Today's Internet has been brought to you by porn

After a wild and passionate youth, YouTube and Ning have both announced they're adopting a policy of abstinence. Heck, they might even join a convent. Why? Money, of course.

Ning is saying sayanora to its Red Light District, the adult section of the DIY social networking site. Come January 1 they're kicking the call girls to the curb and putting a crimp on pimps. (Memo to Marc Andreessen: I mean that metaphorically – please don't sue me.)

YouTube has just announced new policies designed to keep quasi-smutty videos from rising to the top of its pages. The underlying reason in both cases is these sites desperately want to win the hearts of mainstream advertisers, who don't want their ads appearing in the same neighborhood as The Pussykat Theater and Wicked Wanda's House of Devilish Delites.

YouTube just released new rules about what it considers "sexually suggestive" videos that are comical in their prudishness. Besides nudity and actual sex, videos may be age-restricted if they “feature individuals in minimal or revealing clothing... [or] if they're intended to elicit a sexual response.”

Other considerations?

  • Whether breasts, buttocks, or genitals are the "focal point" of the video. So much for the BootyTown Channel.

  • Whether the video is set in a location "associated with sexual activity, such as a bed." Because as we all know, people only have sex in bed.

  • Poses intended to sexually arouse the viewer. I dunno; that upavistha januparivrttasana yoga position always gets me hot.

  • Actions that suggest "a willingness to engage in sexual activity." Ideally, both the video's creators and its viewers will have been married to each other for at least 10 years, so the issue will never come up.

  • Minimal clothing is acceptable, but only in appropriate contexts. That micro-thong bikini? No sweat if you're poolside, but better grab a towel before you step inside the kitchen.

In other words, to comply with YouTube's age-restricted standards you'd pretty much have to be dressed as a nun sitting in an uncomfortable chair with your legs crossed while thinking pure thoughts.

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Dan Tynan

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