Adult Friend Finder: paedophiles are just one click away

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Pornography on the Internet has many faces. We all know that it always was and always will be one of the most popular topic areas and most of us will have to admit that we at least played with the idea to find out what is out there.

But there is one topic we usually don’t talk about and pretend it does not exist – child pornography. Single Parent Gossip author and child safety expert Pat McKenna has discovered disturbing information that provides evidence that the dangers of child porn and paedophiles may be much closer to single parents than you think.   

This article outlines the serious nature of a threat to the safety of millions of users of the world’s most popular adult personals site Adult Friend Finder (AFF), which is advertised on countless sites that are flooded with imagery depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, links to child pornography and paedophiles.

Websites carrying AFF ad banners act as so-called affiliate marketers routing traffic to AFF. They are paid by AFF on a per-click basis suggesting that there is a financial incentive for marketers to place AFF ads wherever possible. AFF pays for that traffic, which means that the service is aware of its origin and the identity of the marketer in order to maintain accounting.

Since AFF is a social network specializing in adult personal ads, it is reckless and endangering to be part of a scenario where its subscribers, which include many single parents, are placed in close proximity to paedophiles and criminals that run sites containing illegal child content.

Weigh risks and benefits
If you are looking for contacts on Adult Friend Finder, you may want to weigh risks and benefits. You may want to rethink whether you really want to keep your images and contact information on this site.

There are millions of people across the world advertising their availability for sex, relationships and other things through the world’s largest adult personals site. The site is highly commercial, constantly seeking to extract a subscription from its patrons. It has many facilities that allow likeminded adults to seek companionship including personal ads with text and images (very often sexual), exchange email, engage in chat rooms or through instant messaging. It also has a very powerful search engine that allows its users to fine tune their search criteria in seeking out other members.

FriendFinder Networks (FFN), which owns AFF and other significant brands, is going public with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that expected by the end of this year.  As part of that exercise, the company has declared their financial performance to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is currently in a quiet cooling off period prior to going public.

Through its financial dealings and acquisitions, FFN has have accrued significant debt and many commentators indicate that the IPO will help FFN raise much needed cash to service its debt commitments.

200,000 affiliates
For the first six months of 2009, AFF had about one million paying customers from where it got 79 percent of its income. It also has over 200,000 participants in its marketing affiliate program from which it derives a significant number of new subscribers. Within nine months AFF made $46.4 million in payments to those marketers.

Marketing affiliates are companies that operate websites that market AFF services on their websites. They direct visitor traffic to AFF by using scripted banner ads and popup screens on which a user clicks.  AFF provides a technology platform for 10,000s of its affiliates which is designed to have the look and feel of the affiliates own site including logos etc, but it is actually hosted by AFF.

AFF also has a significant search engine marketing spend in the region of about $50 million a year. This means that its combined affiliate and search engine marketing spend each year is about $100 million.

Anyone can sign up to be an affiliate of AFF. Upon signing up and establishing the affiliate option, the affiliate is provided with a banner advertisement script that is embedded into the web page allowing AFF to track clicks from individual web sites and make payment for the traffic as part of the contract agreement.

However with great success in marketing comes great responsibility and the fact that the numbers of affiliates are huge does not to mitigate that responsibility, especially if criminals are put in close proximity to single parents with children.

For the full story, click on over to Single Parent Gossip.