckload?
  • by yancey (136972) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:30AM (#16851658)
    It may be true that only one percent of pages on the Internet contain porn, but porn-related spam gets to much more than one percent of Internet mailboxes.
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:32AM (#16851668)
    I'm not in the least surprised it's only 1% of sites. I think the interesting thing is, what percent of traffic is it?

    Millions of people can belong to one huge site and spend all their time there. Dozens and dozens of "mini" sites all just feed into the same big site, and depending on how they counted this, those might all be "one site." A whole ton of the porn out there probably isn't indexed, because you have to have an account and log in to the one accessible page the crawler saw to get to the ten million pages of porn behind it. A huge amount of the porn online probably never has anything to do with the web, as it's moving over bittorrent, usenet, gnutella, etc.

    Estimates I've seen of the percent of internet traffic that's porn have been much, much higher than 1%.
  • Quote From TFA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:32AM (#16851684)
    ``What we are learning about the Internet is that it reflects life and that the Internet is not -- contrary to what some people might think -- more sexual than people are in general.''

    That might be the most insightful thing that I've read all week...

  • So THATS why it's so hard to find. Oh wait....
  • ...did they included P2P in their calculations? I'm pretty confident that more than 1% of that traffic is porn.
  • by gambler_mtu (1006967) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:37AM (#16851738)
    Given the size of the Internet, I find that rather sad. Too many people's lives are damaged/ruined by porn for even 1% to be acceptable. It would be better for society if that number were 0, we'd have a lot less child predators and rapists on the streets. I'm not saying that people shouldn't have the right to debase themselves...I just think it is sad that it is made so easy by the internet.
  • No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sacrilicious (316896) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:39AM (#16851794) Homepage
    In what surely comes as a complete and utter surprise to everyone here, a new calculation shows that only one percent of web pages contain pornography.

    Doesn't surprise me. Less than 1% of my house's floor space is occupied by dining room chairs, yet somehow I manage to spend nearly 10% of my time in these chairs daily. Likewise, the percent of waking time spent by our household watching the 0.1% of our wallspace occupied by the television is a (disproportionate) 10%.

  • I would be much more interested in a statistic on what percentage of IP traffic carries porn-related information. That would be a much better metric metric for finding out what the Internet really ... is for.
  • by shirizaki (994008) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:40AM (#16851810)
    1% Porn
    40% Useless meme and trivia
    59% George W. Bush
  • First off, privacy on the web doesn't exist. It wouldn't be on the web if it were meant to be private.

    Also, what's the "beloved proverb" that "netizens" are losing?

  • that they were forced to hand over the information.

    Think about it. what sort of distorted view does the government have of the people it is suppose to represent.

  • Skeptical? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jlf278 (1022347)
    Okay, 1% sounds fishy at first, but if you take a look at history, you find that pictures of women's belly buttons, armpits, shoulders, etc. were considered Porn. Now we are far more selective. Furthermore, according to Moore's Law's Inernet Porn Corollary you will see that technology has increased the rate at which porn becomes both more efficient and more easily attainable. Where you once had to pay your older sister $15 to buy you a copy of Penthouse, now you download whatever messed up $&!# vide
  • "Directions to Nasty Stuff."

    Who doesn't know this? This was what they trying to do!
    Dont believe me? Just try to remember the IP address for "Big Asian Titties" by yourself!

  • I would love to know what they're counting. Are they talking about 1% of IPs? 1% of registered domain names? 1% of Google's cache? I've got a not-so-sneaking suspicion that the result would be significantly different depending on which of those you measured.

    And, as other posters have indicated, what they ought to be measuring is the percentage of internet traffic that comprises porn, which would be (to me) a more valid metric for what impact porn has on the internet.
  • Porn vs Mac (Score:4, Funny)

    by scrotch (605605) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:11AM (#16852212)
    I'm not sure what this says about me, but it occurred to me that Apple has better market share than porn...
  • by hcob$ (766699) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:15AM (#16852264)
    How did they search the whole internet for porn.... And can I have some of the links.

    I'm tired of wasting 10 minutes to.... errr.... Wasting 10 minutes to search a topic and finding nothing but porn. I need those links to err.... block the porn... yeah.
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:19AM (#16852320) Homepage Journal
    Considering the wide array of the kinds of porn and pecadillios out there... I'd say that the study is very likely flawed. To some people, the following are pornography:

    1. Bare tit
    2. Celebrity nipple slips
    3. Non-detailed butt/bum shots
    4. Up the skirt panty shots

    To others who are more extreme in their anti-porn views, the following would qualify:

    1. Females under the age of 18 wearing skimpy clothing and too much makeup on MySpace
    2. Anything with a female of any age wearing clothing that starts above the knee and doesn't cover the legs, or exposes the midriff
    3. Anything that celebrates female sexuality in terms of sexual pleasure. It's OK to celebrate it, if it's related to child bearing. Witness the number of couples who tell all their friends and family "we started trying to have a baby a few months ago" without batting an eye, but you wouldn't see them saying "we started trying to increase the quality and frequency of orgasm for both of us a few months ago". With "both" implying that she gets to have a lot of fun too.

    The two groups above very likely would comdemn people to death for looking at images of activities like:

    1. Gay/Lesbian Sex
    2. Orgies
    3. Bondage and Dicipline/Sado-Masochism
    4. Female Domination
    5. Infantilism
    6. Furries/Yiff (sexual scenarios utilizing anthropomorphic animals in cartoon form)
    7. Bisexual activity of any kind (forced homosexuality in the domination scene all the way to "lesbian" activity in the swingers scene)
    8. Cross dressing
    9. Extreme body play (super large anal and vaginal insertions. Think: bowling ball in ass or eggplant in vagina. It's been done. Many times. You'd be amazed at how much human tissue can stretch without breaking)
    10. Nullo (the voluntary or involuntary removal of genitalia)
    11. Amputation (removal of limbs for sexual pleasure)
    12. Scat (sexual activity focused on fecal matter)
    13. Bestiality (sexual activity with animals)
    14. Hentai (anime with a strong sexual focus possibly even including "tentacle sex" and mutilation (typically of females))
    15. Hirsute women (women with a lot of body hair who don't shave it off. As some men put it, "wool panties")
    16. God/Goddess/Wife worship (people who literally worship their masters, mistresses and spouses in the BD/SM scene and take the worship very seriously)
    17. Swingers (real people who engage in free exchange of sexual partners. Typically lots of straight couples and singles with bisexual activity between women. There is very little homosexual activity between men and some groups discourage it due to health concerns based around the lie that AIDS is a "gay" disease.)
    18. Cybelle (Wife as goddess figure. Husband must submit to being a literal "human toilet" and ingest urine and feces of wife. Husband is also cut off crom all sexual contact with wife, while wife has right to take many lovers. Husband is also in financial bondage and all money he earns go to wife for her use only. Hehehe... I expect some guys here will say that that's why they got divorced in the first place. ;P)
    19. Foot fetish
    20. Hotwife/Cuckold culture. Wives sleep with other men and their husbands photo/video them for sharing on the net both free and pay. The cuckolds never get to have sex with their wives.

    And that's just a smattering of what I've scene in my 16 years on the net as an amateur sexologist/enthusiast. All of the above activities/groups publish photos and text online that the simpler folk of our society would find appalling and unacceptable. Hell, even I was shocked when I found the Nullo, Amputation and Cybelle stuff. But, then after looking at these things I realized that this stuff has ALWAYS been around long before the first bits poured out onto the internet. And as long as humans exist, these things will continue to be around. In the past people did this stuff underground and kept their images, written words and fantasies to themselves. If they were caught, they were likely i
  • by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:23AM (#16852382) Journal
    metatags can control what a search engine can/can't look at a website.

    all the porn sites have to do is put "no-cache" metatags on their pages to keep them off gogle's cache.

    now here comes the science. they do research using webcaches as source, come with a meaningles, wrong number and want us to let go of our proverb ???

    well, they can have my proverb when they pry it from my cold dead hand!!! the left one, of course. the right is kinda busy right now.
  • One data point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhotoGuy (189467) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:38AM (#16852590) Homepage
    Several years ago, I founded a photo sharing site, which grew quite large (tens of millions of photos, millions of users). At one point in our growth, we did an analysis of what percentage was adult content. Much to our surprise, it was only at 10%, we were expecting much higher. I do suspect the 1% number of this study is unrealistically low, though.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:39AM (#16852616) Homepage Journal
    Google doesn't measure captcha- or password-protected pay web pages.
    Google doesn't measure file-sharing networks.
    Google doesn't measure web pages that have robots.txt exclusions.

    A much more interesting number than "porn sites" is:

    1) how likely are you to find porn if you start at a well-known non-porn site and randomly click on links?
    2) how likely are you to find porn on the first page of results on a search engine, if you are NOT searching for porn?
    3) for the parents of 14 year old boys: a) how hard is it for my child to find porn if he IS looking for it, b) how effective are i) machine-, ii) router-, and iii) ISP-level blocking tools, and c) how easy can my son or his friends evade them without getting caught?

    The first two will keep truly-innocent kids and adults from stumbling on porn. #3 demands both a technical and a proper-parenting solution.

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