"Abusive" Webmasters: Right or Wrong?

Mike Mayo

I've noticed a disturbing trend lately: an increase in online "abuse" by Webmasters against surfers and by content producers against their "models" -- both of which portend problems for our industry...

While many of these abusers' heavy-handed tactics may not be exactly new, their occurrence seems to be on the rise; and like the man remarked when asked for a definition of "obscenity," I too have to say that while I can't succinctly describe abuse, "I know it when I see it..."

The Way to Make A Sale?
It never ceases to amaze me: "Webmasters" whose goal it is to pry money from surfers, treating their prospects in "unfriendly" ways, such as tossing them to pay sites with blind links proclaiming "click here for FREE porn" as well as subjecting them to never-ending circle jerks and pop-up hell; as if the surfer will actually wade through all of those extra windows, searching for something to pay for. "Mouse trapping" through back-button redirects, misleading domains and site spoofing, as well as a host of other insidious techniques designed to yield "a competitive advantage" - but do they really, or are they just making you a target for prosecution?

Imagine walking onto the floor of a typical Vegas casino, where no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't find an exit - only more ways to spend your hard earned money. But now instead of scantily clad waitresses coming around to bring you free drinks, you are waylaid by hordes of used car and timeshare salesmen with bad breath, all telling you that your woman is unsatisfied by your tiny dick, all offering you a special deal on a bigger, longer penis (even if you're a girl), or perhaps some Valium without a prescription or a horny single in your area so it won't matter how tiny your dick is... Makes you want to whip out the checkbook, doesn't it?

Sure, some schemes are clever: visit a certain gallery and a hidden script grabs your e-mail address and the next thing you know, your inbox is flooded with porn spam promoting - you guessed it - the same niche of the gallery you just visited... Now some marketers could justify such tactics as "simply making the content the surfer is seeking easier to find" - but the lack of a choice to receive this material or not makes it abusive.

Any technique that installs unwanted software (like that damn "isearch" toolbar), auto-bookmarks a page, resets your home page, or limits your ability to dismiss a window is abusive of the surfer and not the way to develop a long term business.

Whatever Happened to "Wholesome" Porn?
I'm not sure if it's a result of increasing competition driving "micro-niche" marketing, or an indicator of a callous debasement of our society and the customers we serve, but much of the porn I've seen lately while surfing the popular MGP sites has a "sinister" undertone that thrives on the degradation of those who appear in our content, and make our livelihoods possible.

Rather than a softer, more sensual display of the human form, or even the frenzied orgasms found in my sweet wife's particular brand of hardcore, there is an abundance of content being marketed that features verbal, physical, and sexual abuse of the participants. Slapping, spitting, choking, pissing on, and generally treating the ladies "like the filthy whores they are" is becoming all too commonplace.

Forget the legalities involved, much of this is simply wrong. And don't mistake me for a mega-prude, either: I bite, she scratches, and we both piss and drool on each other with great regularity; but these are acts of passion, not of abuse.

When I see video of an obviously frightened girl with a toilet seat around her head being throat fucked until she vomits and then slapped because she stopped sucking cock long enough to puke, and I've seen it in a non-age verified environment, I begin to worry. Not about the girl, because I can't change what happened to her, and can only hope that she's smart enough to stay away from such situations in the future - but about our industry, when outraged moms from the heartland demand that something be done about this material.

Believe me, lawmakers will make no distinction between 'good' and 'bad' porn, and the folks who are pushing this carnal drug will have a really hard time convincing a jury that it's legal pornography rather than illegal obscenity, when the powers that be decide to take them to task for their actions.

For those of you who think that promoting this type of degrading content is an acceptable way for you to turn a profit, I hope the next such gallery you see features your mother, daughter, sister, wife or girlfriend.

While I'm not sure that this rant adequately conveyed the essence of my feelings on the subjects involved, or that it will do any good even if it did, the bottom line is that in an industry that seems to be dominated by "fuck that, I can do whatever I want!" types, it is the business people who believe in limits that suffer the most. After all is said and done, the "kids" can go back to work at McDonalds - it's the "grown ups" who'll be left to lament the end of another opportunity - one that needlessly died from abuse.