After coming under increasing scrutiny from various state attorneys general for the open prostitution listings in its “erotic services” category, Craigslist is now folding in the face of criminal charges. The company said in a blog post that it will replace the erotic services category with a new “Adult services” category where each ad will be individually reviewed before posting.
Existing ads in the erotic services category will remain for seven days, but already new ads are not being accepted in that category. People trying to place an ad in the adult category are reminded: “Ads suggesting or implying an exchange of sexual favors for money are strictly prohibited” and “Ads including pornographic images, or images suggestive of an offer of sexual favors are strictly prohibited.”
A quick glance at the erotic services section for New York City shows a lot of flesh with ads promising “IT’S NOTHING LIKE THE FIRST TIME!!” and “ASIAN HOTTIE . . . TO FULFUILL YOUR DREAM . . . WILLING AND READY.” Meanwhile, the adult services section for NYC is slightly less explicit. It has a lot more listings for “massages” and “sensual bodyrubs.” The first screenshot below is from an adult services ad, the second is the erotic services page. So much for truth in marketing.
Update: in a blog post about to go up entitled “Striking a Balance,” which Craigslist just sent us, the company states:
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.
It also points out that its moderation system is “the most successful system ever conceived for eliminating inappropriate activity from a massive internet community,” whereas inappropriate listings in print classifieds can’t even be removed. Of course, there are also many more listings on Craigslist than in any single paper and up until now there has been no pre-posting review whatsoever, so I am not sure that is something to brag about.