Yahoo to remove adult-related products from Web sites

Responding to complaints from users, Yahoo Inc. said it has removed adult-related products from its Web sites.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based portal also said it wouldn’t enter into any new contracts for banner advertisements for adult-related products.

While adult videos and DVDs have been available for two years on password-protected Yahoo sites, customers began to complain in earnest only this week after the news media reported it.

The pornographic videos and other products were sold through Yahoo’s shopping, auctions and classified sites. The changes will be implemented in the U.S. over the next few weeks.

“At Yahoo, 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, 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,” said Jeff Mallett, Yahoo’s president and chief operating officer, in a statement today.

In an earnings report Wednesday, the company announced plans to cut 12% of its workforce and to reduce spending in a variety of other areas, while reporting first-quarter financial results in line with reduced revenue and profit targets that were put in place last month.

Yahoo confirmed that it collects royalties from an adult DVD and video sales operation that runs on a password-protected site in the Yahoo network. Yahoo doesn’t sell any adult materials directly, but it provides partner merchants with a portal to sell their adult materials.

A Los Angeles Times story on Wednesday explained how Yahoo had re-launched its “Adult and Erotica” store and had added more adult-related materials to its Yahoo Shopping site. This prompted concern from at least one conservative group, the Capitol Resource Institute in Sacramento, Calif. It said Yahoo had put “greed and the hope of a quick buck ahead of children, families and an honourable, honest profit.”

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