Sunday, June 30, 2013

#Google and Blogger's new Terms of Service...?

I'm not sure how much longer you will be able to read this.

Or then again, maybe you will...

You will probably already have read of the changed Terms of Service that Google has imposed on Blogger accounts - and noticed a bit of an exodus of 'Adult' blogs to other platforms; it's a case of 'wait and see' as to whether I shall be joining them.

The confusion is in the exact wording of the email that went out to Blog owners. This stated that owners of blogs marked as 'Adult-themed' must remove all commercial links to Adult websites and services, or face deletion. Comment and rumour on the Blogosphere has interpreted this with dire warnings that any Adult site will be deleted, even if it only contains 'review' type links and listings to Kink suppliers etc; others have proclaimed an 'anti-gay' censorship crusade from Google - or simply objected to being restricted on what they can include on 'their' pages.

However, if you check Google's TOS on their own website, the change appears to simply be a clarification of their already existing restriction on making money from Adult content:

Adult Content: we do allow adult content on Blogger, including images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity. But, please mark your blog as 'adult' in your Blogger settings. Otherwise, we may put it behind a 'mature content' interstitial.
There are some exceptions to our adult content policy:
  • Do not use Blogger as a way to make money on adult content. For example, don't create blogs where a significant percentage of the content is ads or links to commercial porn sites.
  • No incest or bestiality content: we do not allow image, video or text content that depicts or encourages incest or bestiality.

That seems fairly clear to me: you can have an adult/fetish/gay site - you've just got to identify it as such, and keep the content within the legal limits (no kids, no animals, no incest, etc). You should also keep the content focused on your own materials - and not see it as a way to rake in some cash through advertising and porn-site linking.

I'm not that sure that we can complain to loudly at that. I mean, Blogger is a free service, provided to enable all of us to share our thoughts, ideas, images and lives. It is a community service, and is not, and was never intended to be, an ad-littered billboard.

To my mind, Blogging should be more akin to PBS than Fox - and so I'm not sure that I'll be too sad to see the back of the sorts of blog that were simply endless trailers from the latest porn release and links to 'pay-for-view' websites that hogged both my screen and my bandwidth.

From the start, I've seen this blog as a way to share my thoughts and experiences with both my Community and the wider world. I've always written, and probably always will - to be able to share that writing here is a bonus and an honour, but I've never thought to try and profit financially by it (true, I've published a book of some of the stories that started life here, but that's a different matter).

I've never had commercial ads here; sure, I link to services that I have used and appreciated, and give reviews of places I've been to and received a welcome, but I see that as a Community service and have never received any kind of remuneration for those links and references - and doubt I would accept it even if it was offered. To do so would feel wrong - like a journalist receiving a backhander for giving a good review.

I just hope that Google will see it the same way...


  1. Ruff!

    Hey, I just wanted to say you still link your book in the side bar. As you book is adult content, and for purchase, it will probably be in violation of the new Blogspot ToS.

    -pup Hunter

  2. Hey pup!

    the link is to Amazon, which isn't an adult site (even if the content of the book is); I don't get paid for the ad (and barely get paid as the author, since it's published by someone else), so I figure that it doesn't contravene the new TOS.

    But, as I say, it's a case of wait and see.


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