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[P]
Yahoo!'s Coitus Interruptus

By Eloquence in News
Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 07:08:29 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Only two days after its announcement to sell porn in its online stores, Yahoo! has changed its plans again. Several analysts had criticized the company for the action, saying it added little to Yahoo!'s bottom line. The conservative Capitol Resource Institute even called for a boycott.


In an "URGENT" press release, the CRI wrote: "The very real danger is that our children will have the very real possibility to be exposed to pornographic material. This is not appropriate and must not go unchallenged." Yahoo! responded quickly and removed the "Adult & Erotica" section from their shops, explaining it with their desire to make their customers happy.

Other large dot-coms like Microsoft & AOL have avoided the porn industry, although it's pretty clear that this is where a lot of money is. While Microsoft sells relationship books and massage oils through its "eShops", a Microsoft spokesman has explained to the LA Times that no porn is sold: "We believe there's a difference between healthy sensuality ... and products that simply exploit sexuality."

Commentary: It is fascinating how multi-billion dollar corporations bow to the wishes of conservative pressure groups. They know full well that the people represented by these groups -- for example, the 40 million religious fundamentalists in the United States -- do have a lot of buying power, a lot more than the porn industry's buyers combined. It may also have something to do with conservative management.

As a result it seems like porn is one of the few areas where competition can flourish relatively freely, without an oligarchy of large corporations (although there is, of course, an ongoing market concentration). This alone could be a reason why porn remains one of the strongest motors of innovation on the Net. Still, one has to wonder whether another large dot-com will try to make profit by exploring the porn market after Yahoo!'s failure to do so.

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Poll
Was it right for Yahoo! to pull out?
o Yes, it was a good business decision 16%
o Yes, porn is evil, immoral & exploitative 4%
o Yes, think of the children! 0%
o They should have given it a try 13%
o No, porn-haters are just a vocal minority 21%
o No, screw the moral majority! 15%
o Porn should be free! 13%
o They sucked anyway. They didn't even have an "Inoshiro" section .. 14%

Votes: 115
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Yahoo
o Yahoo!
o changed its plans again
o Capitol Resource Institute
o press release
o conservati ve management
o Also by Eloquence


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Yahoo!'s Coitus Interruptus | 27 comments (26 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Just a note about sex... (3.55 / 9) (#1)
by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:31:43 PM EST

It's facinating to watch how us americans treat sex and sexuality - from homophobia and killing gays to banning pornography online, mandatory "for the children!" filters, to the rise of new-age feminism in this country. It's taboo to talk about sex in any detail in public, even though many people privately dismiss the conventional dogmatic messages about sex our conservative instutitions preach to us. Sex before marriage - hell yes! But you won't see many people publicly supporting it... it's just kind of quietly done.

When you stop for a minute to contrast this with most american's stance on guns, violence, and the right to bear arms, as well as our strong militant right-wing groups, it's amazing. There's something seriously wrong with a country that makes it okay to carry a concealed weapon, but an orgasm is some kind of crime. I mean, why is it illegal to sell something (sex) that's perfectly legal to give away for free?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

I'm sure some conservatives would agree (4.25 / 4) (#2)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:46:27 PM EST

I mean, why is it illegal to sell something (sex) that's perfectly legal to give away for free?

.. and would want to make the "free version" illegal as well, except for reproductive purposes. It's kind of surprising that they are against cloning and in-vitro fertilization, since that might remove the last barrier as well. But then, science is as bad as sex -- everything which contributes to the understanding of our surroundings is. I'm not exaggerating. There are reasons why the "original sin" in the bible is eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and why the Taleban destroy everything that could be interpreted as a "picture". The "sex for reproduction only" is the official position of the Catholic church.

Keep in mind that this mindset has a certain neurobiological foundation, and other people with a similar foundation have in the past enforced (with capital punishment) harsh chastiment, rules against premarital sex, or even forced castration for everyone.

That being said, I think I have discussed the reasons for this behavior in reasonable detail here, although I may need to have to write some more about pornography, child pornography, sado-masochism & spanking. It's really quite simple: If your brain is conditioned to dislike pleasure, you will justify all sorts of non-pleasure / violence (or even act them out) and fight other people's right to experience what you didn't get. Yet this very basic and very important relationship is neither adequately understood nor discussed in the media, in schools, in universities, or anywhere else. We ignore the most basic facts of our existence, exactly because they are the most basic facts of our existence.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

you paint a scary picture (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by mami on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 08:55:44 PM EST

I can't quite relate to it though. Who cares really about the official postition of the Catholic church ? I know a lot of Catholics who just don't take those positions very serious, at least not the Italians and most of other European countries.

<i>and other people with a similar foundation have in the past enforced (with capital punishment) harsh chastiment, rules against premarital sex, or even forced castration for everyone.</i>

You say in the past, can you say when ? Is it still relevant in our society today ?

You seem to base the cause of almost any violent abuse on sexual and pleasure repression. You are speaking of brains conditioned to dislike pleasure. Who in todays world is conditioning you that way ?

Seems to me that most violent abuses today are based on abusive social environments and repression of pleasure due to poverty and the lack of opportunities for many to free themselves out of their poverty bondage.

If someone has given up on fighting for his own equal rights and freedom, because he sees himself enslaved in a social status he can't escape, then the frustration and depression about it turns easily into violence, especially violence against those, who are dependent from that person, the children and sometimes the wives.

Your arguments seem to me a bit too much focussed of just one aspect of several causes. Sexual repression is just one (and not that prevalent) part of many in the lack of opportunities to enjoy pleasures, I think.


[ Parent ]
"illegal to sell" (4.66 / 3) (#5)
by error 404 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:49:14 PM EST

When The Wall fell, it struck me that I had a freezer full of venison, and a pantry full of home-brewed beer. Neither of which was illegal, by the way, the venison was a gift from a hunter and the beer I made within the 200 gallon per year limit. And here in The Land Of The Free, if I were to get capitalistic with either of those tasty commodities, I would be a serious criminal.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
You ought to give proper credit when quoting... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
by tankgirl on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:59:14 PM EST

I mean, why is it illegal to sell something (sex) that's perfectly legal to give away for free?

Was first said by George Carlin in regards to prostitution back in '90 on in his "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" routine/tour/album. It goes something like this:

Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't 'selling fucking' legal? I can't understand why it's illegal to sell something that's perfectly legal to give away for free?


Really Siggy, did you think we wouldn't notice ;-)
jeri.
"I'm afraid of Americans. I'm afraid of the world. I'm afraid I can't help it." -David Bowie
[ Parent ]
*cough* (none / 0) (#14)
by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:42:12 PM EST

Actually, he did it first in standup - check out the movie "Doing it Again", George Carlin, New York, NY, I believe...

That being said, I didn't know it was necessary to credit everyone who's joke I've heard... but yes, George is da man.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Heard, and _repeated_ deserves credit... (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by tankgirl on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:08:05 PM EST

That being said, I didn't know it was necessary to credit everyone who's joke I've heard... but yes, George is da man.

You didn't just hear it, you repeated it as your own. When premeditated that's considered plagiarism. I don't think you intended it that way, else I wouldn't have teased you...I would've flamed ya (not that I'm the flaming type ;). Still it's obvious you knew it was George's shtick, and a simple "I think George Carlin said it best..." goes a long way towards one's own credibility. Don'cha think?

jeri.
"I'm afraid of Americans. I'm afraid of the world. I'm afraid I can't help it." -David Bowie
[ Parent ]
Heh heh...heh heh (4.33 / 6) (#3)
by ucblockhead on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:46:53 PM EST

Was it right for Yahoo! to pull out?

Heh heh...he said "Pull Out"...heh heh

Seriously, where Yahoo! screwed up was in issuing the first press release. If they'd just done it, without telling anyone, like other companies, the objectionable sorts would not have noticed, and everybody'd be happy.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Do You Yahoo? :) (4.00 / 3) (#10)
by SEAL on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:15:48 PM EST

Brings new meaning to their slogan, doesn't it :)

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
Taboos (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by GreenEagle on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:48:34 PM EST

make it more exciting.


Fundimentalists have more $ than porn enjoyers? (4.80 / 5) (#7)
by error 404 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:59:44 PM EST

I rather doubt that.

On the other hand, how many porn afficionados are going to boycot Yahoo over this?

For that matter, how many porn afficionados are willing to stand up and object at all. I know I won't. Oh, wait - did I just now?

I'm pretty sure we have more money than they do (actualy, quite a few of them are us, but let's not get into that) because we outnumber them. We just don't use the money as a weapon and don't organize effectively, because, well, it's embarrasing.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

and.. (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by rebelcool on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:16:55 PM EST

who really goes to yahoo for porn anyway? That's the last place i'd think to look...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Not quite the last place for me (none / 0) (#23)
by error 404 on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:51:11 AM EST

That would probably be Reader's Digest. Or maybe Wal-Mart.

But Yahoo is pretty far down on the list.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

No porn on Yahoo? (1.33 / 3) (#8)
by untrusted user on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:09:33 PM EST

Oh gimme a break. Don't these people know about Yahoo Clubs? They have all you need, including bestiality and necrophila, basically after clicking a button which says "Yes, I'm over 18". (Links to the relevant clubs can be found everywhere, I'm not gonna post them here.)

Nope the clubs are being destroyed as well. (none / 0) (#24)
by icepick on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 11:00:31 AM EST

All the adult clubs are being destroyed as well. As of last night you couldn't get a listing of any of the clubs, you can't search the clubs. If you can find one of the adult clubs you can sign up for them.

Rumor has it they were to be deleted yesterday, but as far as I know it didn't happen.

[ Parent ]
that sux (none / 0) (#26)
by enterfornone on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:34:29 PM EST

Yahoo has long been the best place for porn. There is more free porn at Yahoo than there is on Usenet.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
The most amusing thing... (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by regeya on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:46:08 PM EST

...was that their porn sales had gone unnoticed for two years. Hm, poor advertising/marketing, maybe?

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Nah, ya missed it. (4.20 / 5) (#12)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:10:31 PM EST

The whole porn-sale not-porn-sale thing was a devious tactic to deflect the press away by giving them something salacious and interesting to report ... allowing yahoo to announce layoffs without the press furor about the impending death of the internet which would otherwise have followed.

It was a *brilliant* tactic. Whoever devised it should be promoted and bonused well.

Further Analysis (5.00 / 4) (#13)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:14:02 PM EST

Yahoo never announced the sale of porn in their shops; it was the LA Times that reported a growing availability of porn through their shops, so they may have had expansion plans, but in general it has been available for more than two years. So the media effectively forced them to stop doing what they've been doing for a long time, since many customers learned about the Yahoo-porn relationship for the first time after the media coverage. I'm not sure if they've actually stopped, though. Perhaps someone with an age-acknowledged Yahoo-ID can verify.

I wonder what would happen if someone as big as the LA Times reported what is going on in the Yahoo-clubs ..
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Just checked. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by haakon on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:52:50 PM EST

The stuff is still there. One of the featured titles was La Blue Girl 1 & 2.

[ Parent ]
slashdot and theregister contributed too (none / 0) (#25)
by shellac on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 05:42:43 PM EST

/. and thereg didn't help anything by running those stories on it also (after the la times one). when i saw those stories, i thought to myself, why are the tech sites making such a big deal out of nothing? by running those stories, they made it seem like yahoo was doing something it shouldn't, and giving more fuel to all those anti-porn nazis. even though their readership is more limited than these major media outlets, i found it kinda irresponsible. i think a little positive editorializing from /. and thereg would have helped.

that being said, i think this whole thing is just ridiculous. it boggles my mind as to why anybody cares so much about shutting this kind of stuff down.

shellac.


[ Parent ]
credit cards (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by Seumas on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 10:08:53 PM EST

How many children have credit cards to access and purchaes this stuff? Not many, I'd wager.

The problem with this is that nobody stops to actually use their brain. For instance, I was at dinner the other night and heard to elderly women at a nearby table talking about Yahoo! doing this. They were outraged, because Yahoo! is in all of the schools! All of the children will be buying pornography off Yahoo! while they're in their classrooms!

Of course, they failed to acknowledge that there are hundreds of thousands of pornographic sites on the internet, and the internet itself is available in schools. Asonishingly, kids seem to be supervised enough not to go around checking out scat sites or anything during class.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

not the issue - credit cards (none / 0) (#27)
by mami on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 02:29:43 PM EST

How many children have credit cards to access and purchaes this stuff?

May be the more interesting question to ask is, how many children get sold worldwide to porn supporting micro entrepreneurs to perform their acts for the "new masters" , who resell their"product" to mafia-organized, clean, "progressive", corporations running the technology for them.

The issue is not how dangerous it is for a child to find accidentically porn pictures online in the U.S. or anywhere else, the issue is the rise in modern day human (slave) trade of children (and women) into porn related business enterprises.

Current rates for children in Benin right now $ 30.00 a piece. Earnings for a Cameroonian young teen accepting to have pictures taken her sleeping with a pig in the 1960s, a couple of cents. Sales value of those pictures for sailors arranging the trade back then, who knows. (Punishment of the women involved, binding her naked to an ox, chasing the ox around in the village and letting the women almost die being trampled to death. Noone of course punishes the village "marabu", who has just demonstrated his magic spell to influence the woman into acceptance of the picture taking and enhanced his secretive powers over the village population.)

Must have been profitable then, is more profitable now. What the porn industry brings about to return to the western world is slave-like human trade. Recent statistics of known cases seem to support this.

Slave-like dependencies of youngsters and poor women without proper visas, is a very silent, low-key and unnoticed micro business, hiding away in U.S. suburbia. It's the easiest business to set up here and make a profit with.

It's really up to you how you want to justify your freedom loving arguments, if it just seems to support the rise of the opposite. The minority voices, who you claim can influence Yahoo's decision making process, in what way they support the free flow of online porn material and for what price, are the necessary checks and balances to prevent abusive business practices gone unnoticed my the majority in the western population.

You either are in or you are out of the porn business, but it is hard to be in between. Of course, this has nothing to do with the artistic photographer or writer of erotic literature or images. Beautiful things are not porn. In general people can realize if something is beautiful or disgusting, across the gender and racial lines. You know it if you see it, whoever you are, whatever you look at.

[ Parent ]

Big Corperations in porn (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by hardburn on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:33:22 PM EST

As a result it seems like porn is one of the few areas where competition can flourish relatively freely, without an oligarchy of large corporations (although there is, of course, an ongoing market concentration).

No, it is more then an "ongoing market concentration". Really, most of the porn industry is run by a few very large corperations, and the owners and management almost always have ties to the mafia.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


I think The Register summed it up best. (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Inoshiro on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 04:23:54 PM EST

"By scrapping the sale of pornography on its US auction site, the company shows that it can, when it is forced by American public opinion, take responsibility for what is sold. It shows just how hollow was Yahoo!'s free-speech argument, when confronted by demands from the French government to bar access to Nazi memorabilia from its citizens. " (from their report on the matter).

Yahoo! is a weak company. I wouldn't trust it to hold up its side of any deals, if I felt compelled to buy something from them. They might renege on that, leaving me out to dry because I'm not some overzealous American Puritan.



--
[ イノシロ ]
We've seen it before (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by RandomPeon on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 02:14:36 AM EST

The Yahoo! flap indicates two things. An extremely vocal minority can cause a business to reverse its decisions. Look at Microsoft's .NET policies - people screamed loud enough and it changed. (Not that this is a bad thing).

It also illustrates the fascinating nature of the American psyche - a huge percentage of net traffic is porn and a suprisingly large number of Americans are consumers of net porn. (Source: Jon Katz. Sorry can't do any better, flame away :)) But a big corporation can't provide even relatively mild adult content without worrying about the negative backlash. A friend is fond of saying, "Damn, we live in a fucked up country" and sometimes I have to agree.

Yahoo!'s Coitus Interruptus | 27 comments (26 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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