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SAMIZDATA FROM THE GEO-GULAGS, Page 4



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Click HERE for Page 3 of the samizdata from the Geo-Gulags.

Click HERE for Page 5 of the samizdata from the Geo-Gulags -- the crash of Yahoo! Inc. stock.


Name: The Grand Panjandrum
Website: The Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page
Referred by: Geocities
From: I am in exile at GuestWorld at Lycos/Tripod
Time: 1999-07-30 12:18:00
Comments: 

The Jaundiced Eye in Exile: 30 July 1999

Yahoo! Inc., Smokescreens, Corporate Veils, Gambling, Pornography and Piracy

Yesterday, Yahoo! Inc. announced their participation in a smokescreen program which supposedly demonstrates their determination to "protect children" on the Internet. Pardon our blunt English, but, "B.S."!

Yahoo! Inc.'s ALLEGED efforts to protect children are so much smoke and mirrors. In fact, Yahoo! Inc. has not only done nothing effective to protect children from harmful Internet content, but the level of degeneracy which they are helping to promote is rapidly becoming astonishing even to the sophisticated street-savvy sensibilities here (and our regular visitors know that -- to coin a phrase -- "We're no angels.")!

Having already provided Internet pornographers with the e-mail adresses of GeoCities users -- including teenagers -- over the last 48 hours Yahoo! Inc. has forwarded to those with GeoCities mail accounts information on how they can link to a casino right from their own web pages, forwarded several interesting pieces of e-mail on various money-making schemes which we, at least, could not distinguish from "pyramid schemes" and similar frauds, and yet more e-mail on obtaining drugs via the Internet!

But Yahoo! Inc. says not to worry: they are spearheading a new group to "protect children." Protect their own interests, is closer to the truth. Yahoo! Inc. stock has fallen about forty points since their take-over of GeoCities and the initiation of their schemes to (as their Board of Directors stated in a sworn declaration to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission), "commercialize" it. Commercialize it they certainly have!

What should we have found now on Yahoo! GeoCities but . . . a matched pair of software and entertainment piracy (excuse us -- "backup") web sites! And Yahoo! Inc. is proudly displaying their "pop-up advertisements" with each and every frame that comes into view on both web sites. Who, you may wonder, is Yahoo! Inc.'s co-sponsor of these hotbeds of international piracy? (Excuse us again -- we really do mean to say "backup" -- "piracy" smacks of trademark infringement, fraud, sub-standard merchandise and Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations, none of which illegal conduct Yahoo! Inc. or any of its officers, employees, agents, partners or associates stand accused of -- if we slip and use the word "piracy," do please understand that we really mean "back-up" -- as in "back-ups" of Tarzan and Star Wars: the Phantom Menace, and a CD that was recorded for exclusive distribution in Japan and not intended by the recording artist or the recording company for U.S. distribution -- that sort of "back-up.")

Give up on who is Yahoo! Inc.'s principal partner in sponsoring these "back-up" web sites? Here's a big hint: regular readers of these samizdata from the Geo-Gulags may remember our stern two-part "Warning to Parents" last week about someone whose e-mail was being sent out by Yahoo! Inc. to GeoCities members (some as young as thirteen, no doubt), and who was soliciting private e-mail addresses, real names, home addresses, home telephone numbers, etc. That person or persons used a return address at worldnet.att.com, and -- wouldn't you know it -- until we stopped keeping track, four out of five of these Yahoo! Inc. sponsorship ads for these "back-up" sites were from AT&T, which -- coincidentally, we're sure -- is the very company which Yahoo! Inc.'s Board of Directors identified in June in their sworn statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission as one of the very companies with which they intended to team up! What a lovely coincidence!

Coincidental, too, we suppose, is the sworn statement by the Yahoo! Inc. Board of Directors that they were beginning to expand into Mandarin Chinese markets -- at just about the same time that Chinese police were seizing and destroying large numbers of really pirated copies of . . . Star Wars: The Phantom Menace!

Coincidental, too, is undoubtedly the fact that the principal music CD "back-up" being offered on these two Yahoo! GeoCities sites is one which was recorded exclusively for the Japanese market, while the controlling interest in Yahoo! Inc. is, according to their S.E.C. Schedule 13D filing of 16 February 199 (CSUIP # 984332-10-6), held by Softbank Holdings, Inc., a Delaware Corporation which fronts in the United States for a Japanese company, SOFTBANK Corp., which is run by a certain Mr. Masayoshi Son, President and Chief Executive Officer of SOFTBANK, Corp., who is a Japanese citizen, as are Hitoshi Hasegawa, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of SOFTBANK, and Yoshitaka Kitao, General Counsel of SOFTBANK (which also has a controlling interest in Yoyodine, by the way).

"Curiouser and curiouser," Alice would no doubt have said if she had probed as deeply behind the mysteries of Wonderland as we have behind "the corporate veil" of Yahoo! Inc.

Of course, we are not the only people probing into the mysteries of Yahoo! Inc. and the reasons for their take-overs of GeoCities and Broadcast.com. As Microsoft's MoneyCentral pointed out in an Investor's Alert not long ago, more than 5% of Yahoo! Inc.'s stock was dumped by what are called "institutional investors" after the February S.E.C. filing by Yahoo! Inc. Among those who dumped Yahoo! stock were "The President and Fellows of Harvard University." The current stock prices for Yahoo! Inc. are reflecting the frantic sell-off of its stock by institutional investors, major corporations, and smart investors who do not want to be part of the debacle when Yahoo! Inc.'s business dealings are brought into the full light of day: another Investor Alert from MoneyCentral noted this week that Yahoo! Inc. had fallen below the bottom of its 200 day moving price -- in other words, sensible investors are dumping Yahoo! Inc. stock at any price they can get, no matter how low it may be.

But remember: there is no "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt" that Yahoo! Inc., Softbank Holdings, Inc., SOFTBANK Corp., AT&T, or any of their officers, employees, agents, partners, or associates are in any way connected with Internet pornography, copyright or trademark infringements, foreign prescription drug dealing, the manufacture and distribution of false identification papers, software piracy, fraud, or any other activity which might be construed as racketeering. Even the rushed acquisition by Yahoo! Inc. of Broadcast.com -- a company which specializes in live video feeds -- exactly one week before 28 college athletes sued a group of Internet and videotape pornographers for making "hidden camera" video recordings of them while they were nude in various college locker rooms was purely coincidental and should not be construed as any attempt by the officers or employees of Yahoo! Inc. to evade liability for any sort of alleged misconduct.

It's really all just a curious set of coincidences with no sinister shadow over it at all. Still, we do want to shine some light there, because -- darn it -- "that's what Brian Boitano would do!!!"

Here ends the 30 July 1999 samizdat from the Geo-Gulags.