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This bit is interesting, if the claimed causation is true:

In August of last year, its website dispensed with nudity. As a result, Playboy executives said, the average age of its reader dropped from 47 to just over 30, and its web traffic jumped to about 16 million from about four million unique users per month.

I have to call bullshit on this...not that the numbers as reported are wrong, but that the correlation is a causation. There's just no way that a single change from total nudity to very-sexy-poses is going to so drastically change and increase the audience (by 4x!) for a publishing website.

Think about it...how many people knew this change had actually occurred until we read it in the New York Times yesterday? Don't you think that if the change from nudes to non-nudes had been so noticeable that guys would've been telling their friends/bosses/IT people -- "Hey guess what, no more nudity on Playboy.com...we can finally read it at work!"

There must have been some other change, such as a change in editorial (publishing more things, or more junk, or publishing more of its great archive) or business (killing a paywall or obtrusive advertisements) that happened in this time period. Or maybe just a switch in how they measure analytics.

Lately I've been seeing playboy.com links showing up in the kind of places like Facebook where buzzfeed is ubiquitous. People are linking their articles now. I suspect that there are many reasons why this is happening, but certainly the fact that there isn't nudity at playboy.com is definitely a factor.

That was my guess as well, that nudity inhibits "shareability", which is important for traffic nowadays for this kind of publication. Though if this was an overhaul aimed at getting more pageviews by a younger audience, it's also likely there were other content changes at the same time, like type of article being written, which might have contributed as much or more.

The NYT article does mention that they made the change with the intent of making their site more Facebook friendly.

I'll throw in a hypothesis: the change in content may have included a change in tagging, either by Playboy, or by third parties, related to the presence of nudity or other adult content. By changing the rating of the site, Playboy could have easily climbed out of the kid-safe or work-safe or whatever-safe content filter hole it was once in.

The lack of nudity may have taken them off some office firewalls too, not saying that would do it, but it would probably help.

The Wired article says the change was made "in order to be allowed on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter" which led to the increase in audience.


Saying "its website dispensed with nudity" seems misleading, when they just moved all that to a separate (paid) section, IINM.

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