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.