Cybersex Sells

Meet The New Online Sex Entrepreneurs

Seth Warshavsky seems like such a nice young man. Danni Ashe looks like the girl next door. So what are these two doing running pornography Web sites? They're making a fortune. CBS News 48 Hours Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.

Only 31 years old, Ashe has struck it rich on the Internet as the creator of her own adult Web site: Danni's Hard Drive. At 15, Seth Warshavsky, the brains behind clublove.com, is younger and even richer.

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Last year, as president of the Internet Entertainment Group, or IEG, Seth took home $7 million.

Says Seth, "The company's doing very well. We're doing $50 million in revenues and we're turning a strong profit on it."

What's more, Seth and Danni are making the money when other Internet companies, even giants like Amazon.com, have yet to turn a profit.

The reason? Sex sells. Seth has been called the Porn King of the Internet. "I'm really comfortable with what we distribute," says Seth. "I think it's okay. I'm a successful business person."

Danni Ashe is doing well, too. "You know, I always knew that I was going to be successful but I'm not sure I imagined it to be quite like this," she says.

She has a 52-foot luxury boat, which she shares with her husband, Burt. "If you follow your bliss, everything else will turn out alright," Danni say.

Not bad for a former stripper and model who used to make her living on the road, appearing in bars -- and sometimes behind them. After she was arrested at a club in Jacksonville, Florida, she quit working as a dancer.

At that point, she decided to create a Web site. She built it herself. Says Danni: "It's based on a fan club concept.. It's not just the glossy spread-legged woman, it's the person behind that picture."

It went live in July, 1995. Literally within hours, her Web page had 70,000 hits from interested customers. Four years later, the site has 26,000 subscribers, each paying $20 a month for the privilege of being in the club. That's more than $500,000 a month.

And Danni has gone from the back pages of Juggs magazine to the front page of the The Wall Street Journal.

In Seattle, Seth started along his path as a teenager, running a profitable phone sex operation. He wasn't yet old enough to call the lines himself. He was making $4,000 a day, he says.

But he realized that with the Internet, he could do much, much better. He has created a multitude of Web sites, all of which sell something: home loans, Viagra, and especially, sex.

At his main site, he hawks interactive sex. Subscribers can watch nude men and women cavorting in a number of environments: a locker room, a shower, a bedroom, even a dungeon.

With thmiracle of the interactive Web, other subscribers can go further, giving their "partners" directions about what to do and how to do it.

What kind of guy pays $25 a month for a virtual sex life? "My girlfriend is very conservative," says one customer, an attorney who logs on four or five times a week. "Barbi [his "partner"] would do anything I ask her to, almost. The Internet is anonymity. That's why we do it. It's complete anonymity. "

Seth's focus on making money has led to some disputes about privacy. When he marketed a videotape of rock star Bret Michaels cavorting with a well-known actress, Michaels fought back. He says he's already spent $250,000 in legal fees.

Seth also aired the infamous home video of actress Pamela Anderson and her then-husband, rocker Tommy Lee. The tape made him millions.

He published nude photos of radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who also fought to keep the pictures private. Says Seth: "I think her audience definitely should and has a right to see, you know, how she would handle this and how she did handle this." He admits, though, that money is his main concern. He is, he says, completely comfortable with his business, and his decisions.

Unlike Seth, Danni draws a line. No hardcore pictures, and no pictures without consent.

But for both of these cybersex entrepreneurs, life is very sweet.