Impact of Craigslist Charging for Erotic Services Ads in Minneapolis

As of November 7th, Craigslist has begun charging advertisers to advertise in the Erotic Services section of their classifieds website. This particular section has a rep for attracting ads for services that fall outside the bounds of most state laws. In the past, that hasn’t stopped Craigslist from letting the community self-police the ads, but under pressure from 40 state’s attorney generals, they have introduced a charge of $5 per post in order to validate the identity of service providers. Craigslist plans to donate income generated from the posts to charity.

Here’s a look at the Erotic Services post volume by day over the past 8 days (in blue) with post volumes of the CityPages’ comparable category and Craigslist’s Therapeutic Services categories included for comparison:

Impact of Craigslist Charging for Erotic Services Ads (Minneapolis)

Friday over Friday saw the following change in post volumes:

Craigslist ERS	 -62.54%
Craigslist THS	  61.82%
Backpage Adult   192.86%

Short term results:

Post volume is down in ERS, but it may just be a reduction in duplicate posts throughout the day. If that’s the case, the site may have become more valuable to service buyers since there will be less duplicate content to sift through. That was the result after a previous change to require registration before posting to certain categories including Erotic Services.

Post volume is up in Therapeutic Services, and seems to include some new entrants who used to post to ERS. Try searching by the phone numbers of the more flirtatious of the advertiser’s ads using Google to find their previous ERS ads.

Backpage is benefiting. The CityPages’ online classifieds seem to be picking up some of the castoffs from Craigslist. Who knows if this will continue? Will Backpage become the posting site of choice? As Greg pointed out in the comments on a similar post regarding this issue back in April, Backpage has already been charging advertisers (and doesn’t give the money charity) so I imagine the service providers will figure out over time which site – or some other site – brings in the most leads for their money. Strangely, Backpage charges less for male escort ads than female escort ads: $3 vs $5.

Update: A dominatrix in Seattle has some interesting thoughts on this issue on her blog.

4 thoughts on “Impact of Craigslist Charging for Erotic Services Ads in Minneapolis”

  1. I think the problem with charging a fee is that Craigslist is still allowing the community to flag those ads. So someone who posts a legal and legitimate ad and pays for it can have that ad removed on the whim of their competers to remove their competition…and Craigslist doesn’t refund the money for that.

    I could care less if CL wants to charge for any or all postings on their site, but ethically they can’t allow the community to choose which ads stay and which go and still keep the money. They will have to have paid staff determine which ads legitimately violate the rules and not allow people to remove those ads who have a conflict of interest.

  2. These are hard times. Hard economic times. Everyone is being affected and everyone is feeling the squeeze. From the financial bailout to the soon-to-be auto bailout, the government seems willing to be accommodating and lend a helping hand. To everyone, that is, except those devoted providers who dedicate their life to making Mr. Happy…well….happy.

    Recently, craigslist restricted the posting of erotic ads on their site by starting a per post charge. Google, only a month earlier, restricted escort ads. Can you feel the economic ripple? Where will these girls turn now that their ads are prematurely evacuated? Uncle Sam has gotten into bed with a lot of people in the past. Maybe it’s time he got into bed with these flexible working girls and gave them the bailout they need.

    So while these rich CEO’s are getting multiple shots, more and more escorts aren’t getting the chance to give them. I frankly don’t understand the morality of the government helping CEOs who mismanaged and perhaps pilfered from their own companies (actually from their shareholders) versus cracking down on the oldest and frankly a perfectly reputable trade. These businesswomen definitely have more business sense.

    Can someone explain to me why the government should support those companies that have screwed up? At least with a provider, I’m getting screwed because I want to be.
    Fortunately, sites exist to help this industry under siege.,, and

  3. It does not matter charging for ads I think the benefits from posting in online is amazing! If it costs a little people will adapt It is a lot cheaper then newspaper ads!

  4. Pretty interesting looking back at this post knowing now how things eventually turned out. I think the idea of charging money in order to verify identities is a bunch of a bologna. There’s a lot of ways you can get rid of the child prostitution and human trafficking without ever having to charge advertisers a penny.

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