Hey all, a bit of bad news. WordPress partners with Stripe to manage subscription payments, as my subscribers all know. Today I received notice from Stripe that they’re terminating my account in ten days due to violation of their service agreement. You can predict what this means: I produce porn, so they want nothing to do with me.
Given that it’s the end of the month and automatic payments are about to begin, I shut down my Stripe account immediately so nobody gets charged for August. I wish to thank with great sincerity everyone who subscribed to my blog, supporting me even when real life intruded and made it difficult to produce all the content you were paying for. I deeply appreciate your support and I’m grateful you like my work.
This prompted me to read up on WordPress’s stance on mature content. As long as the blog is flagged “mature,” they allow some material. Obviously there’s the list of taboo topics, like child porn and celebration of violence, but their definition of adult sexual content is ill-defined. They say “please don’t post” truly explicit sexual material, and the consequence of doing so is suspension. I’ve been careful to coyly skirt this stipulation with tame images that hide or strategically block explicit material with my publicly accessible posts, but the subscriber-only material is another matter. I can’t make some of that stuff public, so I’ll have to take that down.
Where does that leave my subscribers? They paid to access it, and they have, but there was an implied “always and forever” access that has been curtailed by a banking institution. Now what?
I’m trying to brainstorm some solutions to this. One is that I switch from subscriber posts to completing entire storylines, complete with graphic illustrations, and then release them as a PDF on places like Gumroad or Pixiv Fanbox; I still have to explore my options there. Maybe Smashwords/Draft 2 Digital holds some potential.
Another idea is that anyone who has subscribed to this blog automatically gets that completed content. That’s a thank-you for your support: when I wrap up Early Morning Exercise; Mary, Queen of Squats; and Screaming Video, subscribers will get a PDF of the whole series via email. Bottom of the Funnel will be made public, because I think there’s nothing dangerous there. As for Her Coercive Tone, which ended some months ago… I’ll figure something out. There’s a lot of work to be done before that needs to be addressed, like taking down the most questionable images.
There’s the third idea: stop creating and sharing images. If I do that, I can submit an appeal to Stripe and they would have to find that, regardless of the content of the literature, I’m no longer making people pay for lewd illustrations, and that’s the crux of their argument. That would be easy enough to do, to get rid of the most graphic illustrations and go back to teasing, suggestive images that show nothing. Maybe that’s a step backward, reverting to an earlier state. What would my subscribers think of that?
Update: That won’t work, because Stripe has further stipulated it does not permit adult literature. Readers may have noticed I’ve removed the bulk of posts bearing questionable images, but this makes no difference because the words I write are the problem.
Now you know as much as I do. I’m disappointed by this news but not surprised: Blogger and Tumblr went through the same rigamarole, and PayPal likewise opted to make life harder for sex workers and independent content creators. When you get into this kind of work, you either find innovative solutions or wait for the Morality Stasi to show you where the much-vaunted freedom of expression definitively ends.
Stay tuned for updates, and thank you for your support. I would love to hear your ideas about how to handle this.