Verizon’s decision to remove all adult content from Tumblr doomed the platform that used to be a haven for people who wanted to explore niche areas of sex and kink, but didn’t want their browser history littered with known porn sites.
For Tumblr users hoping the site returns to its heyday, the potential acquisition might seem like an erotic dream come true. But should the deal take place, they might want to think twice before they return to the platform.
Pornhub is owned by a company called MindGeek (which was formerly called Manwin). It is, without question, the dominant force in the world of porn today, having bought out many of the big studios of the past and drove others out of business as it expanded. Its bread and butter, though, are streaming sites, like Pornhub, YouPorn and RedTube.
Porn is an industry that’s always in search of new performers. Fans crave variety and the reintroduction of adult images and video clips to Tumblr could give the company access to a slew of new content, depending on the terms of service.
People who post their pictures on a MindGeek-owned Tumblr could be signing away the rights to them, allowing the company to monetize them and distribute them as it wants. And, for many people, that could be a worst case scenario of “nothing on the Internet ever disappears.”
MindGeek is an especially private company. Many in the industry, even top executives, say they’re unsure who, exactly, is in charge there. (Founder Fabian Thylmann is no longer involved with the company and the power structure has been obscured ever since his departure.)
Pornhub, though, has become its public face. A master of marketing, it regularly pops up in mainstream life, such as its 2014 billboard in Times Square. It has, in fact, become such a well known division that mainstream companies, such as Kraft, occasionally advertise on it.
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