Berlin Web Week 2012: Cindy Gallop talks the future of porn

Cindy Gallop at Re:Publica 2012
Cindy Gallop at Re:Publica 2012

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT.

Berlin Web Week 2012After dating a much younger man, advertising guru Cindy Gallop started MakeLoveNotPorn to expose the “creeping ubiquity of hardcore porn in our culture”. This week in Berlin, she reveals the next step.

Cindy Gallop at Re:Publica 2012

Gallop, one of the speakers at Re:Publica 2012 as part of Berlin Web Week, is a brand-building expert and former chairwoman of leading advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

She’s better known for MakeLoveNotPorn, a web campaign to expose the differences between porn sex and real sex. In the “porn world”, for example, “men love to come on women’s faces and women love them to do this”. In the real world, some women and men like this, some don’t. “It’s entirely up to personal choice,” the post on the campaign website concludes, prompting a storm of comments.

MakeLoveNotPornGallop lifted the covers on MakeLoveNotPorn in her infamous 2009 TED talk. Due to graphic content, TED delayed putting it online then posted it to YouTube rather than the main TED website (it’s now on the TED blog). Once on YouTube, the video attracted over a thousand comments, including graphic personal attacks.

Following social media best practice, Gallop used the attention to open a dialogue. She claims she responded to 95 per cent of comments personally – and with a sense of humour. One viewer accused anyone who had sex with her of doing so out of pity. Gallop’s witty response? “A number of guys in their 20s like to do charity work”.

Want to be part of porn’s future?

It’d be easy to write this off as just another internet video sensation. Gallop has bigger plans. “I want to socialise sex,” she told an over-capacity crowd at Re:Publica yesterday. Translation: she wants to create the social network for sex, a space to frankly, safely discuss the impact of hardcore porn and the web on sex lives and norms around the globe.

The next step is MakeLoveNotPorn TV, currently in beta phase. Gallop’s not revealing details just yet – it’s tough enough, she says, we don’t need to be “shat on from a great height” while doing it.

Apparently, she’s received quite a bit of support from the porn industry. Less so from the financial sector. “It took me two years to get MakeLoveNotPorn TV funded,” she said.

I should be every venture capitalist’s wet dream literally. I have an idea enabled by technology, designed to disrupt a sector worth billions of dollars in a way that is both socially beneficial and potentially very lucrative. But because that sector is porn, and the social benefit is to sexuality, nobody wants to touch me with a barge pole.”

Gallop has the initial funding she needs and is now struggling to find a payment infrastructure provider. The project’s adult content rules out PayPal, Amazon and most other big payment gateway providers. Adult industry-specific payment providers, enjoying a “seller’s market”, are apparently too expensive.

“We’re trying to invent the future of porn and I want to talk to anybody who’s inventing the future of money,” Gallop challenged the crowd at Re:Publica. Sound like you? Check out the campaign site and get in touch.

For more on Berlin Web Week, check out:

Berlin Web Week 2012: Why Europe can’t ignore East Africa’s Silicon Savannah

Berlin Web Week 2012: Heureka! reveals keynote speaker Sebastian Siemiatkowski

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