Yahoo Inc. is removing pornographic videos, DVDs and other products from Yahoo Shopping, Auctions and other sections after receiving flak from its members and the media.
Although the adult materials have been sold on Yahoo for more than two years under a “controlled” environment, Yahoo made the decision after the Los Angeles Times and other media publicized that the materials were available. About 100,000 members also contacted the company after seeing the articles, primarily at the urging of the American Family Association.
“Many of our members voiced concerns about some of the products sold by merchants on Yahoo Shopping. We heard them and swiftly responded,” said Jeff Mallet, president/CEO of Yahoo. “We value the strong relationships we have with our members and have consistently listened to them.”
Despite its advertising slump, Yahoo also agreed not to enter into new contracts for adult-related banner ads. Yahoo representatives will start restricting “inappropriate” materials from its Geocities home pages and will make it more difficult for people using its search engine to find porn sites. The company warned that the changes will take place in the United States within a few weeks.
Kevin Noonan, vice president of Internet and media research at the Yankee Group, Boston, believes the move will benefit Yahoo.
“Yahoo has got a great reputation as a brand,” he said. “They got a little bad press and reacted very quickly. It's not a natural fit for them anyway.”
Sales from porn-related materials were likely only incremental, he added.
“Yahoo had links to about 100 stores [selling porn materials], and they get a 2 percent commission and some might have been [revenue-sharing arrangements]. Is 2 percent worth the backlash? No,” Noonan said.
According to The Boston Globe, Yahoo Shopping moved all X-rated items from various online stores to a single location in December. The Adult and Erotica section included a firewall requiring visitors to enter a credit card number to view the products.