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'Revenge porn' site shut down by 'anti-bullying' site 

BullyVille.com

Previously unrepentant purveyor of "revenge porn" Hunter Moore is pulling the plug on his repugnant website, Is Anyone Up, claiming he's burnt out on child porn and ruining lives. There's also the undisclosed sum for which he sold the site to "anti-bullying" website BullyVille, part of the conglomerate that runs its own exploitive revenge website, CheaterVille. One needn't read "The Gift of Fear" to smell something off in the latest twist in this tale of Internet ick. 

In the pitiless abyss that is the cyberspace, Is Anyone Up ranked among the most odious. Village Voice, in a recent profile of Moore, describes the site as " a virtual grudge slingshot of a website that gleefully publishes "revenge porn" photos — cellphone nudes submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, malicious hackers and other ne'er-do-well degenerates — posted alongside each unsuspecting subject's full name, social-media profile, and city of residence."

Is Anyone Up, operating for 16 months on the razor's edge of legality, "has been a source of public humiliation for pop-punk bassists, a Maple Leafs forward, an Ultimate Frisbee champ, an American Idol finalist, and the founder of Dream Water," the Voice delineates. The site "posts nude schoolteachers, young mothers, American military members, little people, and, recently, a disabled woman in a wheelchair." It's estimated Is Anyone Up received 300,000 hits a day, generating up to $20,000 a month in ad revenue. 

If someone who was exploited on Is Anyone Up wound up committing suicide, "Do you know how much money I'd make?" Moore boasted. Now, just weeks after appearing as the Voice's cover story, where he also claimed he loved that pre-adolescent girls told him they wanted to be naked on his site one day, Moore claims he's broke and burnt out. On Thursday, Moore said on ABC's "Nightline" that his site received "too much attention," and he felt "horrible." 

"I'd get at least 50 or 60 (photos of) underage kids" submitted every day, Moore told Gawker's Adrian Chen, adding that he did notify authorities. "It wasn't just 17-year-old girls. It was 12-year-olds and 9-year-olds. It definitely got old looking at that stuff every day." 

The Is Anyone Up domain now redirects to BullyVille, a site launched last week by James McGibney, the guy behind CheaterVille -- a website with an exploitation model not unlike Is Anyone Up. "Everyone was slamming [Moore] and saying what an a--hole he was, but no one was doing anything to try to fix it," McGibney told "Nightline."

"No doubt, [Moore] was the No. 1 Internet bully out there and we took him down ... not a hostile takeover but in a politically correct way."

Sure, you could buy Instagram a billion jillion times over with the cash required to shut down bullying websites, but you'd be really stupid or running a publicity stunt to launch your very trendy "anti-bullying" website to claim you're significantly purging the Internet of its ills. Yet here's McGibney, taking umbrage with accusations of stuntdom as he claims he shelled out the undisclosed amount of cash for the domain to "save people's lives," alleging reports of people who had committed suicide after appearing on the site, while remaining shy on the specifics. 

McGibney's empathy for the exploited does not extend to his other website, CheaterVille, where spurned lovers are invited to submit the alleged wrongdoings of their exes -- just not their naked pictures or videos –- no fact checking required. The specifics become part of a handy database where users are invited to check up on the possible wrongdoings of those they're dating. Or whatever. (No word on the number of CheaterVille-related suicides.) 

"The Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects companies like Facebook and social media sites," McGibney said in a 2011 interview with Las Vegas Weekly, when asked about CheaterVille's legality. "Facebook is not responsible for what somebody posts as his status update. We are under the same guise." 

This handy link on BullyVille takes you straight to CheaterVille where you can do some bullying of your own.

And like Is Anyone Up, CheaterVille makes its money off ad revenue, as McGibney said in the same interview: 

So, things are ad generated, and we have some top-rate advertisers. They care about hits, especially return users. Our site is getting users that visit three or four times a day. People are hooked. Our average user stays on for eight and a half minutes. That’s a tremendous period of time.

It's with this same exploitive irresponsibility that BullyVille seems to operate, despite advice from groups like the Centers for Disease Control which says that ongoing, exploitive stories about suicide cause those at risk to obsess about taking their own lives, especially if they're in the 15- to 24-year-old age range.

Regardless, the BullyVille home page is a cacophony of complicated tragedies, broken down into one-size-fits-all video sound bites babbled by C-list celebrities, such as Dr. Drew and the Guns N' Roses lead guitarist (not Slash), who don't have the good sense to know that correlation does not equal causation. Teen suicide is a hot topic right now however, and there are clicks to be had and ad revenue to be made.

What of Hunter Moore, the deposed czar of penultimate bullying site Are You Up? "I might do some writing on BullyVille.com to help people who have been bullied; I’ve been on both sides of the fence," he wrote in his farewell open letter. "I am putting this message up on BullyVille.com to stand up for underage bullying. I think it’s important that everyone realizes the damage that online bullying can cause."

Just like his new boss McGibney, it takes one to know one.

Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about online privacy, then asks you to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+. Because that's how she rolls.