I've been online since the mid/late 90s. Back in the dial-up days. Back then, if you're not aware of how things were, most isp's would give you 1 mb of free storage to host your own webpage. Some providers, such as ATT (who was my isp) would give you a whopping 5 mb of storage for each e-mail address you had with them. I signed up for 5 different addresses to get the insane amount of 25 mb for webpage hosting.
I had taught myself html coding, and still do it longhand even with this blog, eschewing templates as I find them restrictive. But I built websites for friends and various interests I was working with. The fun of doing this was the fact that with the hosting spread over 5 different accounts, and the fact that my sites were image and graphic intensive, meant a lot of cross hosting, which is to say that hosting a website from particular e-mail section, I would have to use bits of other accounts to handle the images/graphics, often digging around for a few kbs here and there.
Stupid when you look at it now, but kind of fun and challenging back then. Which I enjoyed.
Some of those problems were eliminated as companies like XOOM and others came along with unlimited hosting as long as you put their banners on the entrance page and other conspicuous places within the site. I can't remember all the different companies that did this, I know Yahoo started like that, I personally used XOOM, there was something called Free Yellow (which always cracked me up as a name). But it opened up the web to more site creators.
The downside to all this free hosting was you never knew if/when something was going to disappear. We communicated a lot through message boards back then. And it was not unusual to come home from work and check in to see some board blowing up because a bunch of guys (and I'm using that generically for site builders) screaming because their website disappeared over night. Go to bed and everything is fine, wake up and poof no website, just some short statement about a violation of TOS.
And remember, this is back during dial-up days, 56.6 baud modems, that meant you started uploading images and code at 6:00pm and finished around mid-night. You literally slaved over your website only to have it disappear on a whim from your hosting company.
I saw this happen too many times and decided to take steps. I went to private hosting at one place I figured would never bitch about content -- adult hosting services. Back then the company was called XXX Webhosting but is now know by the much more benign Reliable Hosting. I've been with these guys for over 16 years and never a complaint with their service. And never a problem with any censorship of my content. Which was the whole point.
When I first started blogging, at Blogstream, I used a free image host called Weblogimages.com who had a pretty easy interface to work with. I upgraded to their premium package, which was unlimited hosting and no bandwidth restrictions for $3.00 per month. After a couple of years there, they offered a one-tim charge of $100 for permanent hosting and no more monthly fees. I paid it and went along happily until one day . . . yep, I wake up to a blank blog. These dudes closed up shop without a peep and left me and a hell of a lot of others hanging. Should have seen that coming, but I didn't. So once again, I took steps. I've got my own domain where I host my images now. Done and done.
I do use another free online host for other work I do. Stuff I don't really care if it disappears. But the content I'm protective of, is under MY control, or as much as possible by paying someone to professionally host my stuff. Technically still vulnerable, but the odds of problems are greatly diminished.
All of which brings me to the situation with Blogger. They're hosting this blog, and thousands of others, for free. It's their game, they own all the equipment and get to set the rules. We may bring them in a lot of money in ad revenue, but . . . c'est la vie.
I would have liked a little better explanation that they've given about this. And also a bit more info about what will be allowed and what won't be allowed. This level of murkiness is what's going to get bloggers like me in trouble, and I don't like the Sword of Damocles vibe this is giving off. They can arbitrarily decide without warning that something is a violation of their new rules and, as in my previous examples, poof your blog is gone or closed off.
So what qualifies as "nudity" to Blogger? If my new favorite nobody, Maitland Ward, Instagrams her bare bottom, is that now taboo? Instagram is infamous for it's own censorship as evidenced by the Free the Nipple campaign that continues even now. So is this verboten?
And as we see in the movies, there's a definitive double standard on naked bums. Dude's bare bottom in a movie -- no warning, still PG13 rating. Chick's bare booty -- partial nudity warning and sometimes a boost to a R rating. How is that fair?
What about see through? Not specifically nudity, but you can still see a lot? Yeah or nay?
And then we get into issues over implied nudity. How much is too much? Where are we drawing the line here? Is this kind of peek-a-boo stuff over the line?
Blogger has said that nudity in historic, educational or artistic situations will be tolerated. Okay. So . . . pics of Betty Page are okay because of her historic contributions to the pin-up art world?
The problem here is that I believe Blogger had deliberately left this vague to allow them to pick and choose what blogs stay public. I'm not entirely convinced that there won't be a political edge to this. Had this simply been an issue of pornographic material they found distasteful, that could have been easily remedied. So I'm not sure why they're going in this direction.
Something just seems wrong about this to me. But like before, if I have to, I'll just host my own blog. I've already got a domain set up. It'll be a pain to export this blog and learn a new format. But it won't be the first time. And I have no problems taking my 900,000+ pageviews somewhere else. So we'll see.