Growing up, my siblings and I spent an obscene amount of time on the internet, and when we had dial-up, it was a nightmare fight in allotting the time each person got to spend online. Sometimes tears were shed, hair was pulled, punches were swung. Meanwhile, while my parents sat back—a nurse and a social worker—thinking, “Why are our children so entranced with this box? And how do we turn it on?”
As it turns out, the time my brother, sister and I spent online wasn’t all for naught because today we all hold jobs that’ve been created by the internet. We all work from home. We can’t conceive of going into an office like our parents still do. In many ways, we’re, like, the fucking future.
The jobs we hold in the virtual world are all very different though. My 28-year-old sister develops online curriculums and does other things I have trouble understanding. She talks about things like Moodle andd basically exists in an online sub-culture that is so different from mine.
I do this. This is what I do. Pop culture, boys, love, whatever. That’s me. And my 25-year-old brother runs a very successful porn website. Out of all of us, who do you think makes the most money? If you guessed the one who does sex, you’d have guessed right. Sex sells, duh.
My brother’s success surprised us all. After he barely graduated high school, my parents cut him off in a tough love attempt to foster motivation, and he moved into an apartment in Skid Row with his meager savings and no job prospects. When his money quickly depleted, he decided to start a website that would feature the grossest and most disturbing porn videos. In the first month, he made $2000 by cutting deals with advertisers, and everyone in my family was just like, “What?”
Bums having sex, old people fornicating with twenty-somethings, weird fetishes: These types of videos dominated my brother’s site and brought him a steady flow of cash. My parents were a little freaked out by its content, but I think they were mostly just relieved that he was no longer in danger of becoming homeless. My sister, however, was furious about the site’s objectification of women. The two have never had much of a relationship, but my brother’s site ended up being the final nail in the coffin.
Like my sister, I’m a die-hard feminist and was disgusted by a lot of the things I had seen on the website, but I was also proud of my brother. As sad as it is to admit, no one had high hopes for him after he had performed dismally in high school and shunned the idea of college. Through porn, however, he really showed an aptitude for editing and an understanding for viral videos. It might seem easy to make money with internet porn and in a way it is. But maintaining the traffic, the content, and the editing shows real talent and skill.
At the age of 22, my brother had accumulated enough money to buy a million dollar house in the Hollywood Hills. I was also living in L.A. at the time and would go with him to posh neighborhoods like Hancock Park, Beachwood Canyon and Beverly Hills to look at properties, and it was mind-blowing to think that internet porn bought these granite countertops, hardwood floors, and breathtaking views
Today my brother has morphed his site into a sort of Funny or Die type website, but with weird sex videos instead of Will Ferrell talking in a funny accent. He brings in about $60,000 a month from advertisers, proving that America and the internet are really weird. I would post a link to his website, but internet pornography is in a legal grey area and I don’t want to be the one responsible for my brother being sued.
My brother, sister and I are wildly different. My sister works in the educational realm, I write weird feminist pop culture stuff and my brother edits videos of women getting pissed on, but I like that the internet is our common denominator. I’m glad we represent the modern workforce while my parents still struggle with writing emails. The internet is a cool place and despite our differences, it’s what bonds my siblings and me together.