Human dispatchers — female, except for gay male phone sex — answered the advertised phone numbers, processed payment via credit card, chose who of the available performers in the dispatcher's judgment best matched the clients' fantasy (grandma, black girl, college girl, etc.), and connected the client with the provider. Either could hang up, though some services put economic pressure on providers not to do so.Originally, per-minute billing was provided by phone companies (in the U. There was, from some services, an attempt to keep the caller aroused but short of orgasm, so he would spend more money.Leonard herself was surprised at the success of these numbers.Originally phone sex services consisted of a managed network of dispatchers (live or automated) and erotic performers.
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.
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The editor of High Society magazine, Gloria Leonard, is credited with being one of the first people to use "976 numbers", then "900 numbers" for promotional purposes and soon as a revenue stream in the adult industry.
Leonard recorded her own voice informing callers of the contents of the next issue of High Society magazine before its publication.