Despite Woes, Craigslist Adult Ads to Earn $36M in 2010

Bob Johnson

CYBERSPACE — A new report said that adult oriented ads on Craigslist — one of the few categories for which it charges — accounted for an estimated $22 million in the last year and they’re expected to generate $36.3 million this year.

According to the report issued by Advanced Interactive Media (AIM) Group, the revenue boost accounts for three times what the site earned last year.

But despite the rosy projections, Craigslist is not without its “adult” problems.

According to a report on PCMAG, Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal wrote to Craigslist complaining about prostitution ads on the site even though it changed its “Erotic Services” Section to “Adult Services” last year and charges $10 per post.

"A cursory review of the adult services section still reveals posts that are clearly for illegal prostitution," Blumenthal wrote. "Even though some of these ads attempt to shield their true purpose by pretending to be for legitimate adult services, they remain blatant solicitations for sex."

Blumenthal said he is "deeply troubled" by the amount of money Craigslist reportedly earns from these posts. He asked Craigslist to contact his office to discuss revenues, where the money goes, and Craigslist's efforts to prevent illegal activity on the site.

But Craigslist Co-founder Jim Buckmaster suggested in a blog that Blumenthal, who is running for senate, is on a witch-hunt against Craigslist for his own political gain.

Blumenthal is "again pointing a misguided finger of blame at a faithful partner of law enforcement," Buckmaster wrote.

"Craigslist has done the best and most responsible job of combating child exploitation and human trafficking. Period. We would challenge anyone to find a company that goes anywhere near the lengths to which CL does," Buckmaster added.

Buckmaster said that there are large Internet portals, search engines, telephone companies, newspapers, alternative weeklies that proportionately earn more from adult ads but do far less to combat “exploitation/trafficking.”

The AIM Group report agreed and pointed to Village Voice-owned Backpage, which the AIM Group said "is far more blatant and far more racy than Craigslist when it comes to ads from prostitutes."

"We've never understood why so many law enforcement officers chase hookers through Craigslist but completely ignore Backpage," AIM said.

But AIM admitted that the site facilitates sex workers. "Does Craigslist support prostitution? Hey, that's the stupidest question we've asked in a while. Of course it does," AIM said.