XXX in Tech

Stand Down: Tumblr Denies Putting the Kibosh Specifically on NSFW Blogs

girlnextdoor Stand Down: Tumblr Denies Putting the Kibosh Specifically on NSFW Blogs

A SFW sampling of the NSFW content.

Tumblr has long been a not-so-secret hub for sexy photos. But as the company stumbles to maturity–lo, something that looks like a real monetization plan!–could it be that the steady stream of T&A is not long for this world? TechCrunch reports that three sites in particular–”Art Or Porn?,” “Booty Of The Day” and “TeamPervert.com“– have suddenly and mysteriously gone dark.

Could we have a case of foul play on our hands? Tumblr says nope–just a case of overzealous anti-spam efforts. 

The publisher of Team Pervert told TechCrunch:

“When my site was deleted from Tumblr, I received an automated two-sentence email saying my account was deactivated for ‘spam or affiliate marketing’, which was false. I ran standard ads units on the blog, I had no pop-ups, no predatory ads, no viruses, no creepy affiliate programs. The ads on my blog were no different than the ads on thousands of other Tumblr-hosted blogs today.”

Booty of the Day admitted to dabbling in affiliate marketing, but insisted it wasn’t the main purpose of the site. Art or Porn didn’t respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

However, it might be a little premature to rush to the ramparts to defend Tumblr smut. For one thing, at the risk of outing ourselves as connoisseurs, three explicit Tumblr blogs is a mere drop in the bucket. We also paged back through Betabeat’s roundup of sexy Tumblrs, and only one had disappeared. That sounds about like the natural rate of blog die-off, to us.

We reached out to Tumblr spokesperson Katherine Barna, who told us via email:

There have been no recent changes to our content policies.

However, we have looked into the accounts in question and discovered that they belong to small handful of blogs that had been recently flagged as “spam” by an overzealous heuristic. We are currently reviewing and will be reactivating any of these accounts that were improperly flagged.

In other words: Tag your adult content as NSFW and don’t upload any explicit videos, and Tumblr is cool with it, which seems to contradict the notion the platform should brace for a purge. (Also, if you’ve every done a tag search for “porn,” you’ll understand why the site might be taking an aggressive stance in the war on spam. All we can say is yikes.)

However, watch this space over the next 18 months. The arrival of advertisers does tend to change the dynamic re: raunch.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com