Religion and the Internet

August 11, 1999

Source: The Boston Globe

On August 11, 1999, The Boston Globe reported that Lycos Inc., a major Internet search engine, will discontinue an advertisement placed by Jews for Jesus after many complaints from members of the Jewish community. Jews for Jesus paid $1700 to Lycos for a banner to appear at the top of computer screens for the first 40,000 people who typed in the word "Jewish" as a search term. The advertisements began to run on July 6th, but complaints were not received by Lycos until July 29th. On July 30th, Lycos pulled the advertisement, saying that it appeared to endorse Jews for Jesus. Lycos reinstated the ad one week later; it plans to carry out the contract signed with Jews for Jesus, but will not renew it. Diane Kolb, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League's Boston office, urged Lycos to discontinue the ad because it is misleading: "It's very seductive material for a lot of Jews...If I'm a Jew struggling with my identity living in this Christian society, I could believe in Jesus, then I could have Christmas and I wouldn't have to be different from everyone else...That's kind of cozy, but it's offering people an option that isn't available, and that's what we have a problem with." Susan Perlman, spokeswoman for Jews for Jesus, stated: "It's a shame that there are people who want to block our message and prevent people from thinking for themselves...The Web is supposed to be a marketplace for all kinds of ideas, and people can click on them or pass them by."