I created this animation way back in 2000. By that time I got my own website called Twisted Unicorn and I basically focused on uploading my animations there on that site and less on BBS and CompuServe.

Like “Voyeur Eyes Only,” “The Wrath of the Web Cam Women” is also a parody of the JenniCAM, which was a big internet phenomenon back in the day. I never intended to create a sequel to “Voyeur Eyes Only” until I read an article in The Washington Post providing details about this love triangle that Jenni had suddenly gotten involved in right at the moment when JenniCAM reached its peak in popularity. In the meantime, The Jerry Springer Show became the number one hit talk show because he frequently had on guests who usually confessed to their significant others that they were seeing someone else (it was usually a close friend but sometimes it may be the significant other’s own family member) and it typically ended in a free-for-all brawl as the audience screamed “JERRY! JERRY!” As the original writeup for this animation stated:

Here is a movie that’s literally ripped from today’s headlines (or the headlines that can be found in The Washington Post‘s Style section located in the back of the newspaper). It’s a free-for-all as Courtney (of Latitude 11 fame) fights her former best friend Jenni (of JenniCAM) fame on The Jerry Springer Show while the Unicorn With An Attitude watches in the audience. Who will the Unicorn confront with its horn this time—Jenni, Courtney…or Jerry Springer?

The gist of the scandal was that Jenni had started friendships with a bunch of other web cam women who created their own web cam sites in the wake of JenniCAM’s popularity (such as JodiZone, AnaCam, JulieCam, CarlaZone, and IzziCam). Among them was a woman named Courtney, who ran a web cam site known as Latitude 11. When Jenni wanted to move from Washington, DC, it was Courtney who found a rental home for Jenni near the home that she shared with her fiancee, Dex, and Courtney even made a happy announcement on her site (you’ll need to go to the drop-down menu on the left side and select “what’s new”) that she and Jenni were going to be neighbors and how she and another web cam woman (Jodi from the JodiZone) were going to help Jenni move from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Courtney and Jodi flew cross-country to help Jenni pack then they drove all the way to Courtney’s hometown of Sacramento, California where the two friends helped Jenni get settled in her new home. Soon after Jenni moved in, she and Courtney’s fiancee, Dex, somehow mutually realized that they were meant to be together so the two of them decided to consummate their newfound love in front of JenniCAM. It turned out that Courtney happened to be web surfing that very moment when she decided to check out JenniCAM online and saw her fiancee doing it with her friend, which led to this understandably anguished post that has been preserved on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. (You need to go to the drop-down menu on the left side and select “da blog.”) This led to the cancellation of Courtney and Dex’s upcoming wedding, Dex moving in with Jenni, and a huge outcry from JenniCAM’s most devoted fans, much of which has been preserved at alt.fan.jennicam. (You’ll have to scroll down to messages posted between 2000-2003 in order to read the anti-Jenni vitriol.)

In “The Wrath of the Web Cam Women,” I imagined a scenario where Courtney and Jenni appeared on “The Jerry Springer Show” with The Unicorn With An Attitude calling out Jerry Springer for turning his talk show into a violent freak show that exploits the personal lives of average ordinary people. I’ll admit that I had a challenge with downloading digitized photos of the real-life people involved and I didn’t always succeed in matching the coloring of the photographed heads with the drawn animated bodies. (I was still learning computer graphics and animation at this point while creating this series.)

So, without further ado, here is “The Wrath of the Web Cam Women.”

In the wake of the scandal, Courtney eventually moved away from Sacramento and closed down her Latitude 11 web cam site. Since then she has stayed out of the public eye and she is living quietly in obscurity. (Today the URL redirects to a web hosting ISP of the same name.)

That scandal was the beginning of the end for JenniCAM as many of her fans started to abandon the site in droves. Eventually Jenni had to get a day job to make ends meet, which meant that JenniCAM started to feature pictures of an empty chair during the daytime, which led to a further downward spiral as more people stopped spending time at her site because they weren’t interested in seeing updated photos of an empty chair.

The idea of people sharing their lives in front of a web cam began to lose its novelty feature as many of the web cam sites that went online in the wake of JenniCAM’s popularity began to shut down. As for The Jerry Springer Show, it is still on the air as it hasn’t run out of people willing to appear making confessions about their deepest darkest secrets and fight each other on-air.

JenniCAM finally went off-line for good on New Year’s Eve, 2003 and Jenni has since stepped away from the celebrity spotlight and now lives a quiet life with no Internet presence on any website, forum, or social media. Her life took a radical 180 degree turn as she went from sharing everything online to the point of oversharing to having no Internet presence at all. She even turned her back on being a minor celebrity who was willing to appear on talk shows, give media interviews, and even making guest appearances on scripted TV dramas (such as her cameo on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder) and went back to obscurity.

In a rare interview that she gave to the Reply All podcast late last year, Jenni provided very few updates about her post-JenniCAM life: She and Dex ended their relationship just months after JenniCAM went off-line for good. Jenni subsequently married someone else and she took her husband’s last name, which provides a further indication of her desire to put her JenniCAM past far behind her.

Today there are still such things as web cam sites but many of them have migrated to mobile apps such as Snapchat. Recently the Daily Dot had a story about Cam Con, a convention for those who willingly live their lives in front of a camera. Here’s a quote that shows how much a web cam site has evolved from the days of JenniCAM and her contemporaries.

Camming is a growing industry. At its best, it’s like one-on-one porn with a touch of psychotherapy. Performers connect with their fans via webcam, staging X-rated shows in the privacy of their bedrooms. They’re empowered to make their own schedules, set their own rates, and work from wherever they want. They choose their level of intimacy with fans, the amount of skin they’ll display, and how much individual attention they’ll offer customers. A convention like CamCon gives them the chance to meet fans and fellow camgirls in person, as well as learn about new money-making digital platforms.

And an online web cam site isn’t only just for computers anymore.

The ways in which camgirls use social media are plentiful and constantly evolving. Cam performers integrate different platforms and cross-promote with them, driving customers to their own sites. But with the 2014 launch of Snapcash, the Venmo-like service that allows exchanges of services for currency on Snapchat, models now have a quick and efficient way to trade private snaps for cash.

For those of you who weren’t around back then, here are some links for you to learn what JenniCAM was about.

Wikipedia
JenniCAM.org as preserved on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine
JenniSHOW archives
Forgotten Web Celebrities: JenniCAM.org’s Jennifer Ringley
Reply All Podcast Episode #5: JenniCAM
Reply All: 6 Things About JenniCAM I Couldn’t Include in Reply All Episode 5
Clyde’s Stuff blog post titled “Really Old Blog Crap: Jennicam”

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