prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Craigslist self-censors adult services listings

Posted by prof e on September 6, 2010

Craigslist, the popular online classified advertising service, has decided to pull adult services listings that have been used by those engaging in prostitution and the sex trade industries. In response to criticism from celebrities and politicians, and facing legal battles from a consortium of 17 attorneys general, Craigslist decided to switch rather than fight. This is despite the fact that the adult services section brought in more than $36m last year, approximately 30 percent of their total revenue.

With a graphic of the word “censored” replacing the listing for adult services, Craigslist indicated an unwillingness to fight a legal challenge that it might actually win if it went to trial. Current regulation of the internet is essentially “hands-off” and does not hold bulletin boards and other listing services responsible for content posted by users. However, it is likely that the media attention focused on the Craigslist Killer, a man accused of robbing and killing prostitutes contacted through Craigslist, was a significant factor in turning public opinion against the classified ad service. Critics claimed that Craigslist facilitated the victimization of women.

Will this be a game-changer for those who want to sell sex online? Many worry that those involved in the sex trade business will simply go underground, move to other online sites, or even find other places on Craigslist to ply their trade.

Here’s a news story from CBS News.

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8 Responses to “Craigslist self-censors adult services listings”

  1. AJ Dome said

    I have always thought of the Internet as “use at your own risk.” Seeing this reminds me of that. Public forums offer no guarantees of safety… if they did, prostitution on Craigslist would come with a CarFax report and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  2. Matt Albright said

    Talk about trying to stop a flood with a single sandbag. I guess it was only a matter of time. The fact is that these women and men are offering illegal actives/services via the internet. Im quite suprised that the catogary stayed on there for so many years. Its no surprise that Craigslist was finally forced to take it down.
    With that said, this will not hinder prostitution in the slightest. These law makers are fooling themselves if they think it will. It well move to other areas of Craigslist, other web sites and back on the streets where it started. At least with the Adult Services area it could me watched and monitored. Plus, as AJ said, its the internet we are talking about. There are no guarantees. Its the new wild west.

  3. Janae Heiser said

    Even though I don’t believe that promoting adult prostitution on the internet is acceptable, I don’t think that making Craiglist take it down is going to prevent it from happening anywhere else. There are so many websites out on the internet that promote this kind of behavior that Craigslist just happened to be a popular one. Not knowing that they even had such postings on Craiglist, now brings to my attention that Craigslist doesn’t seem like a safe website to use and will most definitely lose a lot of cutomers and reduce its’ audience. It’s very crucial that they took the adult services off the website because we don’t need anymore advertisment for that kind of behavior, particularly in the eyes of the youth.

  4. Jasmine Landrum-Jones said

    I agree with the comments above. The internet is a “use at your own risk”. You control what you want website you want to explore etc. If you do not want to see adult services simply do not click in that direction. The women who get into the profession of prostitution know that it is a high risk lifestyle and I’m pretty sure they know all the possibilites and consequences that should be accounted for when they enter that field of work. I agree with Ulysses everyone should just mind their business unless these women are asking for your opinion or asking for help.

  5. daniel Bashian said

    the internet is a place with little to no regulation. when you click on a link that is titled adult services anybody with a brain can figure out that cookies are not being sold. after craigslist changed the category name to censored the same results are going to happen as before ,because the same weirdos are going to visit that category. online classifieds are a great place to buy and sell things, and can be completely safe as long as you don’t meet the people by yourself. I have bought two trucks through craigslist and sold a few things and never found problems. perhaps just the censored category is just drawing the creeps out and maybe some sort of stricter regulations aught to be put in place to protect users of that category

  6. Ami Gast said

    I think Craigslist made a smart choice in putting in the censor. Although I do believe that the sex sales were such a large part that people will find a way around it and start an underground branch for this sale. Craigslist is a business though and is making a profit off of this section. With that I think that they will find a way around the censor, they will not want to lose the money that was coming in. It is all about the way that people market this service. Craigslist does not want to cause more attention to it than has already been called. It is a chance I believe craigslist will take even with the events of the craigslist killer.

  7. Melissa G. said

    Craigslist fights for what they believe in. The sex link on craigslist has started so much controversy that they are going to trial to stop the website from promoting sex online. Although I believe that they do have a good point that it made the company a large amount of money but the issue is it being on a site for local sales and advertising. The sex link should be on a different site to help strain out the younger audience and that way it’s on the company’s site but only were the viewer meant to click on. The Internet is full of advertising sex, but does it have to show up on the local sites, probably not.

  8. Tyler Stone said

    Craigslist was wise to put a censor over the adult links. Even though craigslist made a large amount of profit from those ads it would hurt Craigslist as a buisness had they not censored it in the long run due largely to negative media and word of mouth. As far as prostitution goes they will always find a way around that no matter if its online or in the real world. Since then Craigslist has personal ads where people can still find other people and meet up if theyd like. The personal ads are the way people have gone around the media and I’m sure they keep the same if not higher profit now.

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