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Sex, Money, And Internet Search Sites

The cynics who say that the Internet is about two things, sex and money, probably have a smug sense of satisfaction from the news this week, because the big news for the Internet search sites Yahoo and Google was all about those two eternal human interests.

On the seamy side of things, Yahoo announced that it was shutting down possibly hundreds of chat sites because some of those chat rooms were used to promote sex with minors.

The action came after a host of advertisers complained, according to a report by KPRC-TV in Houston. That station said that companies including PepsiCo Inc., State Farm Insurance and Georgia-Pacific Corp. stopped advertising after they found that chat rooms such as "Younger Girls 4 Older Guys" and "Girls 13 And Under for Older Guys" were being used to lure children into have sex with adults.

Yahoo's move drew the usual responses from the usual suspects. Family advocacy groups lauded the action, saying it would make children safer. "This is a positive a step in the online fight against child exploitation,'' said Michelle Collins, director of the exploited children unit at The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Privacy advocates, however, called Yahoo's decision an "overreaction"and said the company should have only targeted those involved in the illicit behavior.

On just the money end of things, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that the search giant wasn't working on a epay service to compete with PayPal. That denial came after reports last week that Google was ready to go head to head with Paypal. But Schmidt did admit that Google was working on some kind of electronic payment product, but he refused to say exactly what it was. Stay tuned. GoogleCash, perhaps?

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