The tokens can also be used to buy videos or souvenirs of the model.
The websites provide the transactional platform, and then collects and distributes a percentage of the tips to the models.
Additionally, the pornographic film industry used to be male-dominated except for the performers.
But since camming only requires a video camera, broadband service, and computer, there has now been a power reversal and it is the female webcam performers who propel the industry while at home.
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 camera captured Ringley doing almost everything – brushing her teeth, doing her laundry, doing stripteases – and then she broadcast it live over the Internet.
Similar camming sites such as Chaturbate, Cam4and My Free boast 4.1 million, 3.7 million and 2 million unique monthly visitors, respectively.
The decentralized business model of camming has upended the pornography industry in multiple ways.
Camming revenue has been severely cutting into the profits of the pornographic movie business, which has also been eroded for a number of years due to piracy and the distribution of free sexual content upon 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.
Since the early days of live Internet broadcasts 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.