Another installment of my Juicy Cuts series has me interviewing an anonymous adult filmmaker from a country where pornography is, strictly speaking, illegal. She had a lot to say about the difficulties she faces swimming upstream against the currents of legality and financial discrimination! Sadly, most of this didn’t make it into my article for Bitch, but luckily I’m able to give you some sweet, succulent morsels here!
“Having been in the industry since 2000, you could say I’m almost accepting of the discrimination. It’s just a fact of doing business in adult. Certainly it would be great if we could just use PayPal like everyone else. I hate that its assumed I’m automatically ‘high risk,’ i.e. a shady character, because I’m dealing with sexual material.
“So, on top of only being able to use certain third party billers like CCBill [to process payments], I don’t know if you’re aware of the ‘high risk’ fees charged by the major credit card companies if you are in adult…As you can imagine, this up-front cost that is essentially nothing more than a blackmail fee can make life difficult for small independent adult businesses to get started.
“I’ve had friends have their accounts frozen and Paypal kept all their cash with no recourse because it was deemed they were using it for adult. Really dodgy stuff.
“When the two credit card companies [Visa and Mastercard] have a monopoly like they do, they can do whatever they like. We just have to put up with it in order to do business. I’d love it if someone challenged it in court, but the inherent power imbalance makes it hard. Visa and Mastercard have a shitload of money. Most adult companies are small and have declining revenue. Also, no one takes us seriously because we’re adult. We’re all shady characters, apparently. So a legal challenge is unlikely.
“I know that there are some dodgy businesses involved in adult. And as revenues got squeezed over the last few years, some started to engage in less-than-perfect billing practices, like cross-sales (when you join one site you’re automatically joined up to another via a pre-checked box). That’s what makes it frustrating. The bastards are ruining it for the rest of us.“