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Expanding the dating pool

Expanding the dating pool

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Homo service is shut down when straight ads intrude
An international dating service for gay and lesbian Jews based in Toronto has been shut down amid some nasty allegations.

At the end of August, webmaster Johnny Abush sent out an e-mail to all members of the service: "NuYenta has been forced to shut down permanently by the actions of ASI (Advance Standards Inc), its web host.

"Last week, ASI secretly accessed NuYenta's database and took personal information about you and other members. ASI's unauthorized access and use of NuYenta's database was a clear breach of their agreement with NuYenta. ASI used NuYenta's database to launch an e-mail campaign designed to trick NuYenta's members into using one of the dozens of hetero-centric matchmaking services that are hosted by ASI. Their messages were formatted to look like a typical message from Nuyenta, although ASI's messages were signed 'Deborah Moss, Technical Support Manager.'"

Members of the site were also warned to check their credit card charges for July and August from ASI of New York, NY because any charges during that time were not authorized by NuYenta.

In his e-mail to NuYenta members, Abush further wrote: "Today I was shocked to hear from a NuYenta member that ASI processed an unauthorized charge against his credit card in mid-August."

But Deborah Moss, who is also ASI's office manager, says that's not true at all. "We haven't billed NuYenta members since the beginning of June."

Abush has refused comment on the demise of NuYenta. He is well known in Toronto as the founder and caretaker of the Jewish Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transexual Archives.

NuYenta got its start during the summer of 1997 when ASI of New York, NY approached Abush to partner on the unique service. The company was already running other Web dating services, but needed someone like Abush (both gay and Jewish, with contacts in both communities) to launch NuYenta.

Abush had already developed an international reputation for his website, "Twice Blessed for everything Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender and Jewish" (http://www.usc.edu/isd/archies/oneigla/tb) as well the website associated with the Nice Jewish Girls list serve (an international e-mail mailing list for Jewish lesbians.

Moss says she doesn't know why Abush shut down NuYenta. "Abush was NuYenta's webmaster and received 40 percent of any profits from the service."

Moss says, "ASI owns the database. We host it and pay for the service. Abush in no way, shape or fashion owns it."

When asked about the the advertising for non-gay dating services, Moss replies: "We send messages letting all our members know about all of our services… it is like a newsletter we send out, letting them know if a new website is coming out."

According to Moss, one of the services that ASI promotes is called Webfriends and offers alternative lifestyle options, and members can search "men seeking men" or "women seeking women."

ASI plans to relaunch NuYenta in the future but probably under a new name. But first, "to start NuYenta again we would have to terminate our agreement with Abush," says Moss.
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