Shortly after midnight last night, Google’s Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio posted this semi-retraction of last week’s equally quiet announcement of the #Pornocalypse come to Blogger (Blogspot) blogs:

Hello everyone,

This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.

Blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as “adult” so that they can be placed behind an “adult content” warning page.

Bloggers whose content is consistent with this and other policies do not need to make any changes to their blogs.

Thank you for your continued feedback.

The Blogger Team

This is good news. You might even say it means Google is listening. But I think we can all take away from this a much clearer sense of Google’s corporate direction on adult material.

Smart people who are still using Google’s services for adult content distribution will now, of course, stop doing that. The next time, consequently, there will be less outrage and less backlash. Which means that when Google finally does move to delete the tens of thousands of moribund adult blogs that it threatened to delete this time, only cranks like me who see that material and the links to it as socially valuable will complain.

Note also that this announcement’s breezy summary “our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn” is substantially more broad in scope than the actual policy as of today, which prohibits making money on adult content but which is fine with just posting (for your own enjoyment) as much commercial porn as you want:

Do not use Blogger as a way to make money on adult content. For example, don’t create blogs that contain ads for or links to commercial porn sites.

Don’t be surprised if that wording changes, or if blogs full of commercial porn posted for fun start to disappear. Bets on whether the URL watermark on a commercial porn photo will start being treated as “ads for” commercial porn sites? Of course we’ll never know, because these deletions will not be accompanied by specific reasons, fleshed-out policies, or any meaningful human review or appeal.

But yeah. The Google porn raid siren has gone quiet again for now. Come out from under your desk, breathe a sigh of relief that the bombers aren’t coming on March 23rd, and then move your shit somewhere safe before the next time the damned porn raid sirens go off. Or as A.V. Flox puts it rather more eloquently at Slantist:

We tell ourselves “once on the internet, always on the internet,” like maintaining content is a trivial thing. But it isn’t a trivial thing — at any time, the company that you rely on to keep your content for free could change their policies, or get bought out and change their policies, or decide they want to go public and change their policies, or simply go under and take your content with them.

The longevity of data requires more intent than this. My advice is to seriously consider migrating to a self-hosted site if you can. If you can’t, make sure you export your data with some regularity.

Think of this as your 21st century reminder of a duck and cover drill. DEFCON has gone back up, but the Cold War on adult is far from over.

Similar Sex Blogging: