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After Tumblr’s NSFW ban, these adult communities have come out on top

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04.06.2019

Once upon a time, a free blogging platform called Tumblr was the online haven for porn, kink, bondage/domination, and other legal but not-safe-for-work communities. That all changed in November 2018, when Apple removed Tumblr from its App Store after finding that child pornography had slipped onto the site.

That kick-started Verizon-owned Tumblr to enact a policy change it says was already planned: a blanket ban on virtually all “adult content” images and videos (but not text)–starting on December 17, 2018. The ban prohibited not just hardcore porn, but even the humble female nipple. (Imagery that just barely hides private parts seems to still be allowed.)

Meanwhile, Tumblr’s web traffic has–er, tumbled. From the pre-controversy month of October 2018 through April 2019, it’s dropped by about a third–both in the U.S. and internationally, according to analytics firm SimilarWeb–from 558 million to 376 million monthly visits globally. That’s despite Tumblr’s return to the App Store in December.

Like a fire that clears out miles of forest, Tumblr’s porn ban has created an ecological niche for new not-safe-for-work (NSFW) friendly sites to take root. Natural selection has weeded out many of them, such as the flopped Cumblr. But at least three other sites appear to be blooming.

Obvious warning: Many of the following links lead to NSFW content.

“I knew Tumblr wasn’t that complicated,” says Dean Abramson, chief architect at online gaming startup Statabase. (That’s gaming as in gambling, such as online poker.) “I said, you know, we could rebuild Tumblr, in what, two weeks? Three weeks? At least for the front end. Let’s give it a shot.”

Abramson and his colleagues’ side project, newTumbl, opened to the public on December 16, and now has over 200,000 users, he says. The site had about 2.2 million global visits in April, according to SimilarWeb (the latest month for which it has data). For perspective, that’s about 1.2% of just what Tumblr’s lost since October.

Though billed as an NSFW Tumblr replacement, newTumbl intends to evolve into much more, says cofounder Dean Abramson. [Image: newTumbl]Still, it’s a long way from zero visits in December, and more than some other sites have experienced. For instance, xstumbl, also founded in December 2018, had about 45,000 global visits in April, per SimilarWeb–down from its peak of about 109,000 in January. Site........

© Fast Company