Craigslist Silent On Closing Adult Services Section

Classified ads site slapped a "censored" banner over the former link to the controversial area.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

September 7, 2010

2 Min Read

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Craigslist, which has been warned by 17 attorneys general of sex trafficking on the site, has closed the controversial adult services section, but has yet to say why.

The classified ads site took down the section on Friday, replacing the link with a "censored" banner. Beyond that, Craigslist has not offered an explanation and did not respond to request for comment Monday from InformationWeek.

The takedown occurred almost two weeks after 17 attorneys general sent a letter to Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark, warning them that "ads for prostitution -- including ads trafficking children -- are rampant on it."

"In our view, the company should take immediate action to end the misery for the women and children who may be exploited and victimized by these ads," the letter said.

In response, Craigslist issued a statement that said the site was ready to work closely with prosecutors and any law enforcement agency to combat illicit postings on the site.

By shuttering the adult services section, Craigslist has removed a sizable portion of its annual revenue. Fully 30% of Craigslist's $122 million in revenue this year will come from the adult services section, according to a report released last month by the AIM Group, which provides consulting services for interactive media and classified advertising.

Attorneys general have pressured Craigslist before for allegedly failing to police the online classified ads site. In May 2009, the site agreed to close its "erotic services" section, after a 26-year-old New York woman was shot to death while meeting a client who answered her massage ad on Craigslist.

Craigslist replaced the shuttered section with the adult services section, saying the site would manually review every ad posted and stop users from posting nude or graphic photos. In addition, advertisers were required to use a working phone number and pay a $10 fee with a credit card.

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