Google's Blogger to delete all 'adult' blogs with ads in three days

Google's Blogger to delete all 'adult' blogs with ads in three days

Summary: Google has given blogs marked 'adult' on its Blogger service until Monday to cease monetizing or face deletion. Untold numbers of angry and panicked users forsee an SEO bloodbath.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Cloud, Google, Legal
34

In three days, Google's Blogger will begin to delete scores of blogs that have existed since 1999 on Monday under its vague new anti-sex-ad policy purge.

On Wednesday night at around 7pm PST, all Blogger blogs marked as "adult" were sent an email from Google's Blogger team.

blogger sex purge

The email told users with "adult" blogs that after Sunday, June 30, 2013, all adult blogs will be deleted if they are found to be "displaying advertisements to adult websites" — while the current Content Policy does not define what constitutes "adult" content.

To say that Twitter ignited with outrage would be an understatement. Blogger users are panicked and mad as hell at Google.

An SEO bloodbath where "porn" people are not treated equally

Google announced in August 2009 that Blogger (originally founded by Twitter's Evan Williams) officially turned 10 years old and had "millions" of blogs.

Since today Tumblr has 118.9 million blogs, it's safe to assume that Blogger is going to erase tens of thousands of blogs (likely many more) from the Internet with next to no notice.

If Blogger deleted most of its NSFW blogs in its purge, it would break more of the Internet than you think. For instance, my personal blog (since 2001) could see nearly 500 "adult" blogspot.com links go dead.

Blogger's email to its NSFW users states,

[...] we will be updating our Content Policy to strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger

[...] If your adult blog currently has advertisements which are adult in nature, you should remove them as soon as possible as to avoid any potential Terms of Service violation and/or content removals.

We have a gigantic range of users on Blogger's NSFW killing floor. It's essential to understand that a good amount of those blogs have had the "adult" label applied to them by Blogger itself, deserved or not.

Currently, Blogger blogs marked as "adult" include personal diaries, erotic writers, romance book editors and reviewers, sex toy reviewers, art nude photographers, film-makers, artists such as painters and comic illustrators, text-only fiction writers, sex news and porn gossip writers, LGBT sex activism, sex education and information outlets, fetish fashion, feminist porn blogs, and much, much more.

What to do if your back is against Blogger's wall

It's safe to say that most of the people who will be affected by this are not tech savvy — this isn't an insult, but people who have Blogger blogs are not going to be techies.

Sex toy reviewer Hey Epiphora wrote in Blogger is leaving adult bloggers out in the cold; what now? (site NSFW),

Adult bloggers have just been dealt a huge blow by the powers that be over at Google. Currently, Blogger allows adult content as long as it is marked as such in your settings. But now they don’t want you to make a cent from an adult blog.

Does this apply to other blogs hosted with them? Nope, just adult ones.

In its post, Hey Epiphora has practical advice for Blogger users who are scared and confused — read it if you're targeted in Google's Blogger crackdown.

Hey Epiphora details options and drawbacks if users stay on Blogger (back up everything), move to WordPress.com (monetizing not allowed), move to Tumblr (its adult blogs are not indexed by Google), and go self-hosted (not free).

In addition to the robots.txt search ghetto, Tumblr TOS have long prohibited the monitization behavior that Google is newly forbidding.

— ErosBlog Bacchus (@ErosBlogBacchus) June 28, 2013

There are just a few days for a lot of people to suddenly learn some new tech, though I fear some people will be overwhelmed in the short time frame, and give up.

Three days for thousands to learn how to export and self-host

Fortunately, there are a few solutions where writers, artists, and, yes, the porny people can move to self-hosted solutions with somewhat minimized headaches.

DreamHost reached out to me on Twitter to say they're simple to use and sex-positive, and are totally happy to take all the business that Blogger is about to throw away — because you know that if given the option, tens of thousands of people would pay Blogger for a premium account to avoid the hassle of packing everything up and moving out by Monday.

DreamHost has a one-click WordPress installation, then instructions for moving from Blogger to Wordpress.

Hostgator has this easy guide, How Can I Transfer My Blogger Site to HostGator Hosting?

GoDaddy is also an option, with one-click WordPress installs and pricing plans with customer support, but keep in mind that sometimes it's a Bad Daddy.

We need to pay attention to the growing censorship of adult cloud content

Since Blogger categorizes everything from 50 Shades reviewers and fiction writers to velvet blacklight painters as "adult", we can only guess what Blogger will qualify as ads that are "adult in nature."

Will this include Amazon Associates links that an erotic author has to her own books?

Will Blogger delete 10 years of work by a naughty-superhero comic artist because she affiliate links to websites that sell passes to view or download her work?

Will sex toy safety reviewers have their blogs removed because they affiliate link to ethical sex toy companies?

And the porn review blog by a woman, aimed at couples, that ad-links to queer feminist porn websites ... will their contributions to the cultural conversations we're all having about these issues be wiped clean, too?

The fact is, no one is making tons of money off porn ads or affiliate links.

The porn ad business has dried up, and the well went dry for affiliate sales off ads years ago.

The same effect that tube sites and filesharing had on the mainstream porn industry has duplicated for online porn ads and porn affiliate revenue sales.

With this move, Blogger — Google — isn't quashing blogs that are raking in the dough; no one is a millionaire from their Blogger porn ads, nor are Blogger users making anywhere near what employees make at Blogger.

Erotic expression is protected speech, and pornography is not illegal.

Blogger/Google is a company, and may do as it pleases with its products — but that maxim is a red herring when cultural shocks like NSA's Prism (domestic spying program) shines a light on the very real role Google embodies as a public utility.

I'd be inclined to think this coming purge is about neither adult themes nor advertisement, but security issues with porn ads that contain malware.

Perhaps it's a convenient combination of security issues and Google making a move closer to Apple — getting rid of things it just doesn't like, changing the application of policy in the middle of the game under the banner of cracking down on porn commerce.

In the end, we remain confused at Google/Blogger's backward steps with its vague aggression on its NSFW users, and oncoming neo-puritan purge.

The change makes me sad. The world is becoming a place where human sexuality and the varied businesses around it are out in the light, where we can decide for ourselves whether or not we are ready for it. Why isn't Google keeping up with us?

Woe to the Blogger user who got this notice but is offline for the weekend, in the hospital or recovering from surgery, has a family emergency, or had the email go into their spam folder.

Topics: Cloud, Google, Legal

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

34 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Dreamhost.. Sex Positive?

    You might want to read Dreamhosts TOS http://dreamhost.com/terms-of-service/

    "PROHIBITED CONTENT AND ACTIVITIES
    Adult Thumbnail Galleries/Banner Exchanges

    You agree not to run a banner exchange, free adult tgp (thumbnail gallery post), or free adult image galleries on your website."

    This is for Shared hosting which is the level of plan that most evicted Blogger customers might use
    SexBytes1
    • Don't mind Violet Blue

      She moans about Google closing down the filth by 'censorship', yet she has no problem censoring this blog here with posts she doesn't like.

      What a hypocrite.
      CaviarRed
      • Violet Blue cannot censor comments...

        most of the writers and bloggers at ZDNet can only edit the article they post, not the comments.
        Wizard57M
        ZDNet Moderator
        wizard57m-cnet
        • I'm not assigned to Violet's blog,

          HOWEVER...when I do happen across offensive posts, such as yours, I may decide to eliminte them, as that is my prerogative.
          wizard57m-cnet
    • Smaller Host

      You guys should really consider a smaller host. They are much more personal to deal with which avoids all the corporate BS. If you contact support@liquidio.net they will gladly work with you to set up a blog or website that is adult related. They have some very powerful servers and don't over provision. They can set up a subdomain for you or you can use your own domain name. You can pick whatever you want such as wordpress, joomla, etc. Their Chicago datacenter is on a 1Gbps internet connection. Highly recommended.
      thomas.m.beaver@...
      • For to mention free

        I forgot to mention, they have a free plan which is just ad supported or you can pay a low monthly fee which is free.
        thomas.m.beaver@...
  • Corporate censorship

    "Blogger/Google is a company, and may do as it pleases with its products - but that maxim is a red herring when cultural shocks like NSA's Prism (domestic spying program) shines a light on the very real role Google embodies as a public utility."

    Great point.

    Also, I made the point years ago that although historically the term "censorship" has technically referred only to government repression and not the choices of a business, when a business becomes as large and powerful as Amazon (the offender in that instance) its arbitrary choices can amount to what I called "de facto censorship"--i.e., the phenomenon that we are increasingly recognizing under the term "corporate censorship." If you stock virtually everything and virtually everyone in the world depends on your services, to exclude someone from participating is an entirely different matter from some little mom-and-pop store deciding not to carry items they disapprove of. The sad reality is that a small number of enormous private companies largely control our world--and with more power comes more responsibility.
    Jeremy Edwards
    • Don't Be Evil :)

      The fact that they needed to have "Don't Be Evil" as a corporate motto should have been the first clue. And the only one we should have needed. I always wondered if either Sauron or Smeagol, upon putting The Ring on for the first time, briefly, before it took over, had a stray thought to the effect of "This maybe isn't going to end so well.". (We know that the other hobbits who had occasion to be in contact with it did have such misgivings.)
      rocket ride
      • You know what dont be evil means?

        Don't be evil means, forgo profits from time to time, sometimes easy legal significant profits if its going to create an unfair situation for another at some point.

        Its evil to be more interested in profit for yourself than the fact its creating a truly unfair situation for another.

        Any company that starts off by saying its never going to be evil is starting off its life by being a liar. How far behind is actual evil at that point?
        Cayble
    • Corporate censorship

      They're always eager to take on the power. The responsibility, not so much.

      One of the problems with fascism (what most folks these days are trying to euphemize under the name 'crony capitalism') is that the line between large corporations and governments inevitably blur-- to the detriment of everyone else. When you see politicians sliding seamlessly into positions in large corporations or CEOs, sliding seamlessly into political office, you know the process is well along. One hand washes the other, with neither being clean to begin with.
      rocket ride
  • What Google Should do...

    I think what Google should do is spin this side of their blog ecosystem off to a third party. I understand that they might want to "clean up" Blogger, but doing so in this fashion strikes me as a somewhat heavy handed way of doing so.
    dsf3g
  • bwahahahahahaha

    I'm laughing at you losers. Blogger owes you NOTHING. Host your own stupid blog.
    NishiHundan
    • Absolutey...

      Yes, agreed. How can this be "censorship" or any other sort of "problem"?

      Bloggers are "scared and confused"? Give me a break... "greedy" is more appropriate.

      It's a business arrangement, if the blogger doesn't like the arrangement then they have every right to go elsewhere. Stop crying and grow up.
      mobicor
  • If no one is making money from the ads

    Then dump the ads.
    big red one
  • Self "decision"??????

    As written: "...where we can decide for ourselves whether or not we are ready for it. Why isn't Google keeping up with us?"
    There is a significant issue not addressed here, and that is at WHAT AGE one may be allowed to "decide for oneself"??? After all, we ALL know that there are no effective age filters on any Internet access... Oh, sure, there may be some lame attempts, probably mostly only in place due to host TOS... But as said, they are truly lame, because any person who wants to can easily bypass them. (AND, if they were truly effective, all the "privacy advocates" would be seriously up in arms!!!!)
    So, come on and recognize that such a concept is about the most lame to exist. Every "adult" site likely has a goal of sinking monetary hooks into every user possible, regardless of whether they made any kind of "self decision" to enter. The author incorrectly ass-u-me-s that the only Internet users must be beyond "age of consent" (whatever THAT means)....

    Oh, and BTW, since there is money at the root, you can be sure a large number of (newly defined) "violaters" will find creative ways to circumvent... So, it may be a momentary inconvenience for some, but in fact hardly resolves any issue.
    Willnott
  • Why oh why!

    I just recently started my adult related blogger site (goddessproductions) and now this happens! I'm angry, even I havent monetized my site any way. Sex is beautiful part of human life and by estimate at least 95-99% of humans practice it. Porn, sex and eroticism are positive forces if people are willingly in it and doesnt be harmed anyhow!

    We need more sex positive big companys!
    Robbie Bambi
  • odd

    While I'm not the biggest fan of the "adult" industry (done more harm than good IMO) - this seems like an odd thing to do. Why forbid monetization? They're not banning the blogs themselves.
    CobraA1
  • Moving my non-adult blogs

    I can't stand entities that do things like this on short notice. I currently host two blogs on Blogger, not because I am not tech savvy (one is a tech blog) but because it was easy at the time and I have just not put in the effort to move them. I have not had a major reason to do so.

    Now I will be moving them because, even though the do not conatin adult content or link to it, if the suddenly decide some political view I may talk about is unacceptable, I don't want to have 3 days to move out.

    I think I may begin to move all of my content away from Google, a company I have long recommended and supported. At the very least, I will no longer be recommending them. This is not the first time that they have made a sweeping change without any concern for the fallout or side impacts. There enough examples of YouTube takedowns that were not legitimate that Google has not cared enough to actually follow up or do the right thing, but instead drag their feet. Why the rush here?

    In short, no more google for me.
    The-Bytemaster
  • Freedom of speech has it's responsibilities

    Does it occur to any of you that are upset about Blogger bidding adieu to adult content, that children, yes children, have access to your materials?

    Does it occur to you that this is a bad idea? Would you willingly show it to your seven year old niece or nephew?

    Yes, sexual activities are a wonderful part of human existence, but doing it in front of children is not a good plan.
    wieloszynski@...
    • Sex or Violence?

      One thing that appals me about modern society is its blatant promotion of violence - movies, games, news, books - and its prudery about sex. 7 year olds can watch violence on TV but a couple making love is forbidden. I can only deduce that the powers that be consider watching people killing other people is good healthy fun but watching love making is going to harm a young child! Another nasty is the way the media associate "sex and violence". I am all for eliminating violence from public distribution but I fail to see what is wrong with sex - after all, the vast majority of us get involved sexually with someone else yet relatively few of us ever encounter serious violence. Any society which glorifies and promotes violence yet considers sexual activity unacceptable, pornographic, immoral or simply wrong is, to put it bluntly, sick.

      I wonder whether Google will be behaving towards blogs containing and promoting violence the same way it's behaving towards blogs containing and promoting sex. I seriously doubt that Google will even consider violence to be a problem.
      JohnOfStony