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Porno and the Piano Teacher

— Jean Winslow, a retired elementary schoolteacher in San Diego, doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be even remotely involved with Internet pornography.

Her greatest passion is music. Winslow spends time with her two granddaughters the same way her own grandmother spent time with her years ago -- seated at the piano, occupied with lessons, practicing scales. An accomplished pianist and singer, Winslow, 67, has worked as a volunteer for the Opera Guild, the San Diego Symphony, and the Chamber Society. Within her circle of neighbors and friends, who are mostly older than she, Winslow organizes outings to concerts and other musical events, and she does the driving. For relaxation, Winslow simply listens to music.

How the mild-mannered grandmother and model volunteer became internationally known as an Internet pornographer last month is the result of naïveté and chance. "It's a story of how to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Winslow's business partner, Mike Price, a former lawyer who lives in San Diego. On hearing those words, Winslow rolls her eyes and shakes her head in agreement.

A mutual interest in computers and the Internet prompted Price and Winslow to attend the Consumer Electronics Show and the Adult Internet 2000 Show -- better known as "the ia2000" -- in Las Vegas shortly after New Year's.

Angie Wagner, a news reporter for the Associated Press, thought the two looked a bit out of place at the adult Internet gathering, which features X-rated photographs, videos, and websites. For starters, Winslow and Price were fully clothed in business suits -- amid the 5000 outlandishly dressed and partially dressed participants. "I thought they might be curious about the show," Wagner said. With her conservative attire, glasses, and beauty-parlor bouffant hair, Winslow "definitely stuck out. She looked like a sweet, older lady," Wagner said. "When she said her family and friends didn't know, I thought, uh-oh, they might know by tomorrow."

Sure enough, Wagner's short but pithy news story about a 67-year-old retired schoolteacher in the Internet sex business was transmitted around the world. It was published by The Province newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Winslow's daughter lives. Her daughter read the article, entitled "Online Sex Deals Made in Las Vegas," and immediately called her mother in San Diego. Suddenly, Winslow had a lot of explaining to do. So her two other children wouldn't be caught off guard, Winslow called to alert them that she had made headlines and, more importantly, to explain why. "My son chuckled at first, but then he wanted to know more about it."

Winslow reluctantly admitted she became involved in Internet pornography via a passive investment several months ago as a way to supplement her retirement income. She described herself as "a silent partner" in Price's adult website, meaning she invested money in the business but does not operate or manage it. She wouldn't specify how much she invested other than to say "just a little bit." Winslow and Price, 53, each said the site, which uses the domain name of "sexy reds," is really Price's pet project. "Sexyreds" sells such X-rated videos as Let's Get Kinky and Creme de la Face, but Price said the real purpose of owning the site is to study Internet traffic patterns. "I'm more interested in search-engine placement ranking," Price said, referring to the strategy of luring more viewers to a website and parlaying that popularity into revenue.

Besides music, Winslow enjoys gardening, reading, genealogical research, and learning about computers. She often attends classes about software programs and computer use that are offered for free by San Diego Community College. Unlike Price, Winslow has not taken the Learning Annex's $59 course on How to Make Money in the Adult-Entertainment Business on the Internet. "I'm on the Internet all the time," Winslow said, stressing that she does not peruse adult websites. In fact, Winslow said, the only adult website she has ever seen is Price's.

Apparently Winslow didn't spend much time or attention looking at Sexyreds online. Otherwise, her 19 years of correcting papers at Cadman, Grant, and Whittier elementary schools might have prompted her to notice that "blonds" was misspelled. "Blonds" is among several categories of X-rated videos Price sells. Other categories are labeled blacks, Latinas, Asian, discounts, and new releases.

Price, who describes himself as a "broken-down trial lawyer," said he wants to capitalize on the burgeoning online-adult-entertainment business. SexTracker, an Internet-services company in Seattle that specializes in that industry, estimates there are as many as 120,000 pornographic websites generating as much as $1.8 billion a year in revenue. The bulk of that revenue comes from membership fees and advertising, as opposed to the sale of sex toys and other products, according to SexTracker.

Catherine Miller, vice president of SunUp Media Group Inc. in Temecula, which owns, designs, and hosts adult websites, said the industry is attracting people of all ages and from all walks of life. But "the vast majority of people getting involved in this business are professionals looking to make money. That ranges from accountants to doctors to lawyers. I've had one client who works for a title company."

The traditional purveyors of adult entertainment, such as strip joints and topless clubs, have been slow to milk the Internet as an income source, Miller said. Computer experts in their 20s led the way, she said, and now everyone else is catching up. Hearing about former lawyers and schoolteachers starting pornographic websites is not at all surprising, Miller said. "Just the other day I spoke to a retiree in Florida who's in the business."

Michael Twombly co-owns Zipwell Online "Anything Internet" LLC in San Diego, which designed the Sexyreds website. X-rated subject matter represents about 15 percent of Zipwell's business, he estimated. Twombly said many of his customers for pornographic sites are lawyers, real estate agents, and certified public accountants. "I don't get smut kings. Almost everyone who has come to us has made money in other ways, and they're looking at this as an investment," he said. "One guy made a bunch of money selling palm trees, and he wants to reinvest it in a porno site."

Price said he spent most of his legal career in Houston. He said he worked from 1974 to 1984 as the general counsel for K-Mart/Clarke Development Real Estate. In that position, he said he helped build the K-Mart on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. He also developed computer software that lawyers can use for recording their hours and billing clients. Disillusionment with the legal profession and a marriage gone awry prompted him to quit and return to San Diego, Price said. He grew up in Fallbrook, he said, where he graduated from high school in the mid-1960s.

To hear them talk about the adult-Internet industry and the unwanted publicity from the Associated Press -- and Price does most of the talking -- Price and Winslow come across as babes in the virtual woods or virtual babes in the woods.

Although the Sexyreds website has been posted for several months, video sales have been disappointing, Price said. Movie titles range from tame, Amanda's Diary, to raunchy, Juan's Hot Latin Pussy Adventures 2. So far, the site lacks any of the banners, promotions, and joint ventures that would bring in advertising revenue. Few websites can make significant money selling products, according to Miller and SexTracker.

At times, Price seems enthusiastic about touting the business. "I don't really care what you say about me, just spell my website right." Yet he seems to have missed a golden opportunity for promoting Sexyreds at the ia2000 show during his interview with the Associated Press.

Price said he thought Wagner was conducting a marketing survey for the Associated Press. Winslow said she had no idea that Wagner was writing a news story that would be accessible to newspapers nationwide and internationally. She said she was incensed to learn about the article from her daughter. "When I get mad, I say things very calmly," Winslow said. She acknowledged she was not really tuned into Wagner or what the reporter was doing. Consequently, Winslow said, she let Price do most of the talking.

"I didn't say I was doing a marketing survey. I said, 'I'm with the Associated Press and I'm doing a story on the show.' They definitely knew they were talking to a reporter. They probably didn't realize what would happen," Wagner said. "I probably talked to them for maybe ten minutes. She was really reserved. He definitely did most of the talking."

Price, who still contends he was responding to a market study, recalls he made statements to shock Wagner. "I started pulling her leg a little bit. I said things like 'Sex sells.' I told her a lot of stuff. Half of it was true. Half of it wasn't." The part that was true were Price's and Winslow's names, spelled correctly; their ages; their former occupations; and their place of residence: San Diego. Many people in the adult-Internet business use stage names or aliases to obscure their true identity.

One of Price's video suppliers, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity, said most people with ties to pornography dread exposure. The supplier, who owns a video shop in San Diego, said he fears ostracism by neighbors and friends if they were to learn his inventory included X-rated videos or that he supplied an X-rated website. "They might think I'm a pervert. It would ruin my life." But, he said, the economic reality is, he can make substantially more money from selling and renting pornographic videos than from mainstream movies. "Jean doesn't sound happy about this story."

Price stressed that Winslow's involvement in Internet pornography is peripheral, and Winslow said she is disconnecting from Sexyreds completely. Instead, she said she would supplement her retirement income the way she has in the past: via the computer trading of stocks, mostly technology stocks. Price said he is uncertain about the future of Sexyreds; he may consider selling the website. "The people who really make money in this business are the ones who provide the content, the web hosting, the merchant accounts, the management services," he concluded.

Winslow said she has lost sleep over the Associated Press story because she is worried about the reaction of friends. She said she hasn't spoken to anyone about the news report except her children. "It was such a simple encounter. It was such a simple situation, for it to have such far-reaching implications," Winslow said. "I'm from a rather conservative family. I probably could lose friends. I don't know."

Price chimed in suggesting, "Then those friends aren't worth having." Winslow said, "You're probably right."

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— Jean Winslow, a retired elementary schoolteacher in San Diego, doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be even remotely involved with Internet pornography.

Her greatest passion is music. Winslow spends time with her two granddaughters the same way her own grandmother spent time with her years ago -- seated at the piano, occupied with lessons, practicing scales. An accomplished pianist and singer, Winslow, 67, has worked as a volunteer for the Opera Guild, the San Diego Symphony, and the Chamber Society. Within her circle of neighbors and friends, who are mostly older than she, Winslow organizes outings to concerts and other musical events, and she does the driving. For relaxation, Winslow simply listens to music.

How the mild-mannered grandmother and model volunteer became internationally known as an Internet pornographer last month is the result of naïveté and chance. "It's a story of how to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Winslow's business partner, Mike Price, a former lawyer who lives in San Diego. On hearing those words, Winslow rolls her eyes and shakes her head in agreement.

A mutual interest in computers and the Internet prompted Price and Winslow to attend the Consumer Electronics Show and the Adult Internet 2000 Show -- better known as "the ia2000" -- in Las Vegas shortly after New Year's.

Angie Wagner, a news reporter for the Associated Press, thought the two looked a bit out of place at the adult Internet gathering, which features X-rated photographs, videos, and websites. For starters, Winslow and Price were fully clothed in business suits -- amid the 5000 outlandishly dressed and partially dressed participants. "I thought they might be curious about the show," Wagner said. With her conservative attire, glasses, and beauty-parlor bouffant hair, Winslow "definitely stuck out. She looked like a sweet, older lady," Wagner said. "When she said her family and friends didn't know, I thought, uh-oh, they might know by tomorrow."

Sure enough, Wagner's short but pithy news story about a 67-year-old retired schoolteacher in the Internet sex business was transmitted around the world. It was published by The Province newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Winslow's daughter lives. Her daughter read the article, entitled "Online Sex Deals Made in Las Vegas," and immediately called her mother in San Diego. Suddenly, Winslow had a lot of explaining to do. So her two other children wouldn't be caught off guard, Winslow called to alert them that she had made headlines and, more importantly, to explain why. "My son chuckled at first, but then he wanted to know more about it."

Winslow reluctantly admitted she became involved in Internet pornography via a passive investment several months ago as a way to supplement her retirement income. She described herself as "a silent partner" in Price's adult website, meaning she invested money in the business but does not operate or manage it. She wouldn't specify how much she invested other than to say "just a little bit." Winslow and Price, 53, each said the site, which uses the domain name of "sexy reds," is really Price's pet project. "Sexyreds" sells such X-rated videos as Let's Get Kinky and Creme de la Face, but Price said the real purpose of owning the site is to study Internet traffic patterns. "I'm more interested in search-engine placement ranking," Price said, referring to the strategy of luring more viewers to a website and parlaying that popularity into revenue.

Besides music, Winslow enjoys gardening, reading, genealogical research, and learning about computers. She often attends classes about software programs and computer use that are offered for free by San Diego Community College. Unlike Price, Winslow has not taken the Learning Annex's $59 course on How to Make Money in the Adult-Entertainment Business on the Internet. "I'm on the Internet all the time," Winslow said, stressing that she does not peruse adult websites. In fact, Winslow said, the only adult website she has ever seen is Price's.

Apparently Winslow didn't spend much time or attention looking at Sexyreds online. Otherwise, her 19 years of correcting papers at Cadman, Grant, and Whittier elementary schools might have prompted her to notice that "blonds" was misspelled. "Blonds" is among several categories of X-rated videos Price sells. Other categories are labeled blacks, Latinas, Asian, discounts, and new releases.

Price, who describes himself as a "broken-down trial lawyer," said he wants to capitalize on the burgeoning online-adult-entertainment business. SexTracker, an Internet-services company in Seattle that specializes in that industry, estimates there are as many as 120,000 pornographic websites generating as much as $1.8 billion a year in revenue. The bulk of that revenue comes from membership fees and advertising, as opposed to the sale of sex toys and other products, according to SexTracker.

Catherine Miller, vice president of SunUp Media Group Inc. in Temecula, which owns, designs, and hosts adult websites, said the industry is attracting people of all ages and from all walks of life. But "the vast majority of people getting involved in this business are professionals looking to make money. That ranges from accountants to doctors to lawyers. I've had one client who works for a title company."

The traditional purveyors of adult entertainment, such as strip joints and topless clubs, have been slow to milk the Internet as an income source, Miller said. Computer experts in their 20s led the way, she said, and now everyone else is catching up. Hearing about former lawyers and schoolteachers starting pornographic websites is not at all surprising, Miller said. "Just the other day I spoke to a retiree in Florida who's in the business."

Michael Twombly co-owns Zipwell Online "Anything Internet" LLC in San Diego, which designed the Sexyreds website. X-rated subject matter represents about 15 percent of Zipwell's business, he estimated. Twombly said many of his customers for pornographic sites are lawyers, real estate agents, and certified public accountants. "I don't get smut kings. Almost everyone who has come to us has made money in other ways, and they're looking at this as an investment," he said. "One guy made a bunch of money selling palm trees, and he wants to reinvest it in a porno site."

Price said he spent most of his legal career in Houston. He said he worked from 1974 to 1984 as the general counsel for K-Mart/Clarke Development Real Estate. In that position, he said he helped build the K-Mart on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. He also developed computer software that lawyers can use for recording their hours and billing clients. Disillusionment with the legal profession and a marriage gone awry prompted him to quit and return to San Diego, Price said. He grew up in Fallbrook, he said, where he graduated from high school in the mid-1960s.

To hear them talk about the adult-Internet industry and the unwanted publicity from the Associated Press -- and Price does most of the talking -- Price and Winslow come across as babes in the virtual woods or virtual babes in the woods.

Although the Sexyreds website has been posted for several months, video sales have been disappointing, Price said. Movie titles range from tame, Amanda's Diary, to raunchy, Juan's Hot Latin Pussy Adventures 2. So far, the site lacks any of the banners, promotions, and joint ventures that would bring in advertising revenue. Few websites can make significant money selling products, according to Miller and SexTracker.

At times, Price seems enthusiastic about touting the business. "I don't really care what you say about me, just spell my website right." Yet he seems to have missed a golden opportunity for promoting Sexyreds at the ia2000 show during his interview with the Associated Press.

Price said he thought Wagner was conducting a marketing survey for the Associated Press. Winslow said she had no idea that Wagner was writing a news story that would be accessible to newspapers nationwide and internationally. She said she was incensed to learn about the article from her daughter. "When I get mad, I say things very calmly," Winslow said. She acknowledged she was not really tuned into Wagner or what the reporter was doing. Consequently, Winslow said, she let Price do most of the talking.

"I didn't say I was doing a marketing survey. I said, 'I'm with the Associated Press and I'm doing a story on the show.' They definitely knew they were talking to a reporter. They probably didn't realize what would happen," Wagner said. "I probably talked to them for maybe ten minutes. She was really reserved. He definitely did most of the talking."

Price, who still contends he was responding to a market study, recalls he made statements to shock Wagner. "I started pulling her leg a little bit. I said things like 'Sex sells.' I told her a lot of stuff. Half of it was true. Half of it wasn't." The part that was true were Price's and Winslow's names, spelled correctly; their ages; their former occupations; and their place of residence: San Diego. Many people in the adult-Internet business use stage names or aliases to obscure their true identity.

One of Price's video suppliers, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity, said most people with ties to pornography dread exposure. The supplier, who owns a video shop in San Diego, said he fears ostracism by neighbors and friends if they were to learn his inventory included X-rated videos or that he supplied an X-rated website. "They might think I'm a pervert. It would ruin my life." But, he said, the economic reality is, he can make substantially more money from selling and renting pornographic videos than from mainstream movies. "Jean doesn't sound happy about this story."

Price stressed that Winslow's involvement in Internet pornography is peripheral, and Winslow said she is disconnecting from Sexyreds completely. Instead, she said she would supplement her retirement income the way she has in the past: via the computer trading of stocks, mostly technology stocks. Price said he is uncertain about the future of Sexyreds; he may consider selling the website. "The people who really make money in this business are the ones who provide the content, the web hosting, the merchant accounts, the management services," he concluded.

Winslow said she has lost sleep over the Associated Press story because she is worried about the reaction of friends. She said she hasn't spoken to anyone about the news report except her children. "It was such a simple encounter. It was such a simple situation, for it to have such far-reaching implications," Winslow said. "I'm from a rather conservative family. I probably could lose friends. I don't know."

Price chimed in suggesting, "Then those friends aren't worth having." Winslow said, "You're probably right."

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