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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Craiglist to Charge $10 for "Adult Services"

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2009 at 3:51 PM

click to enlarge Craig Newmark, foreground, of Craigslist. - GENE X. HWANG (OF ORANGE PHOTOGRAPHY)
  • Gene X. Hwang (of Orange Photography)
  • Craig Newmark, foreground, of Craigslist.
The operators of online postings website Craigslist announced today that the company will charge $10 to post in the "adult" category of its website, a few hours after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the company had agreed to remove its "erotic services" category from all of its websites.

The free-for-all sex postings on Craigslist's "erotic services" page will be replaced with the new moderated forum, with all posts approved by Craiglist employees (what a job!)

Presumably, strip club owners, exotic masseuses and adult dancers will pay $10 to Craiglist for the first post and $5 to repost their ad thereafter.

The changes come after several well-publicized murders involving people who met over the site. It's a far cry from the original intentions of the site, founded by Craig Newmark:
When Craig Newmark began sending out e-mails to his buddies during the winter of 1995, he had no intention of starting a multimillion-dollar business. A recent transplant to San Francisco whose counterculture streak belied a disarming shyness, Newmark simply wanted to keep fellow computer geeks abreast of events throughout the Bay Area.
Read the rest of the story here.

And find the full statement from Craigslist regarding the service changes after the jump.

As of today for all US sites, postings to the "erotic services" category will no longer be accepted, and in 7 days the category will be removed.

Also effective today for all US sites, a new category entitled "adult services" will be opened for postings by legal adult service providers. Each posting to this new category will be manually reviewed before appearing on the site, to ensure compliance with craigslist posting guidelines and terms of use. New postings will cost $10, but once approved, will be eligible for reposting at $5.

Unsurprisingly, but completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic "journalism" we've seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of craigslist classifieds is associated with , let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole.

The relative safety of craigslist compared to print classifieds is likely due to some combination of:

* Measures such as blocking, screening, and telephone verification

* Community moderation via flagging system

* Electronic trail ensures violent criminals are quickly caught

* Personal safety tips prominently posted

* Unusually high level of cooperation with law enforcement

Community moderation as exemplified by our flagging system is arguably the most successful system ever conceived for eliminating inappropriate activity from a massive internet community. Working in tandem with various other protective technologies, it is an inescapable force to be reckoned with for anyone set on abusing free internet communications across a broad array of posting types.

However, with respect to this new paid category for advertising by legal businesses, we will experiment with some of the methods traditionally employed in paid print classifieds.

We'd like to thank everyone who has provided helpful input over the past few weeks, all of which we've closely considered:

* Our users, whose suggestions have shaped every aspect of craigslist

* Attorneys General, who have provided valuable constructive criticism

* Law Enforcement officers nationwide, who have been hugely supportive

* Legal businesses concerned at their right to advertise being questioned

* EFF and other legal experts defending free speech and Internet law

We are optimistic that the new balance struck today will be an acceptable compromise from the perspective of these constituencies, and for the hugely diverse US communities that value and rely upon craigslist.

Note: Our announced intention to contribute 100% of net revenues for the "erotic services" category to charity has been fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled, notwithstanding <> in this regard. However, in light of today's changes, and to avoid any future misunderstanding, we are making no representation today regarding how revenue from the "adult services" category will be used. Our overall commitment to philanthropy remains, and craigslist will carry on with its charitable initiatives as it sees fit.


"Craig Newmark speaks at victim's memorial in wake of Craigslist killings"

"Craigslist Murders: A Timeline"

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