You Tube launched its live video service in 2010, followed by Facebook and Twitter in 2015 and Instagram in 2016.

The big social networks have put their money on live video but anyone working in the adult cam industry could have told you: It's been a safe bet for years.

In a rare 2015 interview, Ringley told Gimlet Media's podcast that she found herself at a loss for what to do with her impulse purchase and decided to put her amateur programming skills to the test.

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Despite its success, Ringley took Jennicam offline in 2003, following a sex scandal in which she hooked up with a fellow lifecaster's boyfriend on camera.

The following year Facebook was born and over the next decade, live streaming video would become a cornerstone of mainstream social media.

When Jennifer Ringley picked up a webcam at her college book store in 1996, she had no way of knowing she'd serve as the catalyst for an industry that's been estimated to pull in more than $1 billion in revenue annually.

Just two years earlier, Connectix, a small peripheral maker released the Quick Cam, a digital camera that sat on top of your Apple's Macintosh and delivered 320-x-240 black-and-white images at 15 frames per second for $100.

She appeared in profiles for major media organizations and eventually made a much-cited appearance on David Letterman's show.

But for all of the mainstream hype, Jennicam's appeal was decidedly NSFW.

Kelly Holland, owner and CEO of Penthouse, says beyond driving profits, the adult entertainment industry and social networks are serving the same basic need."Cams are the adult industry's response to Facebook, frankly," Holland says. It became what it was, I would tell you, not through Zuckerberg's brilliance, but because it was just the right thing at the right time.

It was in the pocket for where we were culturally, and where were we.

Early on, she decided to giver her followers unrestricted access to her daily activities, including intimate moments like masturbation and sex.

At its peak, Jennicam attracted seven million visits per day.

For the next seven years, Ringley streamed her daily life, uncut and uncensored for an audience of millions of strangers.