Porn 101: Choosing Your Pornstar Name

This is the first in a series of articles for those that are considering getting into the adult industry as a performer.  Every year I travel the country speaking at several Exxxotica Expos wherein I do a series of seminars called “Breaking into The Biz.” One of the most asked questions I receive from both men and women is “how do I get into porn ?” Before someone can get into porn, they need to choose an appropriate stage name for themselves. Most people think that picking a porn name is rather easy…it’s the street they lived on as a kid and the name of their first pet. Unfortunately, that’s not so. Choosing a great stage name may require hours of research.

Before someone can enter the industry they need a stage name. I strongly suggest that you do not allow anyone else to “name you.” Do not let your boyfriend/girlfriend, agent, manager or a friend choose your stage name. By picking your name that gives them the right to own your name. It’s called intellectual property. If they choose it they own it.

Do not choose a name that contains popular brand names or the trademarks of companies. Forget Paris, Mercedes, Lexus, Dallas or any other geographical name or trademark. Not only is it problematic and opens you to a legal challenge by that company if you use an established trademark but no one will ever find you on the Internet when they do a Google search for your website. There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that discuss Lexus and Mercedes Benz automobiles as well as thousands of travel sites discussing how lovely Paris is in the spring.

Do not choose a variation of your favorite pornstar’s name. Even if your boyfriend tells you how much your blow job techniques remind him of Susie Suckems blow job techniques do not name yourself Bobbi Suckems. As a performer you want to stand alone and not be confused with another performer in the industry. How successful would a singer be if she decided to call herself “Sher” or “Misses Gaga?” No one does that in mainstream entertainment and you shouldn’t do it in porn.

I understand it may be impossible to know the name of every pornstar that has preceded you in the industry but you have a great research tool to investigate if someone else has the same stage name that you want. Mainstream has IMDB.com and porn has IAFD.com ( http://www.iafd.com ). IAFD.com is a pornstar database of more than 100,000 performers. And yes, you read that correctly, they have a database of more than 100,000 porn performers. You probably didn’t realize that there have been that many porn performers in the history of porn. Obviously, with that many performers you probably wont be able to find a completely unique stage name but you do want to stay away from a performer name that exactly matches another performer’s name.

Once you have researched your stage name on IAFD.com it’s now time to see if someone has filed a trademark on your name already. It’s fairly easy to search the United State Trademark Database online ( http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp ). Just simply go to the search function and see if your name matches a previously registered trademark. If it does then you should go back to IAFD.com and begin the process over again.

Now that your name has cleared the IAFD.com and trademark search its now time to see if your name is available as a domain name. It’s rather useless to select a stage name unless you can own your own little piece of the Internet. It is vital that you can own your domain name and all the variations of your domain name. Which probably means you should not choose a name that is easy misspelled. Avoid names such as Jenny since it can be spelled Jeni, Jenni, Jenny, Jeny or even Jennie. A stage name using Jenny would require you to purchase four times the amount of domain names since you will have to buy every misspelling of your name. And if you combine a first name such as Jenny with a last name of Jameson – well now you will be purchasing domain names until you are broke since Jameson can be spelled with an “e” or an “i” and now you have to purchase every variation of both spellings. At this point you might be saying “why do I have to buy all those domain names if my name is going to be Jenny Jamison.” The answer is simply, if you don’t buy them other people will and they will set up websites with your name and make money off you and you will not see a dime of the money they make.

Most performers do not realize that when you start performing in scenes you will be signing a contract called a model release which will give the person or company paying you for your scene the right to use your photographs and videos on a website to promote the content. If you are just your average run of the mill porn performer, your scene will probably just be used on the company’s website. However, if you become a “pornstar” it is very likely that the company will buy a domain name with your stage name in it and start a website about you. If they have more than a couple of your scenes they can start a membership site and charge for it. And if you become a “big name pornstar” that company will probably call other studios and purchase the scenes they have shot with you in it to add to the website. Which means they are making money from your name, your hard work and you are not going to get a share of the profits.

To research whether your chosen stage name is available as a domain name it is as easy as doing a search on Go Daddy ( http://www.godaddy.com ). Once you determine that it is available – buy it. Do not wait, do not come back to it later, do not discuss your stage name with anyone. I have seen boyfriends, agents and managers steal the domain names of performers. Once you have spent hours researching your stage and domain name you should not discuss it any further with anyone. And you should not just purchase the .COM – you should purchase as many of the “dots” that you can afford. I would strongly suggest that you purchase the .NET, .ORG, .ME, .BIZ, .INFO, .MOBI, .TV as well. Obviously, if the domain name is not available for your stage name then you need to go back to IAFD.com and begin your research all over again until you can chose a stage name that passes all of the tests.

If you have the funds you may also want to consider buying other customary adult industry variations of your stage name. For example, if your stage name is Suzie Suckems you may want to consider purchasing ClubSuzie.com, ClubSuzieSuckems.com as well as SuzieSuckemsXXX.com. Finally, you may also want to purchase SuzieSuckemsBlog.com. These are all popular website variations that adult performers use in addition to their regular domain names. It would be cost prohibitive to buy every possible variation of your domain name but you do want to own as many as you can possibly afford. Not only will this prevent others from owning them but it will also increase the amount of traffic that will flow to your website once you launch it.

Please be aware, if you do not purchase your domain names before you start performing I can assure you that they will not be available once you do. There are people and companies whose sole business is to buy and sell domain names. Once a new performer enters the industry and starts performing those people will often purchase domain names of performers just so they can sell it back to the performer for substantially more than what the domain could have been purchased for by the performer. Trying to legally fight to get the domain name back is possible but still much more expensive then buying it from Go Daddy.

Next lesson in Porn 101 -> Choosing an Agent !

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2 thoughts on “Porn 101: Choosing Your Pornstar Name

  1. you choose it like a drag name. Your 1st name is that of the 1st famous actor you had a crush on (Or man-crush, if you’re straight) and your last is the name of the 1st movie theater you remember going to. I’d be Clint Thunderbird…

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