‘Playboy’ Stops Publishing Nude Photos — Did Google Force Hugh Hefner’s Magazine To Change?

After Playboy stops publishing nude photos, you have to wonder what is next for Hugh Hefner’s magazine. After all, Playboy magazine is almost synonymous with photos of naked women. But comments by Playboy CEO Scott Flanders indicates that Playboy’s sex marketing has lost its glitter when faced with an army of free porn websites, so you have to wonder if Google’s policy may have something to do with the decision.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, Kendra Wilkinson, one of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy pals, discussed drugs, Holly Madison, and Hank Baskett in a recent interview. It was also claimed that Justin Bieber touched Playboy model Sarah Harris inappropriately and was subsequently tossed out of the Playboy mansion.

The writing seemed to be on the wall. It was not a matter of if, but when Playboy stopped publishing nude photos. The rise of free internet pornography led to a steady decline in Playboy’s subscription base, with a circulation of around 5.6 million readers shrinking down to less than 1 million subscribers. The Playboy stock price plummeted, with its value dropping below a dollar, and that is when Playboy CEO Scott Flanders entered the scene.

Last year, Flanders even said that photos of sexy naked women were actually dragging the company down.

“You could argue that nudity is a distraction for us and actually shrinks our audience rather than expands it,” said Flanders, according to Entrepreneur magazine. “At the time when Hef founded the company [in 1953], nudity was provocative, it was attention-grabbing, it was unique and today it’s not. It’s passé.”

Despite being a powerfully recognized brand, Flanders says their businesses were only becoming weaker as time passed. Even his attempt at saving the sinking ship had his family upset, since his own daughter vowed never to speak to him again since the job was the “creepiest thing.” (She eventually changed her mind and became a Playboy intern.)

So, what now for the company? When Playboy stops publishing nude photos, the plan is transform “Playboy into a brand management company” while also attempting to return their image to “its original luster, when it was in its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s.”

“To restore the original luster of the brand, we were chipping away those things that we were not,” Flanders reflects. “First and foremost was selling off the adult TV business. Playboy should not have association with being in the sex-act business.”

The main focus will now be on the writing, not so much the explicit nudity or sex. Future releases of the printed Playboy magazine will still feature women posing provocatively, but there will not be any full nudity.

Playboy’s chief content officer, Cory Jones, also says there will be a Playmate of the Month, but they have not yet decided if the centerfold will remain.

“Don’t get me wrong, Twelve-year-old me is very disappointed in current me,” Jones said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”

So far, Hugh Hefner has not publicly commented on the major change, but you have to believe his thoughts are similar.

Playboy.com And Google Become Besties

Their latest article explains that after Playboy stopped publishing nude photos, they realized their readers wanted more than naked photos.

“Last year we re-launched Playboy.com as a safe-for-work site and discovered something about our readers and our identity: The Bunny transcends nudity. Tens of millions of readers come to our non-nude website and app every month for, yes, photos of beautiful women, but also for articles and videos from our humor, sex and culture, style, nightlife, entertainment, and video game sections.”

Another major factor which cannot be ignored is Google’s nudity policy. When Playboy.com removed nudity from their website, the number of unique visitors surged from four million to over 16 million per month. As of this publishing, their most popular articles are about a “brutal moose fight video” and the “world’s largest snake,” which has nothing to do with sex at all.

Unless you are a free porn site, success on today’s internet almost requires removing the focus from sex. Playboy.com relies on Google AdSense for its advertising revenue, and starting in 2014, Google tried to make the internet more family-safe by disallowing Google ads for any site which contains “pornography, adult, or mature content.” Since print magazines are a dying breed, Google’s stance was the last nail in the coffin for the old Playboy, and it became only a matter of time for when Playboy stopped publishing nude photos on their main site.

What do you think about the decision by Hugh Hefner’s Playboy?