Seven Years Of Bondage (Blogging)

Yes folks, that’s right — today marks the 7th anniversary of the first post to Bondage Blog. Back then I wrote:

For all the sex blogs, kinky blogs, and BDSM / slave journals out there, there’s never been a blog devoted to exclusively to bondage. Now there is. Bondage Blog is intended as a celebration of the beauty of the tied female form and the pleasure to be found in consensual bondage sex. Expect links to entries at other blogs that talk about bondage, links to news stories about bondage, and links to bondage art and erotica wherever such goodies may be found.

I also expect to show a fair number of bondage pictures and artworks here – whatever tickles my fancy or might tickle yours.

I think back over these last seven years and it’s amazing how much has changed in the bondage world. For one thing, before Sex and Submission launched in 2005, nobody in America was making BDSM porn that mixed bondage and explicit sex. They didn’t dare; it was considered too risky. The only exception was in print — Taboo Magazine from Hustler. (Most of the photoshoots from that magazine since its inception are available online with a Hustler’s Megapass online subsubscription, which I consider one of the best deals in online porn for this reason alone.) But online? Until Sex and Submission, you had a lot of faked stuff — where penetration and bondage never happened in the same shot — and some isolated European arty stuff, and that was about it. When I blogged here about the new site, I said:

It’s always been puzzling that we combine bondage and sex in the bedroom, but we can’t get them combined much in our porn. I’m hoping Sex And Submission is the start of a new trend that fixes that glaring omission.

And was it ever! Bondage porn hasn’t been the same since. Once Kink.com took the risk and proved that sex and bondage wouldn’t result in instant obscenity arrests, there was an explosion of sexy bondage porn, and we’ve been reaping the benefits for half a decade.

There have been a lot of other changes, too, in the seven years that I’ve been blogging about bondage. Just a few of the others include:

  • Bondage porn blogs themselves have exploded, and are starting to diminish again. When I started, blogging was huge on the mainstream web, but sex blogs were fairly new and novel, and somewhat rare. There were lots of BDSM lifestyle bloggers, especially on places like LiveJournal, but nobody much who was blogging about bondage porn and pop culture. Within just a couple of years, though, there were dozens, then hundreds, then… the number became uncountable. For awhile, there was money to be made (a little anyway) by setting up a free blog somewhere like Blogspot, feeding it with porn via the RSS feeds provided by affiliate programs, linking it with a network of similar fully-automated robot spam-porn extravaganzas, and letting the search engines feed you enough traffic to make a profit (not hard since your costs were close to zero). That’s mostly stopped now, due to the free services cracking down on spammed porn, plus changes in the porn business.
  • Culturally, people are a lot less excited about blogs (and about the web in general) than they were seven years ago. Back then, the web was spiffy and exciting; now, it’s just a background utility, like the electrical grid. People are no more excited about “going on the web” than they are about “going on the street”. People still look at blogs — and I still have traffic — but they “live” other places on the internet — on Facebook, in their Twitter feeds, on Tumblr dashboards, and gosh-knows-where. One measure of this is that I get way fewer comments on my posts than I used to, despite having far higher traffic levels than I did “back in the day”. People are coming and people are looking, but they aren’t as engaged. This kind of blog isn’t the kind of place where they interact with the internet world any more.
  • People buy a lot less bondage porn than they used to. I do this for fun, but it’s also a business; I’ve got advertising and affiliate links and a managed hosting package that isn’t cheap. And as businesses went, it used to be pretty simple. Get traffic, send traffic, make sales, profit. But in recent years — really the last three or four, according to my sales statistics, but especially in the last two — there’s been a sharp decline in the number of people who are ready/willing/able to purchase online porn. They still come, they still view, they just don’t whip out the credit card. That’s caused … interesting … waves throughout the business, with lots of porn producers going out of business or having financial difficulties or … as is typical whenever business are in financial difficulty … getting hinky about paying their debts to people like the affiliates (raising my hand here) who send the traffic. These changes are probably structural and probably permanent, like the ones that shook up the music industry starting back in the 1990s. They make it more of a challenge to pay the expenses of keeping the blog going and to keep me in beer, and they change who is making porn, but so far, they don’t seem to have really reduced the amount of cool bondage porn being made. So, not yet time to panic. (Another nice thing about these changes: since there’s no longer much easy money to be made selling porn as an affiliate, the huge spammy networks of automated porn blogs appear to be dwindling and going away, presumably due to lack of profitability.)
  • Our U.S. culture has become much more accepting of BDSM and kink. Obviously there’s still a long way to go here. But when I started writing this blog, it was still routine for print magazines to run jokey articles about kinky topics full of “look at the freaks” derision. These still crop up, but are becoming rare; and in their place, we are getting more and more fetish fashion shoots in mainstream fashion magazines, more sympathetic kinky characters in movies and on TV, more handcuffs on the fashion runway, more celebrity interviews where we hear an unabashed fondess for kinky sex… Kink is coming to be understood by vanillas as something that happens throughout our culture, not merely as something that only a few weirdo freaks do. It’s not mainstream, but it’s becoming an accepted alt culture, and that’s really refreshing.

So, what does the future hold, for bondage and for Bondage Blog?

I think the bondage porn business is going to continue to change radically. Right now all the major porn producers (not just the BDSM producers, but including them) are scrambling wildly to figure out how they can survive in a world in which few people pay for porn, and the old “monthly subscription” model has gone the way of Lindsay Lohan’s virginity. Frankly I don’t have a clue how it will shake out, but I remain supremely confident that my fellow kinky horndogs will want to keep looking at freshly-made dirty pictures and movies, and that some sort of economic model will evolve to allow them to do so.

As for Bondage Blog, I plan to keep with it, unless technology and internet culture changes so much that nobody comes to look any more. I’m also trying (see my new Twitter account ) to follow some of the bondage conversations to where people “live” these days, so that I can bring some of that back to the blog. (I welcome suggestions on how to do that better.) Business-wise, the handwriting is on the wall — I’m not going to support this enterprise by taking an affiliate cut of (non-existent) porn subscription sales in the second decade of the 21st century. The recent redesign offers more valuable display advertising options to advertisers, a few of whom have taken advantage of the new zones; that may serve until the next internet business model comes along. We’ll see. It’s tough to plan a business model for a porn blog when the big guys who make the porn don’t know how or whether they are going to survive the next nine months. Luckily for me, my costs aren’t so very high, and Bondage Blog has always been in substantial part a labor of love. I can keep doing it for a long time — not forever, but for a long time — before the profit problem looms too large.

First and foremost, though, I plan to keep doing what I’ve always done — showing and linking my visitors to the best bondage pictures and resources I can find. I’m also trying harder to provide good identification for the pictures and artwork that I post; the longer I do this, the more frustrated I become by the people who strip away attributions and hide sources. So, when I can, I’m trying to improve my own practices, documenting where stuff came from to the best of my ability.

As I mentioned above, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on how I’m doing, or how I could do it better! What do you think I should do, to make Bondage Blog vital and interesting for the next seven years?

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12 comments on “Seven Years Of Bondage (Blogging)”:

Gonspeak commented on November 10th, 2010 at 2:19 pm:

Congrats on 7 years! I haven’t been following that long, but I check in to this blog just about every day! Keep up the good work!

Jessica A. commented on November 10th, 2010 at 3:16 pm:

I only just recently started watching your blog, but being a big bondage nut myself it’s been a wonderful fit. It’s pretty neat that, via your and other blogs (mostly Tumblr feeds) I can get a morning bondage porn fix. For me, Folgers in my cup definitely isn’t the best part of *my* morning. ;)

Whatever you do, don’t go away. Followers like me may not comment much, but we love your blog all the same. :)

Congratulations on a good 7 years, and here’s to 7 more of the same!

kisekikora commented on November 10th, 2010 at 4:52 pm:

i would also like to point out that free porn services, such as imagefap, have done quite some damage to the industry as well.
I mean, you can go there and find photo shoots from all these sites, that uploaded by users.

Now, its not going to put porn outta business but its certainly bad for business. I support the enforcement of copy rights on the net.

Think like this, if its not worth it to pay for, its not worth the models and producers time or energy, or finances, to produce.

*sigh* I put my two cents in.

Rope Guy commented on November 10th, 2010 at 5:37 pm:

Oh yes. I didn’t want to get into the nitty gritty details beyond “like what happened to the music industry” but a huge component of people not being willing to pay for porn is the profusion of ways they can get it for free.

New music didn’t stop getting made and porn won’t either. But a lot of the profit went out of the industry and never came back, and a lot of the middlemen went away forever. (When was the last time you were in a record store?) In economic terms, Bondage Blog spent a few years as just such a middle man. I’m not going away, but that economic role is shrinking fast and looks like it probably is going away permanently.

nilla commented on November 10th, 2010 at 10:41 pm:

i don’t think i’ve ever commented here before, but i’ve been lurking for at least 2 years…yours was the first porn/bondage blog i *ever* read, and it opened the world to me.

i wasn’t *alone* in my newfound kinkyness…and …inspired me to jump into creating my own blog, one of all my kinky fantasies.

from your blog i jumped into others (notably Under His Hand/kaya) and found and connected with other sex bloggers.

as i said, you opened the world to me.

Thank You.

nilla

budman commented on November 11th, 2010 at 12:17 am:

Thanks for this Blog – it’s the first site I check each evening and I especially appreciate the tight group of links you provide to other quality bloggers – I use Bondage Blog as my “portal” to those other sites each day.

You’re wrong about Kink.com’s Sex and Submission being the first to mix sex and bondage however. Dead wrong.
PD started whipping out his “little man”, causiously at first – blowjobs with condom’s only – sometime around 2002 if I remember. I’m too lazy to look it up but I was a charter member of Insex and PD pioneered pretty much everything in BDSM.

Peter Ackworth has done an amazing job of building Kink.com – he is far and away a better businessman that PD. But PD was the pioneer. He did water bondage in a big way on Insex – and Kink copied it. He did metal bondage in a big way – and Kink copied it. He did sex in bondage years before – and Kink copied it. He did machine sex and Kink copied it.
PD brought into the business and trained many of the Kink producers including Matt Williams and Claire Adams – and he inspired the ones who didn’t directly work for him at some point.
He gave many models their introduction to the industry including Loreli Lee, Wenona, Moonshine, Madison Young, Seven, Cowgirl, Molly Mathews, Kali, Jenny Lee, and many other Kink.com models.

Kink has done more with fetishes I’m not personally interested in – such as Femdom, butt sex, etc. But in BDSM web sites – PD is the uncontested founder of the industry.

If you haven’t seen the documentary on PD and Insex called “Graphic Sexual Horror” which is available on Amazon – you must see it. In the documentary, people such as Ackworth, Adams and Matthews openly acknowledge, on camera, that PD and Insex was the pioneer and the inspiration for their work.

budman commented on November 11th, 2010 at 12:24 am:

Oh – and as to the decline of money being spent on BDSM web sites. I wouldn’t worry too much. Remember, we’re in a recession. In times of economic downturn food and rent tend to become priorities – porn sites drop off the list – especially when the wife is watching the credit card bills more closely.

Free porn has always existed and smart producers encourage it up to a point. That’s why there are so many sites on the internet such as Red’s Realm and xtube. Companies such as Kink freely give them short form videos – it’s their best form of advertising.

Just wait another year or two and spending will return.

Rope Guy commented on November 11th, 2010 at 2:43 am:

Budman, I am well aware of the amount of inspiration that kink.com took from PD and from Insex. However, in the area of bondage sex, you’re making a claim that’s entirely unfamiliar to me. I never was a member of Insex, but I’ve seen hundreds or thousands of their photos that have “escaped” into the wild over the years, and I’ve never seen a male member. They must have done a good job of containing that content inside the pay wall.

I don’t think you’re quite correct that the downturn in the porn business is entirely recessionary — that probably plays a part, but there appears to be a substantial structural component, as well. I do expect things will get better when the economy improves, but just as the record companies will never again see album sales like they saw before the invention of the .mp3 file, I don’t think online porn subscriptions will ever again return to the levels they were at before the tube sites and person-to-person file sharing came along.

Rope Guy commented on November 11th, 2010 at 2:48 am:

I should say also, thanks everybody for the kind words. Nilla, I especially love hearing comments like yours. At its best, blogging is about creating connections, so it’s awesome to hear that it has worked for people.

Frank commented on November 11th, 2010 at 6:13 am:

I agree that the main reason people have stopped paying for porn is that you can get the same thing for free. If someone did something different, a niche market, people would pay. Personally I would like to see BDSM with a good story behind it, and good acting. The explicit stuff would be there, but not at maybe 40%, not 90%.

Rope Guy commented on November 11th, 2010 at 10:25 am:

What’s interesting to me is that when I play online games and chat on voice communications with my fellow players, I meet a whole generation of people (half my age and younger) who don’t go to movies or pay for Hollywood stuff (ever) either. They still consume movies and talk endlessly about them, but it’s 100% based on what they can torrent. (Obviously I generalize; this is true only for *some* of these kids, not by any means *all*, as any visit to the mall would show you.)

I guess what I’m saying is that the ancient call for “porn that was more like movies” — which I, too, would enjoy — might not be an economic winner, either — a lot of people would like to see it, but I’m not sure if enough people would actually pay for it, especially in hard times.

Akiya commented on July 3rd, 2013 at 5:01 pm:

Interesting blog . Tough I like Japanese most for they have less taboos — and there are even tied guys :)

akiya

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