Google Under Fire in Brazil Over a Controversial Site

Google Inc. makes billions marrying advertising to the Web. Just yesterday, it reported yet another surge in revenue and profit.But here in Brazil, the Internet powerhouse is embroiled in an embarrassing episode over its efforts to profit from social networking, one of the fastest-growing activities online.Google has gotten in hot water over its Web site Orkut, which like other social-networking sites allows people to swap information and create personal Web pages. While many Americans have never heard of it, Orkut is a powerhouse overseas, with more than half its 25 million monthly visitors in Brazil. By some measures, it ranks among the top 10 sites on the Web in popularity, alongside other heavily used social-networking sites such as News Corp.’s MySpace and Facebook Inc.A central challenge for all these companies is how to turn the usage into cash. All of the big players are looking to advertisers to generate revenue. For most of its history Orkut was ad-free.Then, when Google tried putting ads on the site, it ran into trouble. Critics in Brazil released a report showing advertisements on Orkut alongside pictures of naked children and abused animals. Google immediately suspended the ads, but the Mountain View, Calif., company is still grappling with the fallout from critics’ Orkut campaign.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119273558149563775.html

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