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From Wedding Photos To Phone Sex

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From Wedding Photos To Phone Sex

From The Search Engine Report
March 3, 2000

Wedding photographer Jon C. Domke was surprised to discover a sudden spike in traffic to his web site in early January. Surprise became shock when he checked his traffic logs and discovered that people searching for porn on AltaVista were reaching his site by mistake.

"I could not believe my eyes. My website was listed number one when users did a search for 'sex'," said Domke, who's based in Dearborn, Michigan.

Somehow, AltaVista crosslinked his web address with the title and description of a phone sex site. So instead of being listed as "Total Photo Image," Domke's site appeared as "Adult Phone Sex With Amateur Phone Flirts."

Not happy with the situation, Domke tried to reach someone at AltaVista for help. "I have sent several email requests to AltaVista to have the listing corrected but only received generic responses. I finally found a phone number to their corporate office and left a voice mail on their legal department's machine. But still no one returns my letters or calls," he said.

Domke initiated his complaint using the site's feedback form back in January, then says he followed the instructions to "escalate" the complaint, should have gotten him response within 48 hours. At least, that's what AltaVista's automated support system promises. Nearly two months later, he was still waiting.

In addition, Domke's situation was covered by a local television station and newspaper last week, both of which brought the matter to the search engine's attention, Domke says. "AltaVista has yet to contact me since I first contacted them on January 7. But they have spoken with both news sources. They claim it is a technical glitch and assured the TV station that it would not happen again in the future," Domke said.

"We actually did talk with the paper, and spent a good deal of time looking into the issue on our end. We were confident that the issue was fixed, we will continue to look into it," said Kristi Kaspar, Marketing Programs Manager at AltaVista.

Shortly after I contacted AltaVista, the problem seemed to be corrected. But Domke's site was not the only one listed with misleading information. Some of the other examples he pointed out remain with misleading descriptions.

AltaVista
http://www.altavista.com/

Total Photo Image
http://www.total-photo.com/

Domke's web site, which contains no porn -- probably to the disappointment of some people who found it via AltaVista.


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