Typically the telephone companies would bill callers to chat lines and then remit 45% of the money collected to chat line operators.
The telephone companies placed the chat line charges on a customers local phone bill.
The incentives for providers were then reversed; rather than earning money from keeping the customer on the line (orgasm delayed), they earned more from bringing the caller to orgasm quickly, so as to move on rapidly to another call.
Unused minutes were rarely usable on a second call.
All have some way for a provider to post a picture and some text.
Big platforms as of 2016 are Niteflirt, Talkto Me, and My Phone Site; the latter also includes provision by which a manager, with the consent of the providers, could have a virtual shop with many providers under them. Customers had a variety of payment options, and pages of providers to choose from, sometimes with voice samples available.
In concept they have a lot in common with platforms such as Ebay: the seller provides the picture(s), description, and sets the price, a percentage of which is kept by the platform.
In the sex industry, similar platforms emerged facilitating the selling of used panties and other odoriferous garments, and for "cam" video sessions, in which the customer, for a fee, can direct the woman on the video screen, and for a higher fee, have a private connection (no one can see caller or provider except each other).
Nevertheless, phone sex should not be confused with prostitution wherein money is exchanged for real life sexual services or physical interaction.
The editor of High Society magazine, Gloria Leonard, is credited with being one of the first people to use "976 numbers", then "900 numbers" for promotional purposes and soon as a revenue stream in the adult industry.
Originally, per-minute billing was provided by phone companies (in the U. There was, from some services, an attempt to keep the caller aroused but short of orgasm, so he would spend more money.