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In the aftermath, many performers had no choice except to go independent and into web cam work, said Stephen Yagielowicz, of the adult-industry trade magazine XBiz.
"Performers had to learn to rely on themselves, " Yagielowicz said. Camming was the perfect vehicle." And with that came the rise of websites such as You Porn and Pornhub, which generally earn money from advertising while letting people watch X-rated video clips for free.
But the same economic downtown that shrank the 401Ks of America's office workers a decade ago also gutted large porn production companies.
At just 20 years old, Kandie Monaee earns good money, works a few days a week from home and even gets gifts mailed to her by adoring clients.
She is a success in a Florida industry that is consistently on the cutting edge of technology, generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and aspires to move into the mainstream. Her on-line sessions run up to six hours, mixing small talk and teasing with sex acts.
Hundreds of viewers log onto a free website called Chaturbate and type her messages, awarding her virtual "tokens" as tips that she redeems for money.
On a good day, Monaee — a Tampa mother of one who wanted to be identified only by her web cam name — says she will pull in about 0.
"So with my long blonde hair I look like a fetish-dressed Barbie doll, and my visitors love it." Other performers work at large professional studios that rent space — there is one in West Miami-Dade, and even one in the heart of Los Angeles' Hollywood district, billed as the world's largest cam studio. "There's a lot of lonely people out there and camming provides a safe outlet for them to be able to interact," said Yagielowicz of XBiz.