Scribd Goes Straight, Bans Porn

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Scribd, the “YouTube for documents”, has announced that it will be removing all pornographic material from the site beginning May 21.

Here’s the announcement from the site’s blog:


Over the next month, we will be updating Scribd’s Terms of Service to prohibit pornographic documents and images. It’s become clear that adult content is limiting Scribd’s usefulness to educators, parents, students, and publishers – exactly the types of users that benefit the most from our site and services.

Starting today, there will be a one week grace period to allow users with adult content on Scribd to download it to their local computer before it is removed from the website.

So how will this affect the YCombinator startup? The site has seen impressive growth since its launch in March 2007, and now says that it has 17 million monthly visitors. It’s also recently been adding new features including an API and iPaper, a replacement for FlashPaper that allows authors to monetize their documents. But there have been claims (NSFW) that much of Scribd’s traffic is generated by pornographic and pirated material (the “Adult” group is one of the largest and most active on the site).

Should we expect Scribd’s traffic to take a nosedive? Unlikely. Porn may have helped Scribd gain momentum in its infancy, but the site has long since proven its use as a blogging tool and a document repository. If anything, it’s surprising that it took Scribd this long to make the switch.

Other players in this space include edocr and Docstoc (both of which are porn-free).

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