Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Digital Queeries

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Digital Queeries

Article excerpt

Trouble in paradise

The first two weeks of February were rife with embarrassment followed by redemption for online powerhouses Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Both companies were linked--Yahoo! through two advertisers and Microsoft on its Expedia travel site--to online promotions awarding vacations at a Sandals resort in Jamaica. The trouble came in the fine print, which said, "Sandals Luxury Resorts policies require male/female couples only."

Online advocacy group Wired Strategies, tipped off to the homophobia by Atlanta resident Kirby Frank, issued a press release. Subsequently, Yahoo! and Microsoft--at risk of alienating a $17-billion-a-year international gay travel market--said they knew nothing of Sandals' policy and severed all ties to the resort.

Digital Queeries made a quick call to (800) SANDALS to see if the resort had reconsidered its policy but was told by a reservations clerk that the exclusion of same-sex couples "has always been our policy, and it will always be our policy."

Interestingly, Web portal Excite, which in late January was purchased by @Home, also ran a promotion with Sandals but was unscathed by bad press--until now. …

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