Special Report: Your Guide to Age Verification Issues and Solutions

Special Report: Your Guide to Age Verification Issues and Solutions
Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — The state of online age verification today is a fluid landscape, with countless companies affected by a growing range of new regulations and changes in corporate policies that seek to mandate the collection of consumer age and identity information as a prerequisite for accessing age-restricted content over the internet.

Although the U.K. is at the forefront of these initiatives, many other countries are closely following how this democratic nation imposes stricter internet regulations, making Britain’s efforts a model for those to come — and for the industry to monitor carefully.

Given that mandatory age verification (AV) is one of 2018’s most volatile issues for adult entertainment, XBIZ wanted to drill deeper into the challenges and opportunities presented by it, and as such, sought out the opinions of industry leaders and service providers to discover what is on their radar in regards to the latest legislation, including their expectations regarding widespread AV mandates in other countries as well as current challenges in implementing AV for adult sites and more.

Tim Henning, executive director of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), points out the giant elephant in the room — the U.K.’s Digital Economy Act — which is scheduled to begin enforcement in May of 2018.

An approved age verification system is required to be in place for all U.K. traffic to pornographic content,” Henning explains. “The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has been appointed as the U.K. government regulator and has a wide range of methods at its disposal to enforce this legislation upon any website foreign or domestic that does not fully comply with the Digital Economy Act. These include fines, loss of merchant accounts, U.K. ISP blocking of non-compliant websites and possible de-listing in search engines such as Google.”

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) executive director Eric Paul Leue told XBIZ that with the Digital Economy Act in the U.K., we’re likely to see similar regulation elsewhere, including in Israel and the U.S., noting, “it’s also possible that countries with blanket bans on adult material already might be more willing to address an interim solution if it’s available.”

“Everyone’s political system is different, and every administration’s political valence is different. There are plenty of more conservative governments who aren’t interested in having citizen access to information about sexuality, or LGBTQ rights, let alone adult entertainment,” Leue says. “We’re not sure what we’ll see. We’re concerned about possible privacy violations, anti-competitiveness for smaller producers and the censorship of social networks. There are concerns that this could be used for a broader crackdown. We’ll be watching.”

Despite the child protection benefits of AV, legitimate opposition to its mandate can indeed focus on issues of privacy, as well as unfair competition from sites that flaunt the rules without facing any penalty — perceptual hurdles that need to be addressed regardless of the imposition of a legal duty to abide.

Henning explains, “Firstly, no one wants to implement AV then lose traffic to sites that do not comply with AV regulations. Secondly, the challenge is to implement AV in a way that has as small an effect on the customer journey as is possible. The solutions currently being offered are all very easy to implement. There is little in the way of a technological challenge for website operators to comply.”

Henning says it is inevitable that age verification will become more widespread over time simply due to advances in technologies and more widespread use of biometrics in end-user devices.

“What was once very difficult is now becoming increasingly easy with regards to age and identity verification online. How long this will take to happen depends on many factors not the least of which is how successful the U.K. effort ends up being,” Henning told XBIZ. “There is a will by several countries to follow the lead of the U.K. but they are all currently taking a wait and see approach in that they are observing how this plays out in the U.K., and I am aware of similar legislation being prepared in other countries, including the U.S.”

Henning points to increased pressure on politicians around the world to do more to protect children from accessing age-restricted content.

“This is coming from many fronts including child protection groups, religious organizations, conservative non-profits, and academia,” Henning says. “There is now a growing body of evidence coming from academia that this exposure, whether inadvertent or sought out by youth, especially in younger age groups, has a negative impact on their mental and social development.”

Henning also cites the uncertainty over the proposed mandates, explaining that not everything has been decided yet within relevant U.K. government bodies with regards to implementation and enforcement of the new Act.

“There are still several key decisions to be made which are quite important with regards to how this all plays out. One of these is the level of accuracy regarding age verification. The definition of pornographic content still needs clarifying and website operators need to be given clearer guidance on what they can show before age verification is required,” Henning adds. “Privacy of the end user is also paramount in order for this to succeed. The U.K. legislation requires that no records be stored regarding the identity of the end user and we all have to ensure that this ends up being the case in practice.”

Noting the situation is complicated because the stakes are incredibly high, with the potential for flat-out bans and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for violators, Leue laments, “So far, there’s been little information as to how this will actually work, so it’s crucial that we get people talking now, as implementation is just months away. We don’t want minors looking at adult material, but we have to be sensitive to the ways in which data is collected. The U.K. has worked directly with adult producers to try and find solutions, and we hope that any issues will be resolved quickly. We don’t know if we’ll see that everywhere.”

AVyourself CEO Warren Russell told XBIZ other countries are indeed watching, likely waiting for the U.K. to make the inevitable mistakes and iron out the wrinkles before adopting similar approaches.

“Ultimately for any industry to succeed with a diverse consumer choice there needs to be a level playing field,” Russell explains. “This can only be achieved with matching cross-border legislation.”

Russell foresees no problems once the regulator (BBFC) outlines what is and is not acceptable, noting that AVyourself’s parent brand, W2 Global Data, has provided age and identity verification products for many years across many market sectors, with implementation possible in a matter of hours.

“I appreciate that this is brand new to the adult industry but there is nothing to fear,” Russell reveals, noting providers like AVyourself bring skillsets, working practices and innovation from other sectors (such as gambling, finance, etc.) and are in no way new to AV, ID verification, know your customer (KYC), anti-money laundering, etc. “AV is not (necessarily) ID verification — anonymity can be maintained, providing security and comfort to consumers.”

When looking out to the year ahead and beyond, Leue underscores the industry’s need to fight for its rights if it wants to survive.

“No one in the industry wants to have underage viewers, but neither do we want to expose our visitors’ private information, or risk bans,” Leue explains. “We’re going to have to speak up at every turn, be knowledgeable about the issue, and make our voices heard. The U.K. is, in many ways, a test case and a template for future age verification, at home and abroad. I want our members to be heavily involved from Day One.”

For his part, Russell emphasizes that adult merchants are not the beginning and end-all of this legislation.

“Other sectors are already being discussed in the U.K. such as online knife retailers, e-cigarettes, alcohol, legal highs, cannabis, movies and computer games,” Russell explains. “Unfortunately for [the adult] sector, the element of ‘taboo’ still makes it a headline grabber and vote winner for any government to be the one which stops children accessing porn.”

Russell says adult is an easy target that regulators can use to blueprint their strategies for other sectors.

“Adult is just the first of many, and it is coming — nothing can stop it — therefore [merchants] should react and roll with it,” Russell adds. “Compliance in any sector can be seen as a block to market, but by choosing the right provider and working closely with them and learning from the experience they have elsewhere, you can actually make it a road to market.”

Henning echoes the need for adult merchants to be abreast of the latest information regarding AV:

“Stay informed and stay vigilant. Contact solution providers now and ask questions. Set up demonstrations. Ensure they keep you informed,” Henning concludes. “I would encourage the industry not to wait until the last minute to implement one or more of these solutions — start doing your homework now if you have not done so already.”

To aid readers in their research, XBIZ canvassed today’s leading age verification solution providers, to see where the current state of the market is and what digital merchants should know before choosing a solution that’s right for their specific needs…

AV ‘Buyers Guide’ 2018: A Spotlight on Select Solutions

With a firm understanding of the challenges, issues and opportunities surrounding online age verification today, XBIZ sought the expertise of several service providers currently bringing AV solutions to market, for insights into how these services address AV; the technology that these various approaches rely on; the cost to site owners and consumers; the functional and technical requirements for integrating their AV gateway with a typical adult-oriented website; and more.

AgeChecked
AgeChecked CEO Alastair Graham told XBIZ the company offers both a site plugin as well as an API for an easy to use solution — a service that sits within a site — that delivers frictionless, age verification for U.K. visitors using methods designed to be compliant with the U.K. specifications the BBFC will be publishing.

“The system is very flexible, so the site operator can offer a number of different verification methods to their customer to choose from [such as] using payment cards, mobile phones, driving licenses or passports,” Graham explains. “Most importantly, the technology allows a customer to verify once, and then use that verification many times, over many sites, by simply logging in with their credentials, which dramatically reduces customer friction and cost.”

Graham says AgeChecked does not charge any fees to the consumer for its service.

“We believe this will be a large barrier to entry for U.K. consumers, so we prefer to charge the site owner a service fee that can be redeemed from site revenue,” Graham explains. “The service fee is based on the volume of U.K. traffic and the number of verification methods the site operator wishes to utilize. The basic verification package is extremely cost effective — we guarantee that we will not be beaten on price.”

Graham notes that AgeChecked is an experienced AV company, serving customers in Europe and the U.S. across a number of sectors.

“Our services can be used quite flexibly, so the existing customer journey on a site need not be adversely affected by the U.K.’s new verification requirements,” Graham concludes. “Frictionless AV is the key to a successful solution; this is something we have a lot of experience with.”

AgeID
A product of parent company MindGeek, AgeID is an authentication platform and aggregator of age verification solutions designed to simplify the age verification process for an optimal online experience for customers and merchant piece of mind. The platform focuses on maximizing choice, privacy, and security, along with providing seamlessness for consumers and compliance for merchants.

“AgeID offers a full suite of age verification solutions from several leading suppliers. This ensures customers can select the verification process that is most appropriate for their needs, and gives merchants of all sizes, confidence that no adult visitors are left unable to verify,” Catherine Dunn, MindGeek vice president of global communications, explains. “AgeID is uniquely built on the principles of privacy by design and data minimization. AgeID does not store personal data input during the age verification process. It simply receives a yes/no (pass/fail) state back from the age verifier. The login credentials used for AgeID are encrypted, one-way hashed and then stored. This ensures that they are not revealed, nor reverse-engineerable in the unlikely event of a hack.

“Customer convenience is key. AgeID offers a seamless experience for customers to enjoy browsing from site to site without the interruption to continually age verify or be prompted to login at each click. Getting this aspect right has been critical in maintaining traffic flows between sites, advertisers, and affiliates,” Dunn adds. “Our office in the U.K. is leading AgeID, ensuring any changes in the law or regulations are immediately addressed within the software. Compliance with all relevant laws is paramount, adhering not just to the Digital Economy Act, but others including the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulations from the EU.

“Traffic is incredibly important to the entire online adult industry, and we, therefore, take the view that consumers should not be charged. Even a small fee is likely to result in a drop in age verifications, and therefore traffic,” Dunn told XBIZ. “Site owners will pay a flat monthly fee based on an estimate of their U.K. traffic using an independent traffic calculation site such as Alexa.com. AgeID is therefore charged on a sliding scale, ensuring it’s affordable for sites of all sizes.”

Dunn says the AgeID integration process requires minimal effort, so merchants can focus on their business and get authorized customers to their sites efficiently.

“A very simple code snippet is all that is required to ensure site owners retain absolute control of their website, deciding when to invoke AgeID, and on what basis,” Dunn explains. “Merchants will also need to create an SFW landing page, or invoke AgeID before any pornographic material is displayed, [and] we also give support to site owners to aid integration as required.

“AgeID has been in development for two years, continually evolving on pace with the law and regulations, whilst refining the methods and technology involved,” Dunn concludes. “AgeID is not a solution aimed at profit, but at maintaining existing traffic across all sites who use it. A fast, secure, private solution to take the headache of age verification.”

AVSecure
Recently scoring a deal with leading hosting company MojoHost to offer its solution to the company’s clients, AVSecure chief marketing officer Stephen Winyard told XBIZ that AVSecure has been designed and developed to be the leading age verification solution for the adult industry, allowing compliance with the U.K.’s Digital Economy Act through a truly federated system so that once verified, users will be able to access with ease any site utilizing AVSecure technology.

Winyard says the sensitivity of the subject material makes disclosure of personal information by consumers a huge issue, compelling AVSecure to focus on optimal preservation of consumer privacy and regulatory compliance for the adult content sector with a minimal user experience footprint.

“Our initial approach has been to understand the scope of the Act and its requirements,” Winyard explains. “It does not demand that adult content providers collect detailed personal information from their clients. Its intention is purely that users accessing adult content are over 18.”

To ensure this, AVSecure adopts a two-stage process via an age-attribution market requiring minimal data (AVSecure) and trusted age attestation providers (AVSecure identity partners).

“This distinction is critical. Consumer data collection is minimized and where possible, is separated from viewing habits to reduce the risk of re-identification,” Winyard says. “In addition, offering multiple approved methods of verification enables us to make sure consumers have a choice. In particular, for those either unable or unwilling to enter any personal information for verification, we have an exclusive ‘Age Verification Card.’”

The Age Verification Card will be available for purchase at 30,000 retail stores across the U.K. and allows face-to-face age verification to be completed at the point of sale. The card bears a unique number that can be entered at the AVSecure portal as proof of age, allowing users to verify their age without supplementary documentation.

“This adds significant advantages for protecting consumer privacy and identity,” Winyard says, “and enables site operators to offer the most comprehensive choice for all their users.”

Winyard points to AVSecure’s foundation on blockchain technology and the associated security that comes with its encryption processes.

“AVSecure enables the consumer to manage access on their local devices, not on an unrelated remote network. The consumer’s browser becomes the central point in the process, not the servers or networks of content providers or identity providers,” Winyard explains. “The system has been developed to optimize protection of consumer anonymity, while at the same time satisfying the compliance requirements of age verification. The data protection techniques used are cutting-edge and industry-leading, thereby reducing additional risks to consumer privacy to a minimum.”

A variety of age-authentication checks are offered to consumers via trusted third-parties who then validate them.

“AVSecure’s software creates an anonymous ‘root’ access account for each cleared individual. This is then used to generate one-off use tokens when consumers visit websites in the future,” Winyard says. “These one-off use tokens are passed to the website providers, but ensure that the consumers leave no traceable identity information.”

AVSecure enjoys at least one significant advantage in the marketplace: it is currently free to use for both merchants and consumers.

“There is no charge or fee for installing or using AVSecure as a service. There is no charge for a variety of our verification methods,” Winyard told XBIZ, noting, “Mobile phone, credit and debit card, electoral and address data, PayPal and government-based ID documents are the most likely methods of verification, subject to final U.K. regulations.”

AVSecure offers a variety of different integration options for website owners, including PHP and .NET integrations, Wordpress plug-ins and JavaScript page-only integrations.

“Once you have decided the breadth of the service you require (e.g. you may choose the AVSecure geo-location detector as well as our age-verification software) and which integration method best suits your business and technology stack, you simply follow our online documentation instructions to integrate,” Winyard explains. “Once a user has verified their age, AVSecure will generate a unique key that is concealed in their device’s browser and can be unlocked using a simple four-digit pin code that they create and memorize. This unique key is not known to anyone, other than the consumer and is also concealed from the content provider.”

This means that once a consumer has received their key they will be able to use it on any adult content site that supports AVSecure by entering their four-digit pin code when prompted to authenticate, and can also choose to set their browser to “open” if they wish to eliminate the need for using a pin code.

Winyard cites the importance of key authentication, since the blockchain technology will perform a “blind signature” on the process and generate a new and unique random number that fulfills two important functions at the same time: It allows consumers to deliver a unique one-off token to a website each time they visit (which means they cannot be correlated or tracked via their AVSecure key), while the token is delivered to the content provider enabling it to prove their visitor is in possession of an age-approved AVSecure key and hence compliant with the law.

“We believe that the use of the AVSecure key will be amongst the highest quality data protection available to consumers,” Winyard says. “Against a historical background of data breaches and hacks, we are very aware that consumers will pay particular attention when asked to enter personal information for the purpose of accessing adult content. We appreciate the need to support the industry by delivering a trusted service that you can be proud to offer your consumers.

“Reputation is everything; we already have some of the biggest sites and networks in the adult industry lined up to use AVSecure,” Winyard concludes. “We are structured for global business and have the technical capacity to accommodate hundreds of millions of users daily. We have a team of experts dedicated to AVSecure and our independence and collective experience of managing sensitive data in heavily regulated industries such as banking, financial transactions, and registry services, provides the security and trust platform all our users will benefit from.”

AVyourself
According to AVyourself CEO Warren Russell, the company provides the widest range of acceptable methods of age verifications to meet the requirements of the regulator, offering a secure and anonymous service for consumers with the ability for merchants to be able to request “proofs” of age for any verifications performed.

“There is a diverse and wide range of AV providers available on the market with solution ranges to suit all budgets. It is therefore important that merchants look around and make the right decision for their operation,” Russell says. “Obviously the key things here are choice, anonymity, and security. We don’t want consumers being driven down an insistence of one particular method of verification, so look for a supplier that can offer a range of options to give your consumers maximum flexibility [because] users will have different opinions over what information they are prepared to share for verification purposes.”

Russell says the company has spoken with some merchants who want complete anonymity for their users and with others who are actually going to use the opportunity of knowing who their customers are to create an engagement strategy.

Russell notes it is also going to be imperative that there is some kind of audit trail, otherwise the verification becomes pointless, noting, “This does not mean the merchant needs to have the audit trail but the regulator is likely to want the ability to understand what verifications were performed and why a particular account was authorized.”

“Merchants will need a supplier who is able to trace back and find out what verifications were performed and the results provided,” Russell explains. “Imagine the scenario where a minor has tricked his/her way into the merchant environment. The parent raises a complaint to the regulator, the regulator approaches the merchant. Therefore you, the merchant, want to be able to ascertain from your supplier why that account was authorized — in the event the minor has misappropriated information to be able to dupe a system, then most regulators would accept that a merchant can only do what is ‘reasonable’ but you would likely need to be able to ‘prove’ this is what you have done.”

Russell also points to the issue of security and the high-profile data breaches recently seen, calling this type of data “a goldmine for those who want to exploit it.”

“Merchants, therefore, may want to consider who is holding their data,” Russell explains. “Is it obvious why that solution provider is holding their data (i.e. just for adult) or could there be a pseudo anonymity in the fact that the provider works in other markets thus not necessarily tying the consumer to adult?”

This motivates AVyourself to put consumer privacy, security and data minimization at the heart of everything they do.

“Having worked closely with the U.K. government through the past two years we can ensure that U.K. legislation is adhered to while providing a futureproof solution by way of our international coverage,” Russell told XBIZ. “The gateway is 100 percent owned and supported by our parent company, W2 Global Data, [which performs] verifications for more than 100 organizations across various sectors including payments, prepaid and financial currency exchange.”

Russell says AVyourself uses market-leading technology that is compatible with the vast majority of, if not all, technical stacks to maximize adoption rates.

“Service availability is over 99 percent, and the platform currently performs in excess of 100m checks per month but is load tested to over 500 per second,” Russell explains. “In the event of exceeding this volume, our system will automatically load balance call volume across our infrastructure, while automatically increasing server capacity to ensure continuous service resilience.”

Russell says the cost split between merchant and consumer for AVyourself is up to the merchant as the merchant is with whom the company will be contracting.

“There are no set up fees and then verifications are based on a ‘per verification’ basis charged at the end of the month. The cost per verification is dependent on the method chosen, but all are cost-effective and market rate,” Russell reveals. “We have several implementation options, ranging from an API to embedded iframe to redirect URL. Each has its own integration methodologies with a redirect URL requiring minimum technical overhead from the merchant.”

Russell notes that AVyourself is built on many years and multiple millions of verifications across market sectors such as online betting, financial services, and money transfer.

“The team behind AVyourself have many combined years of experience and are well-versed in delivering cost-effective and reliable solutions to businesses operating a 24/7 commercial model,” Russell concludes. “We welcome the opportunity to assist adult merchants with their verification requirements.”

Yoti
A free digital identity app, Yoti allows users to prove their identity and age to organizations or individuals online and in person. Businesses that integrate with Yoti provide their users with a Yoti QR code (if the user is surfing on their desktop, laptop or tablet) or a “Use Yoti” button if they are surfing on their mobile. The one-time credential hidden in the Yoti QR code clarifies the user’s identity attribute(s) required by the business, depending on the use case.

“For example, online gambling companies and/or recruitment companies can perform their KYC checks with 100 percent success every time. The customer scans a Yoti QR code and allows Yoti to share the identity details requested e.g. given name(s), family name, date of birth, address, nationality etc.,” Yoti business development executive Danny Whitehorne told XBIZ. “Organizations requiring proof of age e.g. nightclubs can ask for 18+ (in U.K.) or 21+ (in the U.S.). Supermarkets requiring online age checks for adult-restricted products like alcohol, knives, cigarettes/e-cigarettes, lottery tickets can ask for 16+/17+/18+ depending on the product.”

Whitehorne says that in the U.K., Yoti uses passports and drivers’ licenses to verify the identity and age attributes of a user.

“Around 85 percent of 18 to 70-year-olds hold at least one of these two photo IDs,” Whitehorne explains. “Yoti is a more secure, private and reliable way of proving your identity. Unlike some alternatives, proving your age with Yoti ensures that you are the owner of that 18+ attribute and not a person using someone else’s credit card, mobile phone or identity documents.”

Once a user creates their Yoti account, the data is encrypted and stored separately. The user only shares the minimum amount of data that is required for a particular transaction by scanning a Yoti QR code and giving their permission for the attributes to be shared. This allows adult content providers to request an 18+ age check only, and nothing else, ensuring true anonymity.

Whitehorne says that to get set up, the user provides the information from their government-issued document e.g. passport or drivers’ license etc., by scanning their document with the Yoti app. Yoti verifies this information as part of the onboarding process and employs facial recognition technology using NIST-approved facial recognition software by Cognitec (the same software used at many passport and border control points). If the user has an Android mobile, the user places their phone onto their passport and Yoti is able to read the data from the biometric chip embedded in the passport.

“All users pass through our real-time Clean Room operation where ‘super-recognizers’ approve their liveness videos and match them with their selfies and photo ID. We can successfully read passports from 140+ countries so both U.K. residents and tourists and business people traveling temporarily in the U.K. can all anonymously prove [they are] 18+ to adult content sites,” Whitehorne says. “It takes less than five minutes for a user to download the Yoti app, take a selfie, prove they’re a real person by recording themselves saying three specific, randomly generated words, add a government-issued document and then get approved by our Yoti Clean Room staff. Users only need to create a Yoti once but can use it many times in the future, at no cost to them, to prove their identity in many different industries.”

Whitehorne says Yoti is free for the user to download and use.

“Yoti offers free age checks to all adult content sites. Yoti is an independent age check provider, not a competitor, and the only provider offering free age checks for all adult operators complying with regulations as conditioned by the U.K.’s Digital Economy Act 2017,” Whitehorne explains. “To help organizations with quick integrations we have also created three plugins that allow adult operators to integrate in less than 10 minutes and seven SDKs allowing adult operators to integrate in two-to-four hours.”

Adult content sites can allow Yoti users to gain direct access to content by integrating a “Use Yoti” button directly on their sites, while the increasing percentage of people accessing adult content on their phones receive even quicker access when using Yoti.

“When accessing adult content on your mobile there is no need to scan a QR code. The site will open the Yoti app on the mobile and request the 18+ age check,” Whitehorne says. “We have already signed contracts with a number of organizations, including a very large adult content provider and the U.K.’s largest nightclub chain, which will be rolling out Yoti across its 60 clubs nationally [beginning in] February.”

As an indication of the widespread applications for AV, Whitehorne says that in association with NCR, two of the U.K.’s four largest supermarkets have been given approval by the Home Office to pilot the use of Yoti for age verification — not just 18 plus, this could be 12+, 15+ or 18+. 

“Depending on supermarket brand and store location, between 15 and 25 percent of baskets going through include alcohol and require age verification. These two supermarkets also want to recognize Yoti so their online shoppers no longer need to remember passwords to enter their online accounts and for several other consumer- or staff-facing use cases,” Whitehorne told XBIZ. “Other early businesses recognizing Yoti include Reed (the U.K.’s largest recruitment firm), NHS Hospital Ipswich for doctor verification, cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs, and a very well-known alcohol sales provider, to name a few.”

As well as signing up businesses to recognize Yoti for verification or authentication of users, Yoti also advertises directly to consumers.

“Early users gain the benefit of Yoti’s free Password Manager (like LastPass) so they no longer need to remember passwords for any of the countless websites they use. Early users who have added their photo ID can request anyone they are considering to do business with, to reveal their verified name, significantly reducing the risk of fraud,” Whitehorne says. “This is all conducive to our strategy of acquiring a high user base in a short time period by enabling the maximum utility for a person who has a verified Yoti.

“We are confident we will have over one million installs of our app by the time adult age verification enforcement starts (in April, May or June 2018) and over two million installs within 30 days of this time,” Whitehorne concludes. “All of these Yoti users can anonymously transfer their 18+ at the touch of a button to an adult site that recognizes Yoti. We already have over 300,000 installs since our launch in November 2017 and will be investing approximately £2m-£4m during Jan-Jun 2018 to drive up the number of U.K. users prior to the introduction of adult content AV.”

Studying the feedback from these industry pros, it’s clear that although mandatory age verification is new to adult, it is not new to the ‘net — and a reality that was long foreseeable for adult merchants. The future begins now, and it includes AV as a matter of better business for operators with an eye on the long-term success of their brands — a future that XBIZ will keep its readers up-to-the-minute on — and one that is necessary, simply because it’s the right thing to do.