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.
Todd Blatt, who once produced pornographic movies in California and has several Ferraris to show for it, declared: "If you’re the middle guy who has been eating off this industry for 20 years, it’s a big change.
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.
In private chat rooms, viewers pay by the minute for a private show.
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.
The term webcam is a clipped compound used to combine the terms video camera and World Wide Web.
When webcam models create their live Internet broadcasts, they perform the activity known as camming.