This type of distribution was generally free (apart from fees for Internet access), and provided a great deal of anonymity.The anonymity made it safe and easy to ignore copyright restrictions, as well as protecting the identity of uploaders and downloaders.
Usenet newsgroups provided an early way of sharing images over the narrow bandwidth available in the early 1990s.
Because of the network restrictions of the time, images had to be encoded as ascii text and then broken into sections before being posted to the Alt.binaries of the usenet.
Around this time frame, pornography was also distributed via pornographic Bulletin Board Systems such as Rusty n Edie's.
These BBSes could charge users for access, leading to the first commercial online pornography.
The main benefit of TGP/MGP is that the surfer can get a first impression of the content provided by a gallery without actually visiting it.
The most abusive form of TGP is the so-called CJ (abbreviation for circlejerk), that contains links that mislead the surfer to sites he or she actually didn't wish to see. Linklists unlike TGP/MGP sites do not display a huge amount of pictures.
One recent entry into the free pornography website market are Thumbnail gallery post sites.
These are free websites that post links to commercial sites, providing a sampling of the commercial site in the form of thumbnail images, or in the form of Free Hosted Galleries—samplings of full-sized content provided and hosted by the commercial sites to promote their site.
This was possible in the late '80s and early '90s through the use of anonymous FTP servers and through the Gopher protocol.
At this time the internet was mainly an academic and military network and there was not widespread use of the internet.
The con presented a keynote by culture theorist Mark Dery and published a reader about the subject.