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.
In concept they have a lot in common with platforms such as Ebay: the seller provides the picture(s), description, and sets the price, a percentage of which is kept by the platform.
By 2007 only Verizon, Sprint and AT&T remained in the chat line business in the U. By 2007 Verizon and MCI had merged and only a few chat line companies remained active as a result.
This is the world portrayed in Spike Lee's movie about phone sex, Girl 6.
In the sex industry, similar platforms emerged facilitating the selling of used panties and other odoriferous garments, and for "cam" video sessions, in which the customer, for a fee, can direct the woman on the video screen, and for a higher fee, have a private connection (no one can see caller or provider except each other).
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 placed the chat line charges on a customer's local phone bill.
If a customer disputed a charge, the telephone company would usually “forgive” the charge but block the caller from calling any other chat lines.
Details vary significantly from one platform to another, but the provider may be given a personal page on the platform to use however she (sometimes he) wishes.