Web porn for peace (and other good causes)

The masterminds behind Come4.org would like to see the viewing of online porn become a moneymaker for social causes.

Come4.org

What if every time someone watched online porn, God didn't kill a kitten but instead donated money to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?

That's more or less the idea behind Come4.org (though the co-founders' concerns range far beyond just kittens). Come4 is a would-be free, nonprofit, crowd-sourced porn site that's trying to get off the ground with the help of Kickstarter-like funding site Ulule. Come4 would link porn videos to specific social causes, channeling money to a cause whenever someone watched a clip.

"We are aware that around the world, many people suffer because they lack the resources necessary for food, water, medicine, and housing. At the same time, we have noted the exponential growth of online pornography," co-founders Marco Annoni and Riccardo Zilli say in their amusing (and OK for work) pitch video (embedded below). "Hence, we devised Come4, our way to rethink pornography with ethics and to launch a new sexual revolution in the Internet era."

The way it would work, according to Annoni and Zilli, is that users would set up an account and could then watch and/or post videos, each of which would be associated with a social cause chosen by the uploader from a selection on the site. A pot of money would come from professional porn purveyors, who could upload sponsored videos, buy ad space at the end of other videos, or shell out for traditional banner ads and the like. All the proceeds, the co-founders say, would get transferred to the cause.

It's not the first time someone has thought to turn voyeurism into altruism. "Ecoporn" site F*** For Forest, for example, has for some time been posting hippie-ish sex videos and telling potential viewers, "If you wish to get member access to watch us, you need to donate money for our ecological work, or join us as an erotic activist." And individual porn performers have made such efforts too, including one whose Karma Pervs site has looked to raise money for the San Francisco Bay Area's Sex Workers Outreach Project. Come4, however, seems to be geared toward a broader potential viewership.

Annoni and Zilli seem also to want to transform and destigmatize porn itself. Come4's Project page speaks of a "positive, secular, liberal and pluralistic ideal of human sexuality" and promises that "any inappropriate content involving violence or physical harm will be immediately removed and reported." And the site's FAQ page tackles such questions as "Is pornography intrinsically bad?" and "Is funding charity with pornography morally problematic in the same way as it would be to fund charity with, say, the profits from drugs or weapons?" (On the Ulule page, Annoni is said to have a Ph.D in philosophy and Zilli a masters in urban architecture.) The duo also says "all Come4 cash flow will always be absolutely transparent."

Would charities accept money from such a source? That's another question Annoni and Zilli address in their FAQ. They say some will and some won't, and as an example of the former, they point to the first organization that's signed on, the U.K.'s Asta Philpot Foundation, which Annoni and Zilli note is dedicated to enhancing "public awareness of the sexual rights of people with disabilities."

(Philpot was born with a congenital disorder called Arthrogryposis, which can affect the development of the limbs and one's ability to move. He was the focus of a BBC One documentary that recorded his journey, along with two other disabled men, to a legal Spanish brothel, where they could satisfy sexual needs they might not have been able to satisfy otherwise.)

As for future causes, Annoni and Zilli have this to say in their FAQ:

Our current idea...is that ideally Come4 ought to integrate or mix three diverse stances when it comes to the selection of the fundable causes: (a) culturally provocative initiatives that raise public awareness about people's sexual rights (and their violations), like the ones promoted by the Asta Philpot Foundation; (b) highly cost-effective initiatives selected according to the best standard of evidence, like supporting the "Against Malaria Foundation," as suggested by independent, third-party organizations like GiveWell ; (c) causes that people belonging to the Come4 community think are valuable and thus deserve our support and fundings.

The Come4 Ulule page, which contains some mildly explicit imagery, is here. The Come4 site, again mildly explicit, is here. And here's Annoni and Zilli's pitch video, which is innocuous and quite entertaining:

(Hat tip to Jolie O'Dell at Venture Beat.)

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Want affordable gadgets for your student?

Everyday finds that will make students' lives easier: chargers, cables, headphones, and even a bona fide gadget or two!