With the right tools and an ID that says they're 18 or older, these 21st-century push-button celebrities don't even have to leave their bedrooms to make a living, and they all have one woman to thank.

When Jennifer Ringley picked up a webcam at her college book store in 1996, she had no way of knowing she'd serve as the catalyst for an industry that's been estimated to pull in more than

With the right tools and an ID that says they're 18 or older, these 21st-century push-button celebrities don't even have to leave their bedrooms to make a living, and they all have one woman to thank.When Jennifer Ringley picked up a webcam at her college book store in 1996, she had no way of knowing she'd serve as the catalyst for an industry that's been estimated to pull in more than $1 billion in revenue annually.

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With the right tools and an ID that says they're 18 or older, these 21st-century push-button celebrities don't even have to leave their bedrooms to make a living, and they all have one woman to thank.

When Jennifer Ringley picked up a webcam at her college book store in 1996, she had no way of knowing she'd serve as the catalyst for an industry that's been estimated to pull in more than $1 billion in revenue annually.

Signing up for services like My Free Cams, Flirt4Free, or Chaturbate, which are essentially platforms like Facebook or Snapchat, is simple.

billion in revenue annually.

Signing up for services like My Free Cams, Flirt4Free, or Chaturbate, which are essentially platforms like Facebook or Snapchat, is simple.

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I've just realized that, yeah, like, probably it's my best friend right now. Lotts' computer isn't just her best friend -- it's her main revenue generator and her connection, not only to her fans but also to the outside world.

Lotts is a social media star in the truest sense of the word.

She would become something of an internet phenomenon, a precursor to the unvarnished You Tube, Snapchat and Instagram celebrities of today.

She appeared in profiles for major media organizations and eventually made a much-cited appearance on David Letterman's show.

The date/time on the image and movies shows local Davis time.

Harli Lotts (not her real name) knows her audience better than just about anyone I've ever met in online media.

The big social networks have put their money on live video but anyone working in the adult cam industry could have told you: It's been a safe bet for years.

Kelly Holland, owner and CEO of Penthouse, says beyond driving profits, the adult entertainment industry and social networks are serving the same basic need."Cams are the adult industry's response to Facebook, frankly," Holland says. It became what it was, I would tell you, not through Zuckerberg's brilliance, but because it was just the right thing at the right time.

Just two years earlier, Connectix, a small peripheral maker released the Quick Cam, a digital camera that sat on top of your Apple's Macintosh and delivered 320-x-240 black-and-white images at 15 frames per second for 0.