Seth Warshavsky

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Seth Warshavsky (born 1973) is a Polish-American pioneer in the Internet pornography industry and the founder of Internet Entertainment Group (IEG). During the dot-com bubble, Warshavsky's welcome media attention made him the face of the online pornography industry to a public fascinated with what was then virtually the only segment of the dot-com industry operating at a profit.[1] On February 10, 1998, he testified at a hearing on Internet Indecency before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.[2]

Beginning in 1996, with the profits from a phone-sex operation he started while living in the Oregon building in Seattle, Washington, he had friends at AT&T who would find him sex-related numbers.[3]

Warshavsky converted a warehouse in Seattle into the studios of IEG's flagship website, The website used computer technology that was cutting edge for its day; the business model was similar to that of a live peep show. For a monthly membership fee plus an hourly charge, you could watch post card sized, low resolution images of women strip and touch themselves in real time. For more money, you could talk to the camgirls over the phone and direct them.[4]

Warshavsky was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1997.[5]

Warshavsky was also rated by Time Magazine in their Digital 50 edition as one of the 50 original pioneers of the internet, with the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Case (Warshavsky was #40 out of 50)[6]

Early Internet pornography scandals[edit]

Warshavsky was involved in many of the early Internet's porn-related media controversies, including:

IEG collapse[edit]

At IEG's peak, Warshavsky claimed to have 100,000 subscribers and $100 million annual revenue, although subsequent events cast doubt on the veracity of this earnings claim.

Anderson and Lee filed a $90 million copyright-infringement suit against IEG in 1998 to claim a share of the profits of the video of them. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, ruling that the duo gave up their rights when they agreed to let IEG webcast the footage. Following appeals, Anderson and Lee were awarded a $1.5 million judgment plus court costs and attorney fees in December 2002.[7]


  1. ^ Gimein, Mark (December 1, 1999). "Sex sells, doesn't it?". Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Jared Jacang Maher (2006-05-04). "Peter Knobel, Phone Home". Westword. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  4. ^ Rose, Frank. "Wired article". Wired.
  5. ^ "As Other Internet Ventures Fail, Sex Sites Are Raking in Millions". The Wall Street Journal. January 27, 1997. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "Bezos Grabs Time Top Spot From Gates". September 23, 1999. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Pam and Tommy:... - Pam and Tommy: accidental porn stars". Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  8. ^ "Hoax". 2004-11-18. Archived from the original on 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (1999-03-03). "Blondie: Behind the music -". Archived from the original on 2001-10-31.
  10. ^ "Archdiocese of St. Louis, et al. v. Internet Entertainment Group, Inc. - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions". 1999-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  11. ^ "Hillsborough: Voyeur site tests cyberlaw". 1999-04-26. Retrieved 2013-04-24.