After a couple of years of controversies, including allegations of benefiting financially from the distribution of child pornography and trafficking and having their advertising arm, TrafficJunky, cut off by Mastercard, MindGeek has seen multiple resignations and developed an interesting reputation within the adult entertainment industry.
That is why it has come as no surprise that earlier this month, Luxembourg-based Canadian company MindGeek announced that they were rebranding under the new name Aylo after being taken over in March 2023 by Canadian private equity company Ethical Capital Partners (ECP) earlier this year. The decision has come after a need for a ‘fresh start’ for the company and its roster of adult entertainment sites.
In this article, Adult Site Broker has looked into the rebrand and what this means for their role within the adult entertainment industry.
Since starting in 2004, MindGeek (formerly Manwin) is a Luxembourg-based company widely known for its spot in the adult entertainment industry. Initially, the site was owned by Fabian Thylmann until he sold it in 2012 to Feras Antoon and David Tassillo.
Since starting in 2004, MindGeek has steadily bought known sites, including Pornhub (the 10th biggest website in the world), Redtube, and Youporn. Centering themselves as a leader in the adult entertainment industry, especially for porn, content creation, and even games, with their ownership of the adult gaming platform Nutaku, they are now one of the leading companies in porn seen as a company that is changing the industry landscape.
Through their acquisitions of three top porn sites, they are seen as having a monopoly in the industry and are one of the most known names for adult entertainment sites. So why would they choose to rebrand in 2023?
In March 2023, after being bought by private equity company Ethical Capital Partners, MindGeek announced in August 2023 that they would rebrand Aylo to breathe fresh life into the company after several controversies.
In 2020, MindGeek first came under fire about the site GirlsDoPorn, when they were sued in California for hosting non-consensual pornography, with over 40 plaintiffs seeking $80 million in reparations for performers who were being coerced into appearing in their videos under pretenses and the failure of MindGeek to take down the videos after repeated requests for removal were sent in. The owner of GirlsDoPorn has been arrested in Spain.
The following year, Pornhub came under fire for hosting illegal child pornography in Montreal in January 2021 and later in Alabama in February. The New Yorker exposed the case and the victims within.
The final straw came in 2022 when Visa and Mastercard cut off Pornhub’s ability to use their platforms to sell Pornhub ads after a case was filed stating that Pornhub had knowingly distributed child pornography. The plaintiff noted that Visa had knowingly facilitated this. This led to the CEO and COO of MindGeek resigning in 2022 after being put on an ethics committee and selling MindGeek to ECP. The acquisition came shortly after the Netflix documentary ‘Moneyshot’ aired.
The aftermath of the lawsuits and the documentary led MindGeek and Pornhub to change their policies, and stating that only verified users could upload content onto their sites.
In their statement about the acquisition, ECP announced their decision to take over MindGeeks to leverage ECP’s experience and expertise to further position MindGeek as the internet’s most popular platform for adult content. Invest in tackling the uploading of illegal content and unlock shareholder value through state-of-the-art tech and IP investments.
The main aim of the new rebrand to Aylo has been to allow the company to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Turning their focus towards innovation and creating safe and trustworthy sites that all can access and working with thousands of creators. Aylo has taken the needed action to put these lawsuits behind them and move on.
Since taking over, ECP has had several meaningful conversations with stakeholders and content creators on policies and practices, aiming to create a transparent ecosystem within the parent company and its brands.
So, how will Aylo play a role in the adult industry? To begin with, in an interview with Xbiz, Solomon Friedman, the VP of ECP has proudly announced that Aylo will still be proudly keeping their role within the adult entertainment industry. With the new name, they are looking to create an ethical space for porn sites, content creators, and working with NGOs.
The rebrand aims to give Aylo a fresh start within the industry, not leave it and hide their past. The new aim is privacy, trust, and offering safe sites and ethical porn as they proudly center their brands here on their site.
To show that they mean business, they have been quick to announce they are ‘charting their path’ separate from other companies in the pornography space and doing things no one else is, including:
Overall, with Aylo, the brands involved and the parent company are not just seeking to start afresh but looking to take the porn industry to the next level of innovation and creator monetization. They aim to lead the charge of creating safe adult sites that focus on moderation, privacy, and trust. Time will tell if the rebrand means that anything new will actually happen, or if it’s a fresh coat of paint to hide the rust left by the controversies of the past few years.
You can read the full story in their press release on their site here.
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