Today was going well, but adult bloggers have just been dealt a huge blow by the powers that be over at Google. Blogger just sent out this disconcerting email:
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.
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. Of course. And of course, we have less than a week to grapple with this.
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. And you know, if I were you, I’d go so far as to save every page of my site.
This is a huge, huge, huge bombshell for sex bloggers trying to survive out there without paying for hosting. Not gonna lie, you guys, shit is looking bleak if you want to continue to blog without paying for it. Here are your options and my suggestions. But honestly, your best bet is option 4 — bite the bullet and go self-hosted.
Option 1: Risk it. Keep trudging along with your current Blogger blog and hope they don’t notice you. But if someone reports you, your content can be removed on a whim. If you go this route, you better keep back-ups of every single post (published or in draft form) that you write, as well as all the images/files used on your site. You should also be constantly saving a .XML back-up of your site in case you need to import it somewhere else later on. Be vigilant as fuck. I am not kidding.
Option 2: Keep your blog on Blogger or move to WordPress.com, but don’t try to monetize at all. Both allow adult content, but they apparently really don’t want you to make a dime from it. WordPress.com does not allow affiliate advertising and now neither does Blogger. 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.
Option 3: Get on Tumblr. Tumblr allows everything, but it has its own issues. Being recently acquired by Yahoo, 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). 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.
Option 4: Go self-hosted. This is the best long-term option (and my god, it is so freeing — I can 80% 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! Use code EPIPHORA to get free domain name registration ($15 value) and $10 off hosting on a 1- or 2-year prepaid hosting plan.
- A Small Orange. Get $5 off with code EPIPHORA. This may be the cheapest solution, but there’s a reason for that — it’s really for small sites that need very little storage space. For $3/month, you get just 250 MB storage and 5 GB bandwidth. To give you some numbers, my site is currently 1.2 GB and burns through 125 GB of bandwidth per month. For a small site, A Small Orange could work. But don’t be surprised if you have to upgrade in the future.
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:
- Moving from Blogger to a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog: An Easy Guide
- Plugin: SEO Blogger to WordPress Migration using 301 Redirection
- Getting Started with Your WordPress Site’s Settings
- If you need help, hire Laura. She knows things. She can soothe your headaches.
- WPBeginner and ManageWP have general WordPress tips
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 do you plan to do about this terrible news? Have any other resources for fellow sex bloggers I should include?