Craig’s List Claims “Spectacular” Reduction in Sex Ads
by Kathee Brewer
Under fire from several states and municipalities that accuse the online classified ads service of complicity in the promotion of illegal sexual commerce, Craig’s List has released statistics it claims prove it is cleaning up its corner of cyberspace.
The number of “erotic services” ads on the site has declined 90-95 percent in five of the largest markets within the past 12 months, the company announced March 9th — just days after being hit with a federal lawsuit filed by the Cook County, IL, sheriff’s department over allegedly “facilitating prostitution.” The lawsuit seeks a court-ordered shutdown of the erotic services area of the site and $100,000 in compensation for personnel expenses the department claims to have incurred while investigating alleged criminal activity related to Chicago-area ads.
According to the Craig’s List blog, the “spectacular” reduction in the ads is a result of the company’s cooperation with 40 state attorneys general and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Craig’s List signed agreements with the groups in November 2008, promising to police ads more carefully and gather more personally identifiable information from advertisers who post adult-oriented classifieds.
The blog posting also claimed net revenue from erotic services ads is up. One hundred percent of fees collected are donated to “worthy charities,” the blog noted.
“Craigslist cannot be held liable, as a matter of clear federal law, for content submitted to the site by our users,” according to Craig’s List chief executive Jim Buckmaster.