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Pornhub wants to buy Tumblr (arstechnica.com)
385 points by AdmiralAsshat 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 188 comments

If I were Pornhub, I'd really low-ball them. After all Verizon wrote down the purchase by 30%? [0] and I'm sure they just want rid by now. So between 10% - 50% is a good offer.

On Pornhubs side, it's essentially a steal. They could very well foster a good atmosphere when it comes to porn and then offer through their mindgeek advertising platform access to Tumblr for their marketing affiliates.

These marketing affiliates spend ALOT of money on ads and it's very profitable if you know what you are doing.

If they started to get their own studios or their affiliates in creating films (actresses) in the recording space to use Tumblr to blog and not use twitter. Again, this would drive engagement by quite a margin.

There is so many things Pornhub could do here to make hundreds of millions off the back of Tumblr and they have the management to do it.

[0]: https://www.businessinsider.com/verizon-looking-sell-tumblr-...

Also, the whole issue that sparked Tumblr's decision was illegal content, and Pornhub most likely has the resources and technical capability to detect and remove it quickly, whereas Tumblr was a ghost town of moderation that attracted the worst types of content.

Of course, Tumblr needed a sheriff but they chose a nuclear weapon and the rest is history.

Tumblr has the resources and technical capability to detect and remove illegal content quickly, and the resources to identify adult content in general. I firmly believe that the issue is in monetizing the adult content, which Yahoo, Oath, and Verizon did not seem to want to do. By removing it, you don't have to host it anymore, and a greater proportion of your traffic is monetized.

>I firmly believe that the issue is in monetizing the adult content, which Yahoo, Oath, and Verizon did not seem to want to do

Working in the adult content space will get your business blacklisted from mainstream content. No one is going to have official relationships or work on exclusive deals for your platform if their content is going to be side by side with pornography, or even perceived to be alongside it.

Illegal content? I am under the impression that it was more about the advertiser unfriendly content.

There is more illegal content on pornhub then any other site.

Citation needed

Isn't Pornhub filled to the brim with illegal content as it is?

by illegal, I believe the poster was mostly referring to child or violent content as opposed to copyright.

My understanding is that they and their subsidiaries actually own a lot of the content that you're probably thinking is "illegal" or "copyright infringing" [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MindGeek

I've seen a lot of like "boutique" porn videos on PornHub that seem to have come from small-ish porn sites. Don't really know if PornHub owns the rights to those. Also, I've also seen some foreign porn flicks there and I also had my doubts about those.

I'm actually confused why everyone in this thread is saying PornHub is full of illegal content.

First, they have tons of verified accounts with revshare ala YouTube monetization at the same or better rates / view.

Second, MindGeek owns all the tube sites and all the premium sites. Them and advertising networks like TrafficJunky are the equivalent Google Ads for the adult industry.

The premium sites are heavily affiliate marketed to the tune of mid $xx per free signup, or $x per email, or massive mid xx% rev share for life of a paid signup.

MindGeek and the premium sites give out all the content or upload themselves the content on the tube sites.

Furthermore most videos and metadata is syndicated through standard feeds so all the tube sites have the same stuff.

Just standard funnel / marketing / sales process.

I am not making judgement on any actually illegal content that might be there or actually copyrighted stuff; but really it seems the vast majority of it is allowed to be there.

Most people don't know that MG owns most of the industry. They've done a really good job making sure no one looks behind the curtain.

They’ve even achieved regulatory capture. The UK has a law coming into effect that will require porn sites to require ID-based age verification; MindGeek is naturally the primary company developing such a system: AgeID.

do you (or does anyone here) know why Pornhub isn't also filled with non-pornographic content? Is it hard to publish on it? Do they "censor" non-pornographic content?

I mean that it would be a natural place for people to publish all kinds of videos if they didn't like another video platform and didn't mind having their videos surrounded by pornography, and especially if they didn't care about monetization.

but it doesn't have anything at all. For example try searching for "review" and you will (NSFW obviously) get a page full of actual reviews: of sex toys, only. Nothing else. click around all you want, it will only be sex-related.

Why is this? any other platform you can think of has parts that are just using the platform as a technical solution for distribution and not really on brand for that platform.

maybe I'm wrong but I've looked a few times but can't find anything. how does this happen?

Some gun vloggers were talking about moving to a porn site after Youtube banned them, but I don't know if anything came of it.

There's also a Pornhub meme community. Brightly colored videos of dancing Shrek heads and so on - on Pornhub!

But I don't think there are many non-pornographic content creators who want to publish to a porn site.

InRange TV (Ian from Forgotten Weapons and a couple other guys) posted a couple videos there during the threat of bans from YouTube. I don't know if they've posted any others since they were never banned and their audience on YT is so much larger. It'd be interesting to see if the videos are still up or if they were removed.

The old videos are still up, but they mostly stopped uploading new videos to it a while back. It was discussed in the January Q&A. They're still uploading to bitchute and full30.

I just searched for "InRange TV" and just saw a page full of porn only. So I guess PH removes non-pornographic content.

Verizon wrote off the $5 billion Yahoo purchase, and basically values it at $200 million now.


So much for Verizon's content empire. And to think this was the reason they began putting super-cookies into everyone's computers. Good riddance!

It doesn’t specify exactly what they value Yahoo at. Just that the brand value of all of Oath is $200M now. Brand value isn’t all value.

On the other hand, when I'm wanting to browse my Tumblr feed in public, I'm not mad keen on seeing Pornhub-style ads. Some of the existing perfume ones were bad enough with their half-naked models.

I'd hope they'd be smart enough to not drive away their existing sfw userbase by cross contaminating the ads.

If there’s one thing PornHub is good at, it’s generating positive PR for itself. I’m always very impressed how much of Reddit - often very skeptic all about corporate manipulation- will roll over to have its tummy tickled by Pornhub.

I always giggle at the concept that Reddit is anti-corporate, because they are the easiest people to advertise to if you do it correctly. Generally speaking, they already pre-assemble into groups that are very often themed by patronage to the Corporate Gods (marvel, GoT, video games, whatever), and it becomes their entire identity.

Yesterday Youtube switched me over to this model. On the home page now it primarily recommends subscribing to "topics" rather than individual channels. For example, I regularly look up recipes on Youtube, so it has suggested I subscribe to the "cooking" topic as opposed to Alton Brown, Tasty, etc.

I have two "modes" though which I use Youtube. The first is searching for the answer to a specific question such as how to change the radiator on my car or a good blueberry pie recipe. The second is I might enjoy a particular "personality" like Joe Rogan or Jimmy Dore. I don't want to subscribe to car/cooking topics. Nor do I want to subscribe to MMA, general politics, or general comedy. This new model doesn't work for me. I wonder if I will be converted eventually.

I found out recently that four of top six "channels" on YouTube (ranked by the number of subscribers), are actually topics: music, gaming, movies, and sports. https://socialblade.com/youtube/top/100/mostsubscribed

The new topic sounds more like watching a TV channel (and existing "channels" are like individual TV shows?)

If topics were like radio stations for videos or music (i.e. genre based topics), I would use that.

I generally use YouTube as a reference book, where I look up some information. The exception is music, where I treat it more like a radio station.

These YouTube topics are hilarious, I regularly get the recommendation for the "Pets" topic filled with cooking videos.

But content-wise, it does not feel much different than the usual "recommended videos" section.

Easy to advertise to sure, but easy to sell to? Not so sure.

Reddit has quite a few blind spots when it comes to obvious advertising. Disney properties get a free pass, for example.

Advertising is so ubiquitous on Reddit that you almost do it a disservice by enumerating one example.

But something that makes me roll my eyes the hardest is when an indie dev makes a single post to /r/gaming and the gamers complain about advertising. As if that subreddit isn't one constant advertisement for the top three games out at one moment. But just launder your ads and gamers eat it up.

A dev posting their own content for once should be some of the most welcomed content. It's usually accompanied by Q&A and insights into the design process, the rare opportunity to actually talk to the creator of a game on that subreddit. Sad to see so many people attack it because it's just obvious advertisement.

Something seems very miscalibrated.

> A dev posting their own content for once should be some of the most welcomed content. It's usually accompanied by Q&A and insights into the design process, the rare opportunity to actually talk to the creator of a game on that subreddit. Sad to see so many people attack it because it's just obvious advertisement.

I disagree with this. There are thousands of Indie developers out there trying to win the game programming lottery, and the main tool at their disposal is posting on sites like reddit or spamming on twitter. The result is that most of this content is low quality and of little interest to the broader gaming community.

To put it differently, for every Vlambeer there are legions producing low quality spam that no one wants to see.

https://www.reddit.com/r/hailcorporate started to gain some momentum and was killed fast.

My guess is that the professional community, people that earn money manipulating/contributing paid-content to Reddit, is quite big. Or, at least, their impact is really big. Most people are just readers and Reddit professionals have time, motivation and knowledge to game the system.

I have fun reading Reddit. And I read it very often. But, I do not trust all the enthusiasm about any movie/service/app or similar that the community generates. It is usually over the top and not very useful to actually get a good idea of the quality of such a product.

I think that as a society we need to develop new mechanisms to deal with the situation. Probably regulation is one of them. But, for people to able to understand that not everything in the internet is true is also important. It will take time, people still think that reality shows are real, but I think that is feasible.

> https://www.reddit.com/r/hailcorporate started to gain some momentum and was killed fast.

Killed how? They've got 168,000 subscribers and seem to be fairly active.

Socially killed. It was turned into a joke quickly, and most people seem to roll their eyes and mumble something about tinfoil hats whenever astroturfing is brought up.

They became a meme.

> [...] and was killed fast.

I'm /r/OutOfTheLoop... what happened that Hail Corporate was killed?

It appears to be open, the most recent post was 27 minutes ago. I'm not sure what OP is referencing.

they're prone to making conspiracies, a lot of r/conspiracy type people there

> what happened that Hail Corporate was killed?

As has happened with other subs, it began to be full of extreme opinions on one side and the reasonable posts were downvoted in the other.

So, you end up with a toxic environment where it is difficult to have a rational conversation.

I am really grateful for the moderation done in Hacker News. I have seen also that kind of strategy tried here. Controversial posts being promoted to the main page and fake extreme opinions show up in the comments. But, the post is flagged a later removed. That stops the anger to spread to real users.

Reddit is one of the easiest places to game because you just have to spend a few minutes skimming through topics to see what that sub will respond to well, then play wolf in sheep’s skin.

Both Pornhub and Disney have entertained and benefited many reddit users over the years. By that measure, haven't they earned that goodwill?

I'd argue, between the two companies, a significant portion of my free time over my life has been spent consuming their content.

Hey, it's porn. It basically sells itself.

Ala Wendy's social media. It only works with a certain demo that's very loud on the internet, but boy does it work.

I think it's same phenomenon that benefitted Google pre-turning-evil. Redditors - and most other netizens - hate corporations for their actions and shared values, so if you make a big show of shitting all over one stereotypical corporate value (pandering to moral guardians or being evil in general), people are much more likely to belive you when you claim (or imply) that you don't care about other corporate values.

There's some overcorrection due to wishful thinking and overestimating the difficulty of lying, but the underlying reasoning is mostly valid.

I hope they succeed.

Tumblr is not really my thing and neither is porn, but I have been dismayed by the seeming trend to criminalize and stamp out all expressions of consenting adult sexual behavior on the internet. It would be nice to see some successful push back.

How is porn criminalized? If anything, it's the opposite.

Pornstars are heroes for kids nowadays, we should be trying to avoid kids getting their sex education from PornHub, not favor even more exposure.

I didn't say porn was being criminalized.

Just curious, can you give me a list of good resources for sex education?

I can't, I'm 37 with no kids.

I can tell you that PornHub isn't one of them, though.

Everything I've ever read indicates that the widespread and ready availability of porn serves as excellent sex education. It is considered to be responsible for the end of the "That's not my bellybutton!" type joke levels of lack of basic knowledge of how sex even works at all. Its availability also has been shown to reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

There are certainly downsides. For example, it can lead to various unrealistic expectations concerning looks and predilections of a partner.

But my understanding of life, the universe and everything is that porn serves to fill a much needed role in basic sex education that we have yet to find another way to fill. Furthermore, comments here suggest that bringing back NSFW Tumblr will be different from actual commercial porn. The manner in which it is likely to be different is likely to be a positive antidote to some of the problems porn does have.

NSFW Tumblr is likely to be ordinary people expressing themselves without looking or acting like porn stars. It is much more likely to provide realistic expectations for what a partner is likely to look like, as well as serve as a space for personal exploration for sexual expression.

Everything I've read points to kids thinking that sex is not sex without a facial, gangbangs are normal, and women are objects.

I got particularly sad when I read about that Australian 16-year-old that has to shit in a bag for the rest of her life because she and her friends wanted to re-enact a rought-sex gangbang they saw on PornHub.

I also don't think porn explains what and where a clitoris is, or maybe we're watching different kinds of porn.

How much education do you really need for safe sex?

I was molested for a few years as a child. I ended up suicidal and frigid.

I spent a year in therapy in my teens and 2.5 years in my twenties. I read stacks of research-based books to educate myself.

It took me decades to learn to have sex safely without being some man's victim.

More than the public school system provides in things like abstinence only states.

Knowing how birth control works is important. Knowing how STDs are transmitted: also important.

Knowing that you can, in fact, get pregnant even when the girl is on top: important.

These are things not understood by children who go through the public school systems in some of the less liberal states.

More education is never a bad thing. Especially in a topic this important

Maybe not criminalised per se, but for instance the UK has been restricting porn access, blocking certain websites. And with the new Porn ID, they want to further ban certain sex practices in porn.

Alright, but that's in the UK.

In Muslim countries it's illegal.

I was discussing companies who use Tumblr for official communication, like System76 and NPM, on another story earlier this week, and how it's cringy and not a good look IMHO. (My comment was flagged for some reason despite having 5 points and 8 replies. How does this site work?)

I hope PornHub does buy Tumblr! Can you imagine how quickly all the corporate blogs would scramble off of the platform to avoid association with a porn site!?

I don't think most people associate Tumblr with porn. If you weren't searching for it, you weren't likely to find it.

I used Tumblr, and didn't know it was used for porn until the complaining when Verizon banned it.

In my circles, it’s been a running joke since about 2014 that the porn was the only quality content left.

Like I said, if you weren't searching for it, you wouldn't normally find it. Probably applied to other content there as well.

My point is not that Tumblr is necessarily all porn in terms of content. It's that if it's owned by a porn company, other companies wouldn't want to be associated with it.

Why is it cringy? It's an easy way to host a blog. I'd rather any company focus on their main business rather than futz around with blog hosting.

My impression (perhaps outdated) is that making the blog part of your primary domain (e.g. www.company.com/blog) is a better strategy for improving search engine traffic.

It's cringy because it's unprofessional and amateurish. Not to mention that you only have a certain amount of control over your content and hence your SEO.

For example, how would you like it if "beyoncescock" or "dildoreo" (both real usernames, by the way) were to reblog your serious announcement from your serious company? Now those usernames are associated with your company's name when you search for it on the web.

Medium would be a better place to host a corporate blog. When I think Tumblr, I think porn not corporate blogging. Although to be honest, that image is fairly recent for me. I only heard about the depths of Tumblr porn after it died.

I would argue the exact opposite. Tumblr is pretty agnostic when it comes to the way your content is presented, you can even hide all social features without a problem. I roll my eyes when I see a serious company using Medium as its blog platform, with its absolutely obnoxious "haha lets make it official ;)" popups.

You still really think that? I am not so sure. A self-hosted blog, e.g. Ghost, is much more user-friendly. The amount of popups before you can read an article on Medium is embarrassing. That "You have a moment?" is really getting old. Besides, I can't remember last time I read a quality article on there.

tumblr is (was) dual-use. so are twitter and reddit by the way.

It's like saying corporations don't want to associate with the internet because there's porn on it.

It's an easy way to host a blog, but so was Livejournal. The connotations are similar too.

Do you feel the same way about companies that use Twitter for official communication?

People in the replies are missing my point. It's not that Tumblr's content is porn or that Tumblr is associated with porn _right now_. It's that Tumblr will absolutely be associated with porn if a porn company buys it. And these various companies will abandon ship in order to avoid association with a porn company.

Off topic: I am genuinely curious, why doesn´t Pornhub create a Youtube competitor? it is probably the best positioned company on earth to do so. Any info as to why they haven´t done it or why it would be bad idea for them to do so?

Someone brought up the same question on /r/showerthoughts on reddit, and one of the Pornhub employees said that there had been internal talks about it, especially after Youtube started demonetizing tons of channels, but they weren't actively developing anything. The main issue I can see would be advertisers not wanting to be associated with the brand, even tangentially. YouPorn had sponsored an esports team that ran into issues being allowed to tournaments because the tournament sponsors didn't want their brand name to be presented alongside a porn site.

I mean, the biggest issue is saying the team is affiliated with a porn site. But if "MindGeek" sponsored an eSports team, my guess is most people would be fine with it, in part because they didn't know that it was a company that owns porn sites.

While obviously they'd restore adult content to Tumblr, my guess is they'd keep Tumblr as a somewhat mainstream brand, and not let it be too directly associated with their existing properties to maintain mainstream appeal. A YouTube competitor would fall along the same lines.

It would get out though. There'd be a lot of hoops that PornHub would have to go through to make a wholly owned subsidiary they could use to spin-up a YouTube/Vimeo like platform on and it not come back to pornhub in the PR/advert sense.

Although we all know a few people here and there who don't know YouTube is owned by Google, the majority of people do understand the YouTube + Google/Alphabet relationship.

> the majority of people do understand the YouTube + Google/Alphabet relationship

I think this is very tech centric view. I asked my wife (tech savy enough but doesn't work in the industry) and she didn't have any idea who owned Youtube, and had never heard of Alphabet.

I know it's only one data point, but I think it's easy to be blinkered when actually the truth is probably that most people outside of tech have no idea about tech company relationships.

The eSports team was "Team YP" and there was no explicit or even suggestive reference to YouPorn on the website or jerseys.

I mean you can spin up a new company that brands differently but uses their hosting infrastructure.

Assuming you are wondering why they don't create a non-porn video site, the reason is that these sites live off ad revenue, and mainstream advertisers don't want their brand associated with porn.

If that's so ironclad, then how do porn video sites stay in business?

Advertising is not the only way to generate revenue, and even if they want to go the advertising route, there are non-mainstream advertisers that may be interested.

A lot of these site (like RedTube and such) originally just posted videos and straight up violated copyright claims until they got DMCA takedowns. Eventually they started workout out deals with the studio for low-quality version and clips, sharing revenue for people who clicked through to buy full or HD versions.

Then eventually the big studios just started buying the toob sites and cut out the middle. Most of them serve a subset of studio content or clips. Tumblr's limited video size/length really helped contribute to this model. Most people watch the clips, but the people who buy can get sucked into a lot of hidden subscriptions they forget to uncheck, or even direct up-selling they'll intentionally select.

Actually it was the reverse, the MindGeek guys started buying out paysites, then studios after devaluing the content via their free tube.

Porn video sites stay in business by not competing with YouTube, accommodating content and advertisers that YouTube doesn't want. What kind of content are you or the grandparent commenter looking for this theoretical new site to host?

> What kind of content are you or the grandparent commenter looking for this theoretical new site to host?

I mentioned it in a different comment: I miss the content that YouTube used to have before they started punishing the stuff that advertisers objected to (through demonetization and refusal to recommend them).

Far too many YouTube channels now are clearly walking on eggshells and being very careful about what they say and do. It makes the videos less interesting and informative and more like traditional broadcast TV.

There are still channels that don't sweat demonetization at all, and those tend to be the only ones I watch anymore, but they're getting few and far between.

So true. I keep seeing vodeos where the host censors even remotely-triggering words and sentences.

Is it worth it to compete with YouTube though? We've heard about how YouTube didn't make Google money in the past. Now we even had news about how the way they handled YouTube caused the evaluation of the company to drop by $70 billion. So the question is whether it would be worth it to even try.

Is it worth it to compete with YouTube though?

The issue with YouTube in recent years, is that it's been treating its content creators and viewers as "product" and the advertisers as the users. YouTube has been pandering to executives in media and their particular thought bubbles while throwing users and content creators under the bus. (Or doing things specifically to increase centralized control for the sake of pandering to advertisers, to the detriment of users and content creators.)

Pornhub could well do better. (Or they could repeat the same mistakes.)

YouTube is still very permissive about what content can be uploaded. What type of content can be monetized has changed.

Advertisers don't want their brand associated with content they find questionable. They pulled their advertising or at least threatened to. This lead to the "Adpocalypse".

A lot of creators argue that content is unfairly or incorrectly demonetized. That's an area where a competitor could improve. The competitor would still have to deal with the fact that advertisers are sitting on the money and want a say in how their ads are showing up.

Is it really the advertisers or is it activists pushing the advertisers? The adpocalypse started with activists.

Ads are, I would assume, a minority of PornHub's income. There's also a premium feature (like YouTube Red), uploaders can set a price tag to view a specific video, receive tips, and link to external payment services in their bio.

The problem is that there are activists who campaign to get advertisers to leave platforms that host certain types of content. Eg sleeping giants. This means that YouTube has to either start removing content those activists don't like or they have to start courting those advertisers themselves.

Maybe worth a try. Sometimes one business fails to find the right recipe/market but another might very well do.

I Think we're approaching a time where it will be honourable to use a competitor to a shit behemoth, and will engage a following more.

I fail to parse your sentence 'to a shit behemoth' ?

a competitor to a behemoth that is shit, sorry, reads awkwardly!

General purpose video hosting is very different from porn video hosting. Pornhub uses a ton of dark patterns and outrageous advertising that's accepted for porn but would not fly outside of that.

PornHub is a Youtube competitor, as long as you want porn. Trying to expand beyond that seems like it would be off brand.

It could maybe expand into other "not safe for work" media like explicit music, gun videos, and stuff that generally isn't allowed on Youtube?

PH already has paying premium users, so maybe would be just something to keep them on PH-related websites through the end of their refractory period, hopefully directing them back to PH when they start getting horny again

I would pay for a non-porn video site that was like YouTube used to be before Google started cracking down on content advertisers didn't like.

If you mean “ad free” I’m totally with you.

Obviously they have video hosting infrastructure expertise but product-wise there’s not great overlap with YouTube from either the user or advertiser perspective imo. Facebook is probably the best positioned company to create a YouTube competitor if they wanted to.

Starting something like a YouTube competitor would be a PR nightmare. How profitable is YouTube for Google that it makes sense to launch a competitor?

Does YouTube need to be profitable? Alphabet is big enough that they could afford to operate a few services at a loss.

It's certainly something to keep in mind during the market research phase, but I don't think this means that all the possible competitors are destined to lose money if they make an attempt at competing.

Why is it the best positioned company on earth to do so?

Because it probably has the knowledge and infrastructure in place to do so. At least, that's what I inferred from the statement.

I agree, I just don't think it's the best positioned to compete with YouTube

1. YouTube is being an * with content creators (See MonkeyJones ban and other creator permantly removed) 2. YouTube rewind was a mess 3. Competitors are better for consumers (and many competitors aren't in position to defeat YouTube)

These are things that are bad about YouTube, but not why Pornhub is #2 ... Facebook/Instagram/Twitter definitely have a better shot.

> Facebook/Instagram/Twitter definitely have a better shot.

They would just clone youtube—they have the exact same relationship with advertisers. I don’t see that gaining any traction.

Cloning YouTube is foolish. The future is decentralization. Another example of this is how Gab tried to just be twitter for conservatives without actually doing anything new, whereas the fediverse takes the power away from one company/server and makes it easy to host your own instance with rules of your choosing. On the video side we've got PeerTube and a few others. I'm hesitant to list a bunch without recalling their exact feature set, but there's also DTube and BitChute.

Verizon and Tumblr are so poorly matched. Pornhub would be a much better home for it.

Definition of "porn" is too much different for Pornhub and Tumblr. For former, it's kafkaesque-lovecraftian movies with Hollywood-level effects depicting impossible forms of multi-person sexual intercourse, for latter it's usually just photos of women with uncovered breasts.

I can't remember seeing "real porn" on Tumblr.

There was plenty of hardcore porn tumblr. But I agree, many of people posted softcore on their main blog, but it was rare to see hardcore reposts on someone's discourse blog.

My ex-girlfriend was a pretty active pornblogger on Tumblr(her own content and reblogging other stuff before it got shut down), believe me there was a pretty big porn community on there, although it's broken down into pretty specific niche categories(like DDLG, CNC, BDSM, etc), but within those niches there's lots of active content creators that are pretty well-known within their little Tumblr social circles.

warning possible triggering content ahead Example, this one guy ran a blog called "Rapebait Academy"(CNC fetish, Google if you're interested I'm not gonna get into that here) where he could post pictures and videos of him with the girls he would meet of Tumblr and what they got up to together(with their consent of course). And anyone who was involved in that little community on Tumblr knew the guy and who you were talking about if you mentioned his name, or at least his blog.

So there's definitely people interested in making content on the platform, people interested in consuming the content, and there's always gonna be people willing to pay out the nose for personalized niche specific content, which will be easy given how Tumblr is a directly creator-to-user platform.

There is clearly a market for tublr style porn, and it is a market that most of the industry refuses to touch.

Pornhub is leveraged to overcome most of the difficulties in that market, which makes tumblr more valuable to them than it is to most companies.

Put another way, most buyers would proceed to (continue to) destroy a significant portion of tumblrs value in order to be willing to operate it. Pornhub would not.

pornhub is one of Mindgeek's properties. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MindGeek I've never understood their business model - they seem to host endless illegally uploaded porn yet more and more porn seems to be being created. Not clear where the money is made ultimately. Mindgeek dominate the online porn world which gets huge traffic. https://www.pornhub.com/insights/2018-year-in-review Tumblr was historically another repository of illegal uploads of other people's adult materials.

I thought Slate or someone did a story on this - by making porn so easily available they make the market for performers low, they can lowball the creatives who appear on camera/make the videos, and also make money on the advertising on the illegally uploaded porn.


It looks to me that they make money by upselling casual porn watchers to paying for live performances, premium stuff, etc.

If you're interested, you should find Jon Ronson's podcast on the topic. It's a finite series of shows called "The Butterfly Effect", and it covers what happened to the porn industry as it was overrun by Mindgeek. If I remember correctly, the gist is that the consolidation of the industry drove down rates for production and pushed a lot of participants into independent projects like custom videos.

Yes the economics of this industry are really puzzling to an outsider. As someone who has tried running ads on these properties it’s hard for me to imagine how anyone is making money in this business. And yet...

My guess is the sheer volume of traffic they get makes it appealing for certain advertisers. Throw in the upselling to premium features and that they don't have to pay much if anything for the actual content, and there's probably some pretty good money to be made.

Do you think it is possible that making money is not their primary motivation?

It's basic freemium. They own the tubes and the content producers. Give away a lot for free, offer premium stuff.

It's not illegally uploaded, MG owns most of the underlying copyright, and they do revenue share with others.

People pay.

Exactly. Porn has always led some form of tech innovation.

PornHub now offers purchasable videos now competing with manyvids who owned the space before.

There is also a premium subscription ala Twitch with monthly recurring. Live, a chaturbate competitor, with tokes and everything.

Really they are a huge industry powerhouse with a large marketing and PR department. They are also pretty good with tech. It reminds me of how Netflix or Facebook stumbled into being a top tier tech company just due to business needs.

Over a decade ago, I recall the studios that produce feature films for DVD or other high quality productions complaining that MindGeek (they had a different name back then) were either turning a blind eye to or very slow to react to DMCA notifications submitted by these studios. Over time, MG were able to buy out many of their former competitors so now they do own the copyright for a lot of the content uploaded to tube sites.

This is in a way a variation of what Playboy did for porn back in the day. You claimed to read it for the articles (and the writing was good) but got to glimpse at porn as well. With tumbler quite possibly pornhub is wanting to do the same thing. In other words give people a legit reason to use tumbler (content that is non porn) so they can sneak a peek at porn. Now they can't do that now with pornhub (at least under that brand and domain) and even if they started a new brand from scratch how would they build up non porn ('the articles') content. If the price is right (big if) no doubt this is a legitimate strategy.

It'd be interesting to see if Verizon will take their money. I could see a lot of their executives being squeamish about it.

Has Verizon ever been squeamish about taking money before? As far as I can tell, they exist to make money for their investors. If selling to PornHub removes the debt off their books I can't see what possible blow back the company would suffer.

Really? that kind of puts them on a tough spot, between not willing to sell tumblr and letting it get overrun by porn bots...

Why's that? Verizon already sells porn.

Care to elaborate on this point?

Verizon (cable specifically) already sells "adult content" in the form of premium channels, like most cable providers in the U.S. In fact they have defended carrying of such channels by saying consumers want the choice. While they don't produce it, they are certainly making money off of it and defending the choice to do so.

See https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/verizon-defends-decisi...

Well, there's "adult content" and then there's porn. The stuff on cable channels is pretty much "soft core" which stops just short of a certain line. I guess that's how they can defend it.

Pay-per-view hardcore content is a thing. They make bank on it.

Adult pay-per-view content & channels on their FiOS platform.

I think Tumblr is a lost cause. The younger generation has shifted to Instagram/OnlyFans and Reddit for their porn fixes.

Why don't they just have their engineers create their own Tumblr clone? Tumblhub or Tumhub or Pornblr. It would probably be cheaper than buying Tumblr.

I might get downvoted for this, but...I can't believe you didn't think of the name "Cumblr"

-spits out energy drink all over my keyboard-

....Thanks for that.. LOL

Pornhub, Tumblr, and the rest of the Internet: Causing various fluid spills onto keyboards, since the late 20th century.

Tumblr already has an existing user base and all the content (nsfw stuff was make inaccessible but not deleted)

For obvious reasons, Tumblr and its critical mass already exists. How often do clones succeed?

I assume Pornhub's user base is higher than Tumblr's ever was. I would think they could use Pornhub to drive users to the new platform.

That's true, but I wonder how much of the porn-seeking user base remains? Surely they left in the 40%(?) traffic exodus.

Someone (not pornhub) has already created a tumblr clone called "bdsmlr". It's actually got an extremely wide variety of content, not just BDSM.

There is a fediverse instance called humblr where a lot of porn seems to be posted. I believe it was primarily for ex-Tumblr users.

Someone did create a Mastodon instance called "Humblr"

user base.

I think the only problem with this, is that there is still a solid 35% of the user base that doesn't want porn. So, there is a very fine line.

Honestly, those users were using the site even when porn and other such content was allowed, and clearly weren't bothered by existence on the platform overall. So if they allow it again, then so long as they don't promote these blogs to users who don't care for them, no one's gonna be bothered.

It's like Reddit; yes it allows adult content, but since you're not forced to view subreddits that allow it, no one cares.

Honestly, those users were using the site even when porn and other such content was allowed, and clearly weren't bothered by existence on the platform overall.

"Someone, somewhere is thinking thoughts I don't approve of!"

Yeah I wonder if there is a big difference from "yeah there's a lot of porn here" to "yeah it's a porn site now" as far as the users who aren't doing that thing goes.

There's a lot of porn on reddit, but I don't think twice about saying I post there. But if it was owned by a porn site I might think twice about how I define the site / mention it.

You're making a tremendous jump in thinking that the average user (or even most users!) of a site knows who owns it.

I think a high profile purchase would make it more likely than not, particularly as it pertains to porn.

Again, I think that unlikely. Even I have to think hard to remember who owns e.g., Reddit. And I'm the site multiple times a day.

Probably because it isn't pornhub, you'd remember that.

Pornhub is probably the best party able to refocus Tumblr on mostly porn. I feel there are plenty of people who are interested in the kind of kink communities that grew organically on Tumblr, but felt Tumblr as a platform wasn't appropriate. Maybe Pornhub can give Tumblr the love and direction it needs to fill the kind of niche that Pornhub.com itself can't, and that might draw a much larger audience than before.

Didn't Tumblr lose about a third of its traffic after the porn ban?

And I don't think the site's culture veering off into Puritanism as it is now will be good for it in the long run. If there were a better site, I'd leave for it - but the only real alternative is Twitter, which combines all the worst aspects of LinkedIn, Instagram, and 4chan.

Who knows! Maybe anyone will use Dreamwidth ever. But I think Tumblr's lack of distinction between top-level posts and comments is a good feature - there were a few blogs, back when blogs were a thing, that I mostly read because they had a few good commenters. The problem is that it enables a lot of abuse, but stricter moderation and better features could prevent this - Tumblr wasn't designed for text at all, and it really shows.

(You could edit anyone else's post while reblogging it until relatively recently, when someone replaced a John Green post with a graphic monologue about liking dick and [so everyone assumed, at least] he complained.)

Is it so hard to just put up an optional explicit content filter? I don't know why it has to be all or nothing when you can just serve the "Yes I am 18 and agree to see adult content" popup that's been around for decades now. Reddit seems to be doing OK with that system.

But what percentage of traffic do they generate?

I'm reminded of the Perry Cox quote:

> I’m fairly sure if they took porn off the internet, there’d only be one website left, and it’d be called "Bring back the porn!"

Finally I can get all my gay kinky porn back now.

Honestly if PH doesn't do it I feel like Cards Against Humanity will now that the idea's been floated.

Well at least someone still knows what the internet is for.

They'll make a bundle.

So, Tumblr will soon become the twitter for pornstars.

wow, this post was submitted 5 hours ago and has 311 points and it already fell off the front page? someone here doesn't like porn at all

I like Resolute's comment below the article:

I'm not sure Verizon's "buy high, ruin it, sell low" strategy is going to pay off.

Great. They should do that.

The reality is, way too many of us are more prudish than we should be, and we are all humans after all.


They simply saw their stats drop; did some math, and drew conclusions. :)

It's bizarre that it's legal for me to look at pictures of a naked person, but effectively illegal to use technology to do so, just because advertising is subject to the whims of a moralistic and prejudicial minority.

The phrase 'effectively illegal' does not make sense for two reasons here. First, looking at naked pictures is different from hosting them to allow others/public to view them. Second, just because something cannot be monetized easily via ads does not mean it is effectively illegal. You could also just direct charge for it, like a lot of businesses do. Also, there are a lot of adult service advertisers, including Viagra and the like that monetize porn sites.

I think it’s the minors that are illegal and that’s what Verizon is afraid of.

Adult sites are perfectly legal.

Also US is a very religious country (some parts) compared to other western nations. So that’s where some of this comes from.

It's really just the moralistic people pressuring advertisers. Minors can find a way to get their hands on a Playboy, but we don't stop selling Playboy in shops just because that can happen.

People interact online through a select few pieces of tech: smart phone apps, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter. Just saying "adult sites exist" is like telling people to drive over to the wrong side of town and shuffle into a seedy porn theater. The malware-laced pop-up ads, and the lack of creative, multifaceted sexual expression, is what happens when you effectively banish a form a culture from the commons.

The issue wasn't that minors were looking at the porn but that there was a lot of porn of minors on Tumblr.

I remember one of my teachers in grade school speaking out against the Moral Majority and other pro-censorship types in the 80's. The quote she was up in arms about was something along the lines of how, "We must constrain the imaginations of our children."

Today's problems have nothing to do with people reading, imagining, creating, and thinking. Problems in 2019 have to do with people engaging specifically in groupthink and "othering."

Censorship, exclusion, and suppression do not reduce groupthink. Rather, those actions increase groupthink. Those actions create hothouses of concentrated groupthink insulated from criticism, skepticism, and the moderation of reality. (Also, if some honest introspection is done, one often finds that those actions are themselves motivated by groupthink.)

A live and let-live society where people are free to self-express lets people learn in the context of a reality more complicated and richer than just themselves. A live and let-live society lets people transcend their own small circle. It is the best antidote to the small minded groupthink that creates oversimplified, dehumanizing caricatures of people and reality.

It's suppression and censorship that causes people to retreat into such small circles, allowing groupthink to fester.

The story of tumblr is really not about free speech suppression. They had a mix of explicit and non-explicit content, and had to choose one to decide what kind of advertisers to pursue. They chose non-explicit and it didn't work.

From the ads I got on Tumblr, it felt like one of the things they were trying to do was build the leftist millennial equivalent of Glenn Beck's email lists or whatever. I'm not sure how well that would mesh with a porn ban.

(I'm surprised there aren't any companies pursuing this! I thought Gab was going to, but it looks like they monetized with pro subscriptions [instead?].)

The story of tumblr is really not about free speech suppression. They had a mix of explicit and non-explicit content, and had to choose one to decide what kind of advertisers to pursue.

Given the events of the past several years, I highly doubt the people with the ad dollars are innocent of free speech suppression. EDIT: Specifically, the people asking for YouTube suppression through "advertising" concerns were tied in with the people coordinating hit pieces against YouTube content.


Disney saying "don't put my brand next to porn" isn't speech suppression. Happy to consider your opinion, though I'm not so curious as to watch a 24 video to learn about it.

Disney saying "don't put my brand next to porn" isn't speech suppression.

That has nothing to do with their suppression of even mainstream news and commentary, like Phillip DeFranco.

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