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The camera captured Ringley doing almost everything – brushing her teeth, doing her laundry, doing stripteases – and then broadcast its images live over the Internet.

However Amanda made an important early discovery that would influence the camming industry for decades to come – that a website's popularity could be greatly increased by enabling viewers to chat with a performer while online.

When webcam models create their live webcasts, they perform the activity known as camming.

A third-party hosting website which transmits multiple webcam models' video-streams is known as a camming site.

Since the early days of live webcasts by Ringley and Amanda, the phenomenon of camming has grown to become a multibillion-dollar industry which has an average of at least 12,500 cam models online at any given time and more than 240,000 viewers at any given time.

Camming websites typically fall into two main categories, dependent upon whether their video chat rooms are free or private.

The website provides the transactional platform, and then collects and distributes a percentage of the tips to the models.

The decentralized business model of camming has upended the pornography industry in multiple ways.Enabled with this new revenue stream for strippers, the strip club industry went through a period of extreme growth during the 1980s.And in the early 20th century sociologist Paul Cressey noted that within the hundreds of taxi-dance halls of America, "the traffic in romance and in feminine society" would become available when taxi dancers would offer their companionship and "the illusion of romance" for ten cents a dance.However this is not the first time that conversational interaction had become a boon for the erotic entertainment industry.The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre strip club is credited with the invention of the lap dance when during 1977 their new stage, New York Live, pioneered customer-contact shows with strippers that came off the stage and sat in the laps of customers for tips.A webcam model often performs erotic acts online, such as stripping, in exchange for money, goods, or attention. Since many webcam models operate from their homes, they are free to choose the amount of sexual content for their broadcasts.In 1996 an American college student and conceptual artist, Jenny Ringley, created a website called "Jenni Cam." Her web camera was located in her dorm room and automatically photographed her every few minutes.The girls don’t need anybody." Once viewed as a small niche in the world of adult entertainment, camming today has become "the engine of the porn industry", according to Alec Helmy, the publisher of XBIZ, a sex-trade industry journal. Theresa Senft herself became a camgirl for a year while doing four years of research for her 2008 book entitled, Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks.Senft has described herself as "the first academic camgirl" while becoming a “camgirl writing about camgirls.”"The men I meet online rarely fall into the category of anonymous asses who have abandoned all social etiquette, nor do they resemble the pasty, calculator-wristwatch-wearing forebears of chat rooms past.In private chat rooms, viewers pay by the minute for a private show.However, in free chat rooms payment is voluntary and is in the form of tips, thus providing the model with an income at a minimal cost for the multiple viewers of her chat room's video stream.