A few years ago, Apple unceremoniously purged the Apple App Store of apps that dared bare a bit of skin, dubbed “bikini apps”. It became widely known that, while not an option for hardcore apps, Google Play was a viable alternative to developers who desired to create and share apps of racier fare. Everything was working for awhile. Developers would distribute their sexy but censored apps in Google Play, while offering the full monty in the MiKandi porn app store. That is, until last month, when Google changed their minds and gave sexy apps the boot, Apple style.
While it’s disheartening to see perfectly legal businesses further marginalized by policies, I’ve always felt that markets should be allowed to decide what they want to offer in their stores so long as customers have an alternative. The great thing about Android is that if Google Play doesn’t want to distribute adult apps, that’s fine. Android users can go to other markets like MiKandi to get the content they want.
And there’s always a but…
I feel there is a significant problem going on here that, until recently, was going on unchecked- dehibilating restrictions placed on adult companies from mainstream services due to moral objections are making it increasingly difficult for companies to survive, much more succeed.
It’s not just being pushed out of Google Play – it’s not being allowed to use MailChimp or similar newsletter services. It’s not being able to find a bank that will take your business, as Cindy Gallop of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv highlighted here. It’s being slut-shamed by your personal bank. It’s Tumblr enabling their users to steal and distribute your content on their platform while prohibiting you from recouping your losses through affiliate promotion. It’s not being able to accept money via American Express or Paypal or Google Wallet. It’s having to settle for incredibly high rates from credit card processors that want to charge an upwards of 13% of each transaction (thankfully, not our processor, who we love dearly).
While one on one these restrictions are small, collectively they’re catastrophic. Keeping up with the technical obstacles is expensive and time-consuming. Unless your adult company has strong technical chops or enough money to spend on full time engineers, you’re not going to make it. MiKandi is tech-first, so we’ve been able to weather this perpetual storm. But how is this business climate fair to sex entreprenuers who aren’t?
The blanket restrictions many services place on adult businesses creates unnecessary obstacles for companies that wish to deliver legal content to adults who want it. I argue it’s a form of censorship. Some say that it’s a good thing if pornography were more difficult to come by. I wonder if we weren’t talking about pornography here, but instead political ideas and issues, would there be a larger outcry? I think so.
I was speaking with a reporter about my issues with Google and Google Glass. At some point I said just that. It’s easy to vilianize porn, but censorship is a slippery slope. “Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?” he asked. It’s not. Once we start censoring legal content simply because some find it objectionable, it’s gets increasingly more difficult to draw the line. Because it’s much easier to shelf polarizing ideas, thoughts, or opinions than it is to deal with them. But just because it’s easier, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
All that said, the adult indsutry has its fair share of the blame. One of the reasons why we’re in this predicament is because the adult industry is rife with individuals and companies who are more than happy to spam and scam their customers for a quick buck. These are companies that don’t intend of be around for long, so they find shady but technically legal ways to part you from your money. Those that are trying to make real change in the industry are left holding the bag. “Next-generation” adult companies are attacked from both sides.
Being a “next-generation” adult company is something we strive for at MiKandi. We go by our real names, which is almost unheard of in the adult industry. I’m readily available on this blog, Twitter, G+, and Tumblr. We still answer every email and inquiry personally. We try to maintain a culture that’s transparent and non-judgmental and all about communication. Sure, we like to push the envelope because it needs to be pushed. But we don’t step over boundaries. At the end of the day, MiKandi is a small, growing, innovative company. We’re learning and we’re listening and we’re human. Shouldn’t that count for something? Or are all next-generation adult companies damned to forever wear a scarlet A?