“Yahoo! Removes Adult-Related Merchandise from Network” read the headline of Internet giant Yahoo!’s April 13 press release, after a massive one-day public outcry caused it to reverse its previously-announced policy of selling online pornography in order to increase profitability.
The only problem is, the porn is still there.
In fact, “Yahoo! Shopping” is full of X-rated videos, DVD’s, magazines and more. One page, for instance, features DVDs with such provocative titles as: “Diva X The Movie,” “Up & Cummers,” “Asian Sex Superstars” and more, along with the chance to “select from the following genres”: “Features & Specials,” “Asian,” “Black,” “All Girl,” “Fetish,” “Gang Bang,” “Gonzo,” “Anal,” “Big Boobs,” “Cumshots,” “Amateur,” “Blowjobs,” “Gay & Bisexual,” “Compilation,” “Interracial,” “Masturbation,” “Odd,” “Young,” “S&M,” “Trans,” and so on.
Another page currently on “Yahoo! Shopping” touts the lesbian graphic sex magazine, “On our backs.”
“At Yahoo!,” announced the company’s president and CEO Jeff Mallett three weeks ago, explaining his decision to abort Yahoo!’s new porn venture, “we value the strong relationships we have with our members and have consistently listened to them.”
“While Yahoo! has offered controlled access to adult products available via the Internet since launching our commerce services more than two years ago,” Mallett continued, “many of our users voiced concerns this week about some of the products sold by merchants on Yahoo! Shopping. We heard them and swiftly responded. We consistently strive to act responsibly and constantly evaluate our policies based on what our users tell us.”
Swiftly? Although the public-relations response was swift, the actual removal of porn from Yahoo! Shopping has been quite slow.
As Yahoo! noted in its press release that “the implementation of these changes in the United States will take place over the next few weeks,” WND contacted Yahoo! for a clarification of that time-frame.
A public-relations person at Yahoo!’s corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. — one of two people designated to deal with the press — spoke to WND “on background” since she “is not a company spokesman.”
Removing the objectionable material from Yahoo! Shopping is a process, she said, and not something that can be done quickly.
Because, she said, Yahoo! is essentially acting as a giant online shopping mall, as opposed to a store, and so it cannot just kick out merchants it doesn’t want overnight.
The Yahoo! representative couldn’t answer, and suggested WND e-mail her the offensive links and that she would try to provide a more definitive response — as well as an idea of how long Yahoo! will take to make good on its high-profile, mid-April announcement and actually stop selling pornography.
When she called back to confirm that the two Yahoo! Shopping porn-links WND had sent indeed “are still up,” she confessed that “we actually watch for things like that, and pull them down.”
The two objectionable pages will be eliminated, she added.
Isn’t there a more efficient, direct, and less hit-and-miss way for Yahoo!, the Internet pioneer, to police its own content?
“It would seem so,” said the Yahoo! representative, but unfortunately the technology makes it more difficult than it appears.”
When will the new policy be fully implemented?
“It’s in effect now,” she said, adding that no new contracts with pornographic vendors are being signed, and that existing X-rated material currently on Yahoo! will be taken down as it is brought to their attention.