Gumroad’s Porn Crackdown

EDIT: Gumroad gave me a reprieve. They’ll continue processing payments until the end of the month, so I’m re-enabling credit card payments.

So I got my ‘Betrayed by a Payment Service’ merit badge as a pornographer today. Sometime within the last few weeks Gumroad altered their terms of service to prohibit ‘Adult Content’ and they’re warning me that they’re going to suspend my account in the “next few days”. That was my first notice of their change in policy!

It’s a damn shame; Gumroad was really nice to deal with and I hope someday they move to business partners that aren’t such prudes. In the mean time I’ll be accepting payments via Payp*l, which of course is a precarious situation in itself. I guess I’m lucky that I got hit with this when the project was starting to wind down anyway, but it’ll mean I’ll have to look for a new payment service if I do Fleshcult DLC someday.

If you know anyone else doing adult work via Gumroad, quietly warn them to start looking for alternatives because they’re not going to get enough advance notice. Do it via e-mail, don’t tell them anywhere that might get indexed by a search engine, in case it leads Gumroad to them.

The actual e-mail follows, if you’re interested:

 

Hi,

My name is Jake and I work on payments, risk and compliance at Gumroad.

Unfortunately, due to agreements with some of our payment partners, we cannot currently support adult content on Gumroad.

We reviewed your account and determined that it violates our terms. Your account will be suspended in the next few days. You can see a full list of possible violations by reading our terms of service. Most of the time, we find sellers are violating the “involves payments owed for services” clause in section 7.

Any balance you have accrued to this point will still be deposited to your bank account or PayPal via our normal payout process — every second Friday for all purchases up to a week before. However, we may delay your payout for up to 90 days if we believe there is a signficantly increased risk of a chargeback occuring on your purchases. Any payout delays will be communicated to you on your balance page or by email. In extreme cases, we may refund transactions on your account. For more information about acceptable content, chargebacks and suspensions, see Gumroad’s terms of service.

You can view your balance and payout status on your balance page and change your payout settings on your payout page.

Often, when a seller is suspended, we are asked to re-review the account or allow an edge case around our terms of service. Unfortunately, we need to remain extremely conservative to protect our other sellers. If we made exceptions, we could lose the ability to process payments entirely.

Hopefully our short terms losses lead to long term gains and we become a really good fit for you again in the future.

Best,
the Gumroad team.

7 thoughts on “Gumroad’s Porn Crackdown

  1. ArgentRain says:

    Well that fucking sucks, but hey, at least they told you before they did it.

    Not long enough in advance, of course, but better than telling you after the fact.

    Ah well.

  2. MasterKhan says:

    There’s a chance that notice might be a load of crap. I saw another adult game maker get a Cease-and-Desist notice about a character that was used in his game, and it turned out the notice was a forgery, with the lawyer/law firm that sent it being fictitious as well, among other falsehoods.

    If you haven’t already, go to Gumroad’s website and review the terms of service to see if indeed they are cracking down on adult content. You could probably also contact them directly, asking if they have indeed revised their terms, but tactfully leaving out the bit about you being involved in adult content. The fact that you received no prior notice about the revision raised my suspicions about this.

    I would hope it is unnecessary to tell you to avoid clicking any links in the e-mail you got, instead manually going to Gumroad’s website to investigate. With luck, this will turn out to be a false notice and you can proceed unhindered, otherwise, well, that was rather inconvenient of them to give you so little advanced notice.

    • jackoekaki says:

      I checked using the Wayback Machine and their terms of service definitely have changed. It’s not a phishing e-mail, all the links lead to the correct domain.

  3. Sayer says:

    Have you since found an alternative? I was considering using gumroad for some adult hypnosis mp3s but was going to be careful with names and words in hopes of skating by a bit. Finding it hard to find to find something that is okay with both adult and hypnosis and ones that might allow like niteflirt take so damn much.

    • jackoekaki says:

      Nah, still looking unfortunately. There are a bunch of very similar services to Gumroad (ribbon.co, selz.com), but they all prohibit adult stuff.

      I recently looked into OffBeatr’s new marketplace, which is orientated toward downloadable stuff so it might be suitable for you. The revenue split is hideous though (you get ~70c per token, but users buy tokens for up to $1.50, depending on volume).

      I looked into Bitcoin, but it has severe problems. There’s a Bitcoin payment processor called BitPay that looked interesting, and it’s really easy from the merchant side, but it’s a usability disaster for customers who want to pay and don’t have a wallet already. Coinbase doesn’t seem to offer CC payments for customers outside the US. All across the board it needs to be way simpler on the customer end.

      At this point I’ve basically resigned myself to getting signed up with a credit card payment gateway that specialises in adult stuff. But it’s easier said than done at my transaction volume and in my country.

      • jackoekaki says:

        Come to think of it, I should do a blog post with a round-up of payment services. I have a big spreadsheet of about 100 services that won’t work. Maybe it’ll save someone some time?

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