During my three years as an International cammodel, I’ve lived at seven different addresses in two different countries. And it was all done on two different continents. I began camming while working in the UK. After that I moved back to Canada a year ago. International cammodels–mainly non-US residents–face some very unique challenges when it comes to working for cam sites. These hardships may also occur phone sex sites and fetish clip stores as well. With the exception of AdultWork a UK based camsite, most live camshow sites are based in the US. This websites like Streamate, MyFreeCams, Chaturbate, and Cams.com. Even directory sites like SkyPrivate and Cammodel Directory are US-based, these are the two most popular sites to perform shows live on skype. Which means that international cammodels often have to create workarounds for common issues.
Challenges for International Cammodels
The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome as an international cammodel has been getting paid banking restrictions for non residents. Although I’m Canadia I work mostly on American platforms and many offer limited options for payments to international models. The options offered usually come with their own drawbacks.
Accessing site support presents its own set of challenges for international cammodels. Time zone differences often rule out calling model support phone lines when you need assistance. And if you resort to leaving support tickets via email it can result in waiting days to clarify issues. Language barriers can also can also hinder the process for both support and cammodels when they speak different languages.
Additionally, the increasing technological that some sites require create additional issues. High-speed internet for many is a pipe dream because in some areas fast upload speeds are not readily available. If you can’t keep up with these requirements your earnings become limited and in additon your broadcast placement willl become affected as well. If you want to stay competitive you will need to ensure your computer hardware including your webcam are up to par. But unfortunately these high perfoming items are out of reach on some international markets. For example, the holy grail of all webcams the Logitech 920c costs nearly 60% more in Canada than it does in the US– this is the cost difference on top of the exchange rate!
Tips for Smoothing the Road
Reduce payment fees. Most international payment options come with fees. Some, like wire transfer and Payoneer, have flat fees, and others have fees that are a percentage of your payment. Some sites charge fees for issuing cheques. Most sites will charge you for wire transfers, which will cover their bank fees. However your bank will likely charge you a wire fee as well. I think we can all agree that bank fees are the worst! To cut down on fees, you can either raise your minimum payout amount, which will lower the % of your earnings that the flat fee gobbles up, or you are left to find a way to get paid that comes as close to fee-free as possible. Canadian cammodels can take advantage of US-held accounts for some sites that offer ACH/Direct Deposit to American accounts. Both Royal Bank and TD Canada Trust offer accounts held with US banks for Canadian residents. Both offer free direct deposit. Royal Bank will even allow you to transfer money across the border to your Canadian account with their online banking services.But their are fees involved there. Some sites do not currently offer ACH or DD to these bank accounts, but I predict that more will offer it as the accounts become more common for Canadian cammodels. If you receive US dollar cheques on a regular basis, find out if your bank offers USD accounts–it may be cheaper to deposit several USD cheques into a separate account, then transfer the money in one transaction if your bank charges fees for currency exchanges. Rolling payments from multiple sites into one payment (and thus one fee hit) with a service like Boleyn Models helps too!
Reduce wait times for payments
Cheques can take forever to arrive. I live in a major Canadian city, but cheques from the US can take anywhere from 2-5 weeks to arrive. When I lived in the UK, cheques took a minimum of 3 weeks to arrive, and on 2 occasions I waited 11 weeks for cheques! Most sites will also charge a reissue fee if a cheque gets lost in the mail and you request to have it reissued. Using options like Paxum and Payoneer come with fees, but you might decide that the reliability of knowing when your pay is coming might be worth it. Wire transfers take 24-48 hours to clear, but steep fees (up to $50 to the site, and anywhere from $15-50 from your bank) make them unattractive for smaller amounts of money. Canadian models can also set up a US account as I mentioned above–ACH and DD take just 24 hours to clear.
Find a point person for site support
Working for a studio like Boleyn Models means that I generally go to them with my site-related problems, and they go to bat for me with the site support, if they can’t answer my question themselves. While working in the UK this was a godsend, as waiting days for a response from support was extremely frustrating. On your own, take note of who you speak with at a site, and jot down their email addresses for future use. You may be able to bypass long support ticket queues by contacting a staff member directly.
Experiment With Your Cammodel Schedule
Camming offers a flexible schedule. One complaint I often hear from international cammodels, though, is that traffic is low during their shifts. Try camming the same times, but in a different timezone. You might find that a particular shift that seems odd in your timezone gets great traffic because it is peak hours in another timezone.
Make The Most Of What You Have
At two of my British addresses, my internet options were extremely limited. My placement on Streamate was consistently far below where the hours and effort I was putting in suggested it could be. Rather than continuing to slog on a site that was built for better tech, I turned to Skype shows and token sites that didn’t require the fastest internet and the perfect picture. Now that I have a better computer and great internet, I’m able to work on Streamate with its high bar for tech. I did just fine on sites that worked with what I had on hand at the time, even if it took a bit more effort to get going.
Working online can seem freeing almost borderless. It’s mostly because sites benefit from having a wide variety of performers online. However I believe that there’s room for improvement in the way international cammodels are treated. As banking and financial institutions become more international, the market for online payments continues to grow. I think non-US models will find that payments become easier. Until then, we’ll continue to find workarounds to reduce fees and delays, and working with Boleyn Models is the best workaround I’ve found thus far.