Feb 242015
 

I first wrote this post on June 26, 2013, when Blogger changed its content policy in order to prohibit the monetization of adult content. At that point, they still allowed adult content as long as it was marked as such — and as long as you didn’t make a goddamn cent from it. It felt begrudging: “okay, fine, we’ll allow you heathens to exist on our platform, but not if you make any money.”

Fuck you, Blogger

In February 2015, I had to publish an updated version of this post when Google updated their content policy to disallow any blogs containing “sexually explicit” material. It read, in part:

Starting March 23, 2015, you won’t be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.

Note: We’ll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.

. . . If your existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, your blog will be made private after March 23, 2015.

I wrote, “the new policy is worded so broadly that anyone who writes about sex could be susceptible. Sure, it sounds like Google is fine with some nudity, the right nudity, maybe written content as long as it’s not accompanied by “sexually explicit” photos, but that is not reassuring. Judging by the way most mainstream companies enforce ridiculous rules like this one, even sex toy reviewers like myself may be targeted.”

A few days later, Google backpedaled. Oh golly gosh, they just had no idea that people wrote legitimate blogs about sex! So, things are 3% less bleak than they were before. But the sad truth is that this post continues being relevant — and I continue feeling wary about any sex writer using a free blogging platform.

As a sex blogger, here are your options and my suggestions. But honestly, your best best is to bite the bullet and go self-hosted. If you’re in this for the long haul, I promise you won’t regret it. The Google crackdown can always get worse, and who knows what’s next.

First, a few not-so-good options

Option 1: Stick around — and keep back-ups. Keep trudging along with your current Blogger blog and hope the content policy (which allows adult content as long as you don’t try to make money with it) doesn’t change. But if it ever does, you won’t have much time to jump ship and funnel your readers to a new blog. So, you better keep back-ups of every single post (published or in draft form), as well as all the images/files used on your site.

You should also be constantly saving a .XML back-up of your site (which includes all your posts and comments) in case you need to import it somewhere else later on. Also, back your shit up via Google Takeout. Also, back up the Picasa album containing all your blog’s photos. And you know, if I were you, I’d go so far as to save every page of my site.

Option 2: Move to WordPress.com and don’t monetize at all. Like Blogger, WordPress.com does not allow affiliate advertising. So you’ll have to blog without affiliate links and without banner advertisements for sex companies. That’s a pretty shitty deal. I believe you should at least be able to make a few bucks here and there, and there are so many affiliate programs that it’s silly not to join at least a few… if you can advertise them. WordPress also has some restrictions on adult content, and they don’t allow anything “pornographic.”

Option 3: Get on Tumblr. Tumblr allows the most adult content, but it has its own issues. It’s owned by Yahoo, so some are worried that its lax policy for porn could be altered at any moment (although Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has alluded to letting porn be porn). They have suspended the accounts of cam girls with the reasoning that they “do not allow blogs with the primary purpose of affiliate marketing.” This is before you consider that Tumblr is built for microblogging, not full-on blogging. There is a Blogger to Tumblr importer, but I don’t know if it currently works.

Your best bet: go self-hosted

This is the best long-term option (and my god, it is so freeing — I can almost guarantee you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner), but it’s the only one that costs money.

Because we live in this world, even hosting that is friendly to sex bloggers is hard to find. You have to dig deep into each host’s Terms of Service to be sure they allow it (hint: look for the words “adult,” “pornographic,” and “obscene”). Here are some hosting companies that allow us heathens:

  • HostGator is my host. I love them. I’m on the Hatchling Plan, which offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth for one domain. You can get 25% off anytime with code HEYEPIPHORA.
  • DreamHost. They use Who.is privacy protection by default!
  • GoDaddy. Their ads are sexist as fuck and their site is convoluted as shit, but they’re cheap and they allow adult content.

You’re always going to get a better deal if you can pay for more months or years upfront. If you want to pay monthly, you’ll be looking at around $6-9/month, but if you pay for a whole year, it will be lower.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to buy privacy protection, otherwise your name, address, and phone number will be available to anyone who looks up your domain on Who.is. It’s usually $10/year or so. Here’s how to enable it with HostGator and GoDaddy. Do not fake your info instead — that is against the Terms of Service.

You’ll want to install WordPress as your blogging platform. A few resources to help guide you through the migration:

Need more help getting a new blog up and running? Read my guide to sex toy reviewing and blogging (even if you won’t be blogging about toys — there’s useful info there!). And always, if you need help, email me at hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com or grab me on Twitter.

What has been your experience as a sex blogger on a free platform? Did you move to self-hosting? Have any other resources for fellow sex bloggers I should include?

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