By the end of the 1980s, nearly all of the major local phone companies in the United States, plus the major long distance carriers, were actively involved in the adult chat line business.
The telephone companies would provide billing services for chat line companies.
Originally phone sex services consisted of a managed network of dispatchers (live or automated) and erotic performers.
Performers would come to a studio where they received a cubicle, coaching, and cash incentives to keep callers on the line longer.
Leonard convinced magazine owner Carl Ruderman to purchase more of these numbers and the business began to be successful using the magazine to promote the service.
Leonard herself was surprised at the success of these numbers.
All have some way for a provider to post a picture and some text.
Big platforms as of 2016 are Niteflirt, Talkto Me, and My Phone Site; the latter also includes provision by which a manager, with the consent of the providers, could have a virtual shop with many providers under them. Customers had a variety of payment options, and pages of providers to choose from, sometimes with voice samples available.
When the Internet got relatively mature, sale of any sexual service not involving a minor could be made to anyone not a minor.Verizon provided billing services to calls made in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.AT&T and MCI offered nationwide collection services, with a cap of per call.Typically the telephone companies would bill callers to chat lines and then remit 45% of the money collected to chat line operators.The telephone companies placed the chat line charges on a customer's local phone bill.