Gossip site investigation overdue

Finally, someone is doing something about JuicyCampus.

After months of racy, insulting content on the college gossip Web site, someone is finally holding the site accountable for its reckless abandon in policing its posts.

The New Jersey attorney general’s office is investigating whether JuicyCampus violated state law through unconscionable commercial practices and misrepresentation to users, and has subpoenaed JuicyCampus’ leaders and the site’s former ad servers, AdBrite and Google’s AdSense.

The AdSense application was pulled by Google in February after it violated Google’s policy. And three weeks ago, after the Web site’s founder, Matt Ivester, said he didn’t foresee any issues with AdBrite, it pulled its ads from the site as well. See a pattern here?

If no company will endorse the site, it must have a problem.

Ivester said in a previous Skiff interview that it is the responsibility of users to create the discussion forums that they want.

“It’s a gossip Web site,” Ivester said. “Don’t make it into a bigger deal than it is.”

Maybe Ivester’s right. Maybe it isn’t a big deal that half the campus is “TCU’s biggest slut” and (insert random name here) is (insert dirty insult here).

However, the state of New Jersey thinks this is a big deal, and it plays for keeps.

Although Ivester claims that blocking offensive comments would not be a realistic goal, the site can pinpoint what university every post comes from. That is something the New Jersey attorney general’s office will want to investigate.

The Internet was created as a shared-communication tool, not an outlet for people to sit at their computers and make unwarranted comments which, in many other forums, would be considered libelous.

Go ahead, New Jersey, take this site to the cleaners. That’s juicy news.