Back in early September, I mentioned that it’s pretty ridiculous to think that the work state attorney generals did to get Craigslist to shut down their adult ads would have any deterrent effect on people interested in selling adult services. At the time, I suggested that Backpage.com was an obvious next stop for people advertising such services, among others, and that this is a game of whack a mole where new sites can pop up over night.
Additionally, many of those sites may be less willing to cooperate with law enforcement than Craiglist was, which could mean that the AGs actions have actually made it tougher for local law enforcement to figure out who’s behind the ads.
One interesting stat on this is to look at whether Backpage benefited traffic-wise from Craigslist shutting down their adult services section. September was the first nearly whole month where Craiglist was adult services ad-free. With that in mind, here’s a look at the monthly visitors to Backpage through September:
Looks like September was a good month for Backpage with traffic up 15.8% month over month. For comparison, here is what things look like for Craigslist.org:
Down 2.4% month over month, according to Compete.com. It’s worth noting that the scales on those two graphs vary. By Compete.com’s measure, Craigslist is the 13th largest site in the USA while Backpage is 579th (while doing a brisk business in escort ads these days).