educational

MySpace Now A Porn Fav: 2

Rodger Jacobs
In part one we looked at how MySpace.com's sex-obsessed demographic fuels the website's popularity. In this conclusion, we'll continue our look at this powerhouse portal – and the powerhouse behind it all.

Struggling to translate their real-world success into success in the wired world, News Corp. and FIM were hoping to create "the ultimate home base for users' news, information, entertainment and community needs."

And that's where Intermix and MySpace enter the picture. As Hearst once famously quipped, "Putting out a newspaper without promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark — well-intentioned but ineffective."

According to ComScore, from June 2004 to June 2005 the number of visitors to News Corp. online fell 7 percent to 11.9 million from 12.8 million, whereas the number of unique visitors to the MySpace portal soared 1,400 percent during the same period to 17.7 million from 1.2 million.

Launched two years ago, MySpace is the fifth-ranked web domain in terms of total page views, according to ComScore. The portal is clearly targeted to teens and young adults — 30 million a month and counting — and features a variety of services, including personal profiles and blogs, email, instant messaging, music downloads, band and musical artist promotions, photo galleries, chat rooms and classified advertising — and more porn stars than you can squeeze into the San Fernando Valley.

But are the Murdoch-sized scandals attached to Intermix and MySpace worth $580 million?

In April, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed suit against Intermix, alleging that the company was the source of spyware and adware that had been installed on millions of home computers. The Attorney General documented at least 10 websites from which Intermix or its agents were downloading spyware, providing either no warning or other disclosures. In this way, Spitzer argued, Intermix and its agents downloaded more than 3.7 million programs to New Yorkers alone and tens of millions more to users across the nation.

Intermix settled the suit in June — one month before the FIM/Murdoch purchase — without admitting wrongdoing or liability. The company will pay the state of New York $7.5 million over three years.

Murdoch, Adult?
But the real issue here, critics say, is that by purchasing MySpace, Murdoch is, by proxy, buying a piece of the online adult industry and pimping News Corp. to a legion of porn fans, which is even more complicated by the fact that MySpace is regularly visited by underage users.

The MySpace Terms of Use Agreement specifies that member postings "may not contain nudity, violence, or offensive subject matter." Although most of the porn star and porn-related pages at MySpace contain only partial nudity or none at all beyond provocative clothing and night wear, XBiz found one member page with a hardcore photo of male to female penetration. The member, Sammy Da Slut, writes about herself:

"I work at night as a stripper. I have a baby and her name is Selina. Her father was a guy who picked me up off the street. My baby needs a real dad, so does anyone wanna come and try out? But really! I love sex. I started when I was 11 and had a child when I was 13. I like both men and women. I am harsh in da sheets."

When contacted by XBiz via email, MySpace offered no comment on Sammy Da Slut or about any of the porn star and porn-related pages that they host and certainly no comment on why a site with 30 million monthly unique visitors does not employ an age-verification system for the adult-related groups and pages. They did, however, remove the hardcore photo from Sammy Da Slut's page within minutes of receiving the email.

"How do you police 30 million people?" asks Monstar. "I police my own page. I personally approve every new member profile to weed out the kids."

Monstar likens his Porn Star Group to an online directory where those looking for reliable information about getting into the adult entertainment industry can find all the answers they crave. He posts porn star interviews and aggressively promotes all of the performers in his member group. He boasts of his feature "Monstar's Monthly Hottie," where he showcases a particular girl from within the industry, and he facilitates members who want to enter the adult industry by hooking them up with reliable individuals and companies.

"My website is really becoming symbiotic with MySpace," Monstar claims. "The Monstar MySpace Group is the jewel in the MySpace crown."

When Monstar's Porn Star Group debuted on MySpace, it was an open forum with a disclaimer upon entry that there was no nudity but there was frank sexual dialogue. When he discovered a 16-year-old member asking about getting into the adult industry, he immediately imposed an age ban.

A handful of members, such as Kylie Ireland, have followed suit but many others have not, and in the long run even those who self-police still maintain a front page visible to all users with sexual imagery and carnal dialogue. On one member's page a young porn star holds a dildo aloft and writes: "Come on! This double dong isn't going to fuck itself!"

Indeed, the compelling factor here is that if General Motors purchased MySpace for $580 million, Fox News would be solidly on the case, exposing what they would deem the immorality of a corporate behemoth. But when a media empire seeks to extend its reach to the Internet by purchasing an adult content-laden web portal, yellow journalism takes a holiday.

"You can crush a man with journalism," Hearst once declared.

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