'Yoohhoo, our portal sexier than Yahoo'

Bangkok - The Internet company Yahoo has moved to close down a Thai-owned portal for men, named Yoohhoo, which features pictures of scantily clad women and advice on sex problems, reports said on Monday.

Thai Webmasters Association chairperson Colonel Yanaphon Youngyuen told the Nation newspaper that the United State-based Yahoo had filed a suit in April, claiming the Thai site's name was too much like its own and could confuse Net surfers.

It demanded that the Thai portal's name, printed in a logo broadly similar to the typeface used by the giant US company, be changed.

Webmaster of Yoohhoo.com Chatchai Thumprasreat, who was warned off by Yahoo's lawyers, defended his site and said it clearly offered a different service to the giant search engine.

"I told the lawyer that I had no intention of duplicating Yahoo's name. Actually, we have different names, it is pronounced differently and has different fonts," he told the Nation.

"I set up Yoohhoo to be a virtual magazine for men, but I can guarantee that there is no explicitly sexual material on the site," he said.

Chatchai said Yahoo's lawyer told him the clampdown came as the company prepared to launch a Thai version - it already had sites covering Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China.

The Nation quoted an Internet industry source as saying that Yahoo! planned to set up a Thai service by the end of the year.

Chatchai has sought support on Internet bulletin boards in his David and Goliath battle.

"I don't know about you but I don't like to see foreign companies bullyng Thai companies like this," said one notice, urging Thais to stay away from the planned Yahoo site.

Others asked why the operators of the cheekily named Yoowho.com yoowho.com, yahaa.com and hotmale.com had not been sued.

Chatchai said Yahoo had not responded since he put his argument to them.

"I think the lawyer is waiting for a decision from Yahoo, but I am confident that they will understand my side," he said.- Sapa-AFP


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