I woke up this morning to discover that Twitter and the adult blogosphere are afire with news of Google’s latest dick move (I can think of no more polite phrase for it). Yesterday they apparently sent a mass email to all of their Blogger/Blogspot bloggers whose sites are flagged as adult (the ones with the click through warning before you can see the content) saying that they will “strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger” after June 30th (just four days from when they sent the letter).
Important Update to Adult Content Policy on Blogger
You are receiving this message because you are the admin of a blog hosted on Blogger which is identified to have Adult content.
Please be advised that on June 30th 2013, we will be updating our Content Policy to strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger. After June 30th 2013, we will be enforcing this policy and will remove blogs which are adult in nature and are displaying advertisements to adult websites.
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.
The Blogger Team
This is HUGE bad news for the spanking blogosphere. It’s unclear how far Google will take “displaying advertisements to adult websites” — but who among us does not link to a spanking pay site from time to time? Does an Amazon affiliate link to a spanking ebook count? There are about fifteen spanking blogs in my sidebar hosted on BlogSpot, and many of them are at risk if they cannot completely overhaul and sanitize their links and banners in the next three days. Do not — I repeat, DO NOT — assume Google will only go after the horrible spammy porn blogs — Google does everything “algorithmically” which means their robot will cue your blog for deletion if it finds even one offending link in a five-year-old post. You can’t expect any advance warning and you can’t expect to appeal the deletion to a human being — Google does not hire humans to do this sort of work. If you host on blogspot.com, take this warning seriously. Can Google’s robots reliably tell the difference between an affiliate link and an unpaid link credit that you put in to a spanking paysite because you were posting one of their pictures? I would not count on it. I would not. What I tell you three times is true: I would not.
What’s more, if you’ve been doing this for awhile you doubtless know there are a ton of old spanking blogs (no longer updated) that linked to you years ago. Those links have been important to your page rank and search engine traffic even if the blog themselves are long dead. Who is going to update those long-dead blogs? Nobody, that’s who. And so many of them will be going away soon. Expect your traffic to decline accordingly.
According to the comments at ErosBlog, the link for backing up your Blogspot blog (so that you could, hopefully, move it to your own domain that you control) is here: Import And Export Blogs. A sex-toy blogger who is on this story has this advice for you, and I would take it word-for-word:
First things first: if you currently have a sex blog on Blogger, go back it up right this instant. Yes, now. Stop reading this, leave it in another tab, go into your Blogger dashboard and export your blog. The .XML file that you get will contain all your posts as well as the comments associated with them, but it won’t be of much use to you until you need to import it somewhere else. Still, GET IT. Also back up the Picasa album containing all your blog’s photos.
That’s vitally important. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. If you’ve got the XML file on your hard drive, getting your blog back online is fairly easy for someone who knows how (and if you have to, you could hire that person). Back up your blog, right now. Seriously.
One piece of advice for folks who are moving: consider not moving to another free blogging service. This sort of thing appears to be a trend; if the service you move to allows adult blogs this week, they might not allow them next week. (ErosBlog summarizes this corporate trend away from adult-friendly free services as “The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All.“) I’ve seen a bunch of spanking bloggers talking about moving to WordPress.com or Tumblr, but those are emphatically not adult friendly. Tumblr puts all its adult blogs in an invisible search ghetto, and tends to delete blogs with affiliate links even though the TOS only prohibit blogs deemed “primarily for affiliate purposes” or some such. And this kinky blogger’s bad experience with WordPress.com should be all the warning you need to stay away from them. Get your own domain and your own paid hosting account, people! It doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s the only way to be safe.