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Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Adult Content" Blogs, And New Blogger Monetisation Restrictions

This week, we're seeing some reports from a few blog owners who recently received a disturbing email message, mentioning their blogs and adult advertisements.
I received an email stating I have adult content on my blog, and that a new policy will cause certain blogs to be deleted. Is my blog vulnerable to deletion, under this new policy?

Like many spammers, these blog owners may be asking for a whitelisting of their blog - which is something that Blogger just won't provide.

The legendary email, recently received, is somewhat ambiguous in wording.
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 policy discouraging monetised "adult content" blogs is not new - we have actually been warning people about this for years, in the Malware / Spam Appeal Guidelines. We cite the Guidelines a dozen or so times daily, in various malware and spam review discussions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
Blogger / Google has repeatedly stated that some blog content is not acceptable, because it constitutes or encourages abusive activity, such as hacking, porn, and spam, in the Blogger Internet space.

Here is the current list of examples, developed by Blogger / Google, and the Top Contributors of Blogger Help Forum.
  • Affiliate marketing (Please, don't confuse this with "affiliate networking"!).
  • Automated traffic redirection, to another Blogger blog, or to non Google hosted content.
  • Commercially funded adult content.
  • Content created with scripts and programs, rather than by hand.
  • Content or links which reference account hacking / password distribution / password sharing.
  • Content or links which reference code deconstruction / reverse engineering, to bypass normal use of proprietary
  • software.
  • Content or links which reference referral-based activities such as GPT ("Get Paid To"), MLM ("Multi-Level Marketing"), MMF ("Make Money Fast"), MMH ("Make Money from Home"), PTC ("Pay To Click"), or PTS ("Pay To Surf").
  • Content scraped from other blogs / websites.
  • Copyright Infringement.
  • Large blogs with multiple, unfocused / unrelated subjects.
  • Links to Illegal Downloads / Streaming / Torrents.
  • Monetizing of adult content, aka porn spam.

The specific blogs, targeted by the email, are not difficult to identify. "Adult Content" blogs will generally bear an interstitial "Content Warning", awarded either voluntarily or involuntarily.

In odd cases, people may receive the email, but may not have any blogs affected by the policy - and in this case, they will simply have to ignore the email. Blogger Support can only review blogs, when they are actually deleted or locked.

In other cases, people may not receive the email. Just as with malware and spam classifications, all blog owners won't be contactable by email.

If the adult content classifier is designed similar to the malware and spam classifiers, it will use a fuzzy detection process to identify the undesirable "adult content" advertisements.

Since fuzzy malware / spam classification does not support whitelisting, porn classification won't either. Blog owners asking "Is my blog safe?" are unlikely to get any useful answers.

My suspicion is that owners of the most popular and productive "adult content" blogs will move to alternate hosting. Some of them may relocate to WordPress - until WordPress, similarly, rejects them.

Some owners, choosing to remain in Blogger, will take the warning seriously, and remove any ads.
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.
Various possible "adult content" blogs, with and without "adult advertisements", remaining in Blogger hosting, will be classified and deleted, and will result in more reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
Why was my blog deleted?

We'll simply end up with more discussions with requests for review and reinstatement - and more uncertainty. Some blogs will be restored promptly, with others requiring careful deliberation. And some blog owners will simply be told
Sorry, your blog cannot be restored. It was recently confirmed as a adult content host, with unacceptable advertisements.


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