Incredibly detailed technical guide to camgirling is a mix of advanced retail psychology and advice on performing emotional labor

Aella was a top-earning, top-ranked camgirl who performed sex shows over the internet for money, using the popular Myfreecams platform; she quit a year ago, and has written an incredibly detailed, soup-to-nuts primer on getting started camgirling, though she warns that some of her advice is out of date.

There's remarkably little here about production values (though she does have intriguing advice on decor and lighting), an not a ton about the way the platforms work.

Instead, the meat of Aella's advice sits at the intersection of publicity tips, retail psychology (for example, how to use the Street Performer Protocol to entice spending); gender theory (men who patronize camgirls want to win competitions for women's attention, harbor a perverse antagonism to the women they patronize, and pay more when the camgirl fronts a kind of displeased persona that they have to crack with tips and flattery); and then a whole whack of material on emotional labor and dealing with the price that labor extracts from the performer, which is exacerbated by features of the platform, like ranking systems that punish performers who have a bad day, reducing their visibility to men in the future, making future days worse, in a death-spiral that quickly erodes the performer's earnings.

Aella's piece is a real snapshot of this moment: she talks at length about the "whales" -- rich men who pay orders of magnitude more than typical customers -- and how getting a couple of these into your customer base can be game-changing, and how some women text and call these whales when they're off-camera, just to keep them happy. The mechanics deployed by the camming platforms are straight out of the Uber gig-economy playbook, and the process of having your appearance and sexual attractiveness quantified and ranked is both a powerful motivator and emotionally terrifying.

It's a superb read: she's a great writer and extremely insightful about the trade. There's only one quibble I have with the piece, which is that she pretty blithely asserts that the platforms will not lose control of the extensive data they gather on the performers ("You’re going to have to provide your real name, social security number, and a photo of an ID, at the very least...I’ve never heard of any security issues resulting from this, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it."). This is just wrong. If Marriott, Equifax and the NSA can't control their data, neither can Myfreecams or its competitors.

Girlfriending is the act of providing emotional support to members off-cam.

I was not a girlfriend. I ignored my members off-cam. My work day ended when I turned off the camera. This was great for my mental health, but I had difficulty catching any hyper-loyal whales.

Some of my camgirl friends Girlfriended hard. They’d text their high tippers throughout the day, send them photos or occasionally free porny videos of themselves, and sometimes even have phone calls. They knew about their high-tippers lives, and the high tippers would send them gifts. All of these things were done for free, to create an ongoing relationship very slightly divorced from the direct tip-n-flash model of actual camming.

If you have the mental bandwidth to do this, I recommend it. This is what can boost you from an average earner to a top earner with less total stress (I had to compensate for my lack of Girlfriending by spending more hours on cam).

Keep a list of the people who’ve tipped you the most in the last month (some sites automate this for you), and send them thank-you messages, cute exclusive photos you haven’t posted anywhere else, whatever. It keeps them remembering you and makes them feel special.

If you are brand new and don’t have any tippers, do this with the people who chat in your room.

Maximizing Your Slut Impact: An Overly Analytical Guide to Camgirling [Aella/Knowingless]

(via Marginal Revolution)

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