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December 04, 2017

Do Women’s Sites Make Big Money From Porn Searches?

Women’s lifestyle publications, including those that advertise themselves as “smart” and “stylish,” are sneaking porn search terms such as “Squirting XXX porn” and “anal sex” onto their web pages in order to boost their traffic numbers and as a result, their advertising revenue, according to a report by the digital marketing news site Digiday. In fact, according to the article, “sex-related terms are among the most popular keywords driving search traffic to women-focused sites like Refinery29, Bustle, Teen Vogue and (perhaps less surprising) Cosmopolitan.” Refinery29, which describes its mission as “to be the #1 new-media brand for smart, creative and stylish women everywhere,” has made use of explicit porn terms to boost traffic, the article reports.  The site will include the porn terms in “metadata” on its web pages, meaning that the terms will turn up in a Google, or other search engine, result—but when the reader clicks on the page, the actual article title is significantly different. For example, a search that turns up the title “Squirting Porn XXX Female Ejaculation Popular Pornhub” leads to an article with the far more tame headline, “This Kind Of Porn Is Surprisingly Popular Among Women.” While typical Refinery29 articles bear headlines such as, “Kate Middleton Is Making Her List & Checking It Twice,” or “What My Mother's Weight Struggle Taught Me About Loving My Body,” porn search terms are among the site’s top traffic generators for the site which, according to the internet data site Alexa.com, derives nearly half of its traffic from search engine results. According to data cited by Digiday, six of Refinery29’s top 20 traffic generating search terms including “porn videos, “xxx” and “Pornhub” were related to porn. Alexa.com lists “PornHub” as the Refinery29’s overall top search term for grabbing traffic. Typically, online publications make money by charging advertisers a small amount—usually a fraction of a penny—for each “page view” of a page containing a specific advertisement. The more views, or traffic—that is, “clicks”—the more money a site brings in from ads. Other women’s lifestyle sites have also generated considerable traffic using explicitly sexual search terms that could easily be mistaken for porn, according to Digiday. For example, both Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue published explanatory articles earlier this year detailing in clinical terms how to safely enjoy anal intercourse. As a result, “anal sex” has been the fourth and third-highest traffic-generating search term on those two women’s sites, respectively.  Perhaps not by coincidence, “anal” was in the top 15 porn search terms worldwide, for both men and women, according to statistics from the free porn mega-site PornHub.  “If someone is on a mission to look at porn and gets distracted by a publisher’s article, I guess that’s a win for the publisher,” one internet advertising expert told Digiday.

 
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