The Internet Is Making It Hard To Be A Gangster

from the take-the-cannolis dept

One of the Sicilian Mafia’s oldest and most steady revenue streams, protection money, called “pizzo” in Italian, is now at risk a new website that now provides extorted businessmen the support with which to stand up to the mob. Traditionally considered a death sentence to stand up to the Sicilian Mafia,, which means “Goodbye Pizzo,” voluntarily lists 230 businesses who openly defy the payment to the Mafia. There is safety in numbers, and the tide of pizzo payments is indeed starting to turn. Perhaps what the website organizers should offer next is the ability for the pizzo-paying business owners to list what they are each paying for “protection.” That way, perhaps they can lend some transparency to the Mafia’s business. After all, why pay 500 euros a month if your neighbor is only paying 100 euros a month for his “I-hope-nothing-bad-happens-to-you” policy? Or, perhaps, once again, the web has brought an end to an outdated business model, and the Sicilian Mafia needs to adapt with the times. From spam to porn to gambling, the Internet is rife with shady schemes in which the well-organized gangster can participate.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “The Internet Is Making It Hard To Be A Gangster”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DittoBox says:

Re: It's called recording industry vs. the people

As much as I hate to say this (and I’m not defending the MAFIAA) the MAFIAA does not threaten your life or the lives of your children.

Monetary and financial extortion is terrible, yes, but extortion with the threat of physical violence is that much worse. Don’t confuse the two.

Monarch says:

Is that site for businesses in Europe or the United States? From what I read of the article the businesses were in the U.S.A..
Now if that is the case, why would we have an analogy based on the Euro instead of the Dollar? Has the U.S. Dollar fallen so much that the Euro is completely taking over as the dominant currency in the World?

Danny says:

i don't get it

What I don’t understand, from the Mafia’s point of view, is why don’t they just kill a couple of the people at the top of the list? Wouldn’t that scare others to drop their names off the list? [I note that this, of course, is not ethical – but it is what the Mafia does.]

That is to say, why in this case does the Internet make the Mafia’s protection racket an outdated business model?

Nick says:

The Russian Mafia

The Russian mafia has actually been engaging in online protection rackets for quite some time-they will hack eCommerce sites and force the owners to pay protection or release the compromised information (usually credit card numbers), or they will denial of service attack websites who do not pay.

paroch says:


Mate, the article specifically listed the Sicilian Mafia…
I mean, i know that most of the world is “Here there be dragons” for people in the US, but still…

For americans – Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, part of Italy, which is a country in Europe.
Italy is part of the EU, and so it’s monetary unit is the “Euro”.
That’s where the analogy comes from.

Also, yeah, the euro has pretty much replaced the dollar as the “strongest” currency for quite a few years now.

Texpatriate says:


The “mafia” – in the usually accepted sense of the term – in the United States consists mainly of Sicilian immigrants and their descendants. Therefore, the “Sicilian” Mafia could apply here. Thank you, though, for the geography and economics lesson, even if not all of us needed it.

That being said, if anyone bothered to visit the website, which is multilingual (even though following the link takes you to the *English* version), it clearly states that it all began in Palermo.

Antonio says:

It's called recording industry vs. the people

Not true. The mafia practice of collecting pizzo has completely crippled the economy in southern Italy. People remain poor with no hope of improving their standards. Should they try to fight it, they die. I’m currently living in southern Italy. There is a mafia war happening right now. 18 people have died since January. Just 4 days ago 2 innocent people were murdered because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Do what we say, or we’ll kill you” may not seem like a direct threat to your livelyhood, but it certainly does to many peolpe who are powerless to stop it. The stigma of the mafia being an “honorable” organization is a myth. last month, two little boys bodies were found dissolving in acid because their father refused to pay. It’s sickening

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...