From Fuckbook to Booble, Porn Knockoffs of Startups Are the Wikipedia of Failing

A brief tour of some of the best, worst, and weirdest XXX knockoffs, and what’s become of them.

|
Apr 1 2016, 2:20pm

Photo: Jean Koulev/Flickr

Porn industry profits may be in the shitter, but that hasn't shaken the general conviction that "Just add sex!" is an instant recipe for making millions. That may be why every time some mainstream startup becomes a success, someone gets the brilliant—if deeply unoriginal—idea to do a XXX knockoff.

And it's true that the formula sometimes works. YouTube-for-porn websites PornHub, YouPorn, and all the rest have done rather well for themselves, consistently ranking as some of the most popular sites on the internet (and helping to drive the rest of the adult industry out of business). But unfortunately for would-be jizztrepreneurs, those sites are something of an outlier, and most "[X], but for sex!" ideas aren't as brilliant as their creators assume. And even when they are, they're often stymied by the many legal, financial, and promotional restrictions that can make running an adult business a serious headache.

Below, some of the best, worst, and weirdest XXX knockoffs, and what's become of them.

Then there's SexyGoogle, which is literally just regular Google, but with a picture of a girl in lingerie.

WikiForPorn/Boobpedia

Ever found yourself wishing Wikipedia were more hardcore? Well, someone did. Wiki For Porn launched in 2006, though the project only lasted for a few short years. Smutty encyclopedia fans can at least turn to Boobpedia but as the name suggests, the site's focus is fairly softcore.

Fuckbook/Facebook of Sex

Yes, Facebook has porn clones: both the slightly-cleverly named Fuckbook, and the more trademark-violating Facebook of Sex. Alas, neither of these are actually anything like Facebook. They're just run of the mill adult dating sites (which, if they're anything like their competitors, are more likely to just take your money than actually get you laid).

Booble/SexyGoogle

Screengrab: sexygoogle.com

Sure, plenty of people already use Google to find porn, but what if Google could be… sexier? Booble is pitched as a search engine specifically for porn (in case you don't know how to sort through the rare not-porn result you get when searching for porn on Google), which would be great if the search engine weren't totally broken.

And then there's SexyGoogle, which is literally just regular Google, but with a picture of a girl in lingerie.

CumFundMe

Personal fundraising site GoFundMe is notoriously unfriendly to sex workers, so it's no surprise that someone got the idea to do a porn-friendly clone. CumFundMe launched to adult industry cheers last May, but the excitement was short lived. In mid-November 2015, the site's Twitter account announced that it'd be down for a week to change layout and add new features, which quickly changed to a few weeks, and then a few months, as CumFundMe ran into issues with payment processors. As of this writing the site's still down, although in mid-February the team announced that they'd be back online soon.

PinSex/Pornterest/Snatchly/Sinterest/Pornstagram

Pinterest has spawned at least five knockoffs that I know of, all of which hoped to make the female-driven pinboard concept more appealing to men through the addition of tits and boning.

Alas, none of the sites have gotten all that much traction. PinSex and Pornterest no longer exist, and—despite getting some hype in the press—the Snatchly domain now points to Sex.com. Sinterest's site states that it still hasn't launched yet.

Only Pornstagram seems to actually be active. That is, if a site where most posts get zero likes and zero comments can really be counted as "active." (Also, yes, it's very weird that Pornstagram is a Pinterest clone rather than an Instagram clone, and also that they haven't been sued for trademark violation by Instagram, which forced the site formerly known as Pornostagram to change its name to Uplust.)

FyreTV

In true startup fashion, FyreTV's already pivoted once. Initially an IPTV box exclusively dedicated to porn (think Roku XXX), the company switched strategies a few years ago, rebranding as a streaming porn subscription service available on Roku, Boxee, Google TV (now Android TV), and the web.

Just in case you haven't figured out which strategy the company is mimicking, the site explicitly notes that "FyreTV is the Netflix of Porn." It's doubtful FyreTV is anywhere near as successful or popular as Netflix, but so far the company's still afloat. Which, sadly, is enough to put it way, way ahead of most of its peers in the XXX knockoff game.

Offbeatr

Screengrab: offbeatr.com

Conceived as a Kickstarter for porn projects, Offbeatr was troubled from the start, its launch hampered by the difficulty of finding a payment processor that would process payments for an adult site using the then-novel crowdfunding payment structure.

Once the team managed to secure a merchant account and get off the ground, they faced new troubles: Most of the projects didn't actually do so well. Some blamed this on the site's multi-tiered funding process, which created added barriers to success—before raising funds, project creators first had to secure a significant number of non-binding votes from fans.

Offbeatr eventually found limited success as a funding platform for the furry community's erotic artists, but alas, even that wasn't enough. Earlier this year, the site's team announced that they'd be shutting down indefinitely due to "changes in corporate structure"—though since IndieGoGo has become friendlier to all sorts of adult projects, the loss wasn't all that significant for pornographers.

Fucking startups, right?