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Portfolio websites backpage.com,imv.com and backpage classics.com are among the backpage,classic and karaoke websites that have been shut down for violating the EU anti-discrimination directive.
The sites, which were among the top 10 websites for ad revenue in Europe in 2014, were the subject of an EU-wide investigation after it emerged they were using the same backpage domain, which is the same as the one used to host the karaokart.com domain, to sell illegal products.
The European Commission, which monitors the blacklist, said backpage had been found to be in violation of the directive by using a registered and domain name identical to that used by the banned site.
Backpage Classics.com was found to have been violating the directive in September.
It also has been shuttered.
It is unclear how the sites will be restored, but the companies are working with their legal teams.
“In the meantime, we are working closely with the relevant authorities and will make any necessary legal and financial arrangements to enable us to restore the websites to their previous functioning,” the companies said in a statement.
The companies also said that they would be sharing any information on their customers that may be available on the backpages websites.
The EU has imposed sanctions on backpage since at least 2012, accusing it of offering illegal services.
It said the sites were not complying with EU rules on free speech and the protection of children, although backpage insists it complied.
Backpages was a popular and profitable source of ad revenue for European players, who used it to build up profiles and to market products and services on the site.
It was also a key part of the business model for the companies behind the popular Backpage.net, which was banned by the European Union in October.
The company was forced to shut down, however, after a court ruling in January that the EU had infringed the rights of European consumers by imposing sanctions on the company.
The decision was appealed by the companies.
“The EU cannot regulate online advertising without a clear legal basis, and this is why it has been doing what it has,” said a spokesperson for the European Commission.