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Minor touted Snap saying, “Parents now have a valuable resource at their fingertips to help safeguard their children from inappropriate materials.” Nine months later, in August 1998, CNET announced that Snap would be including pornographic Web sites in its directory, and admitted that pornographic sites could be found through Snap for sometime. Anyone searching for pornography on Snap would automatically be rolled over to the search engines Infoseek and Inktomi, which index pornography. 241

Snap’s executive producer, Katharine English, defended the decision by saying, “Our statistics show that 40 percent of our users are looking for this kind of material. This is a user-driven decision.” The decision was rationalized by pointing out that since all other search engines indexed sex industry sites, they had to as well. Katharine English said, “If you search for bestiality, you’ll find it there. It’s not like we’re standing out. … We’re trying to take a neutral position on pornography. It’s out there, it’s available.”

The decision was based on money, of course. The service lost US$3.68 million in the first quarter of 1998, on revenues of US$2.52 million. In July 1998 CNET moved into a joint venture with NBC, and Snap’s money loosing venture had to go. Pornographic advertising banners on search engines are the “cash cow,” or certain moneymakers, for the Web search engines and indexes. The owner of a Web site, search engine, or Web directory, is paid each time a viewer clicks on an advertisement on that page. Advertisers pay in the range of 12 cents to US$1 per click. Eventually, that adds up to a lot of money. 242

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