Home Craigslist Dims the Red Light: Revamps “Erotic Services” Section

Craigslist Dims the Red Light: Revamps “Erotic Services” Section

Craigslist, the popular online classifieds service, announced a major revamp of its “erotic services” section today, which, until now, featured copious amounts of ads for prostitutes and escort services. The “erotic services” section will be closed and will be replaced by an “adult services” section, where Craigslist’s customer service reps will review every ad before it can be posted. This decision comes after pressure from various political organizations on Craigslist mounted, and after the attorneys general of Connecticut, Missouri, and Illinois met with officials from Craigslist last week.

A Blatant Internet Brothel

Connecticut’s Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, called Craigslist “a blatant Internet brothel”. And given all the negative publicity around the service (including the story of the “Craigslist killer” that kept tabloids and local TV news shows stocked with material for days in April), the company clearly decided that it was time to revamp the red light section of its service.

It is important to note, though, that it doesn’t seem like Craigslist could actually be held accountable for the ads placed in its site, instead, it rather seems like the company simply gave in to the mounting pressure.

There is, of course, no denying that the French teachers that advertise in Craigslist’s “Erotic Services” (ES) section are probably not trained linguists. By 11am this morning, the ES section for Portland, OR (link is SFW, but everything after that is not) already featured over 300 ads, very few of which we could even post a screenshot of here on RWW.

Reborn as “Adult Services” – With Adult Supervision

Craiglist, however, is not shutting the ES section down completely. Instead, it will be reborn as a new “adult services” section, where all posts will be reviewed before they are published on the site (to ensure that they are from “legal adult service providers”). New ads will cost $10, and can be reposted for $5.

Of course, we can’t help but think that this will only drive the erotic services providers to other outlets (or, even worse, back on the street). We also can’t help but wonder what euphemisms advertisers in the new “adult services” section will come up with to still sell their wares on Craigslist. Or, as our own Jolie O’Dell pointed out in our RWW backchannel, maybe this will turn out to be a boon for the newspaper industry and alternative weekly newspapers, who might just pick up some extra classified ads in the near future.

CC-licensed images used courtesy of Flickr users MoToMo and Benimoto.

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