Opinion

Thought for the day:Sex-obsessed? Surely not...

Hard-hitting IT columnist Simon Moores gives his personal take on the hot issue of the day.You won't believe this, but mention sex and the editor tells me that the number of page impressions against this column soars. An observation that had us wondering whether it was time to add an extra channel to the site, one focusing exclusively on a combination of sex (there, I said it twice) and IT issues - a sort of Dr Moores problem page for the industry.

But even the largest names in IT aren't immune from the growing influence of the adult entertainment industry. I was running a Google search last week against "ASP" and spotted my name against a presentation I had made last year for a large vendor. More for nostalgia than anything else, I followed the link and found myself at an online gambling and dating portal, not the home page of the vendor I expected.

I could tell you the company's name but that would be unkind as I had lunch with the managing director only last month. Instead, I fired off a quick e-mail pointing out that one of their sub-domains had been hijacked and did they know about it.

Losing your domain to someone else - hijacking or redirection, depending on your perspective - isn't unusual. In fact, it's quite common. The adult entertainment industry plays all kinds of games in an effort to capture the attention of the unwary and this can involve hijacking, which is illegal, or attempting to buy the domain names of British seaside towns, which isn't.

I happen to be sitting on Birchington.com and believe me, I've been tempted, but my relatives wouldn't be too pleased if their hometown URL suddenly reappeared as the portal for a Webcam site in Florida.

Only a matter of weeks ago, a South Korean politician was heavily censured for describing sex as the driving force behind the enthusiasm for broadband in his country. I should add at this point that broadband isn't yet available in Birchington-on-Sea, and that the majority of its inhabitants are probably past the age of caring anyway, but what the Korean said was only what many of us in IT have suspected for some time.

Sex-related spam is increasing by 30% annually and there has been an explosion in the Webcam industry since broadband became more widely available. In fact, the only time in history when sex-related topics were kicked off the top slot on the world's search engines was on 11 September 2001.

Let's face it, the Internet, like SMS messaging, is driven by lust and you only have to watch the latest Vodafone advertising on television to see this. Cut away the "X" factor and the greater revenue of the Internet evaporates with it, regardless of our well-meaning aspirations for the development of e-business and plans for a knowledge economy.

Human nature hasn't changed in 5,000 years. When man first started recording transactions on clay tablets he wasn't thinking "Cool - It's c-business". In the absence of Webcams, he was most probably recording the day's takings from a business in the world's oldest profession.

What is your view?
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Zentelligence Setting the world to rights with the collected thoughts and opinions of the futurist writer, broadcaster and Computer Weekly columnist Simon Moores.

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This was first published in September 2002

 

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