I rarely cover how Google is treating the adult online industry. But I have noticed a thread at Google Webmaster Help forums that is pretty heated on the topic of Google penalizing hundreds of adult and pornographic web sites over the past week or so. Supposedly, there are many adult webmaster forums discussing this now.
Google doesn't typically penalize adult sites for being pornographic. Of course, those sites are labelled in Google as being pornographic and only show up for certain queries. But they are not typically penalized for being pornographic. So why are these adult sites all of a sudden being penalized in the masses?
There is suspicion that thumbnail software named Smart Thumbs is the culprit. I honestly, never heard of the software and I have no idea how it works, coding wise. But the pattern these webmasters are noticing is that all these penalized adult sites use the same adult focused image thumbnail software named Smart Thumbs. The thing is, some are saying that even sites not running Smart Thumbs are being penalized, so maybe that is not the commonality between them all.
If you are in the adult webmaster business, then you likely want to see this thread, which has links to other threads as well. Do be warned that many of the discussion and hyperlinks in the thread link to pornographic content. You can read the discussion without clicking the links and possibly learn something for your own industry.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.
Update: Google has reversed the adult penalty on most of these sites, just a few days later.