Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Craigslist "gives in" to pressure from states, to shut down online "red light district"

Craigslist has capitulated to pressures from very states’ attorneys general, announcing it will close down its Erotic Service and open a new adult section that will be closely monitored. Some observers say that prostitution will just move to unmoderated sections of the site, underneath the radar screen. But the appearance is like that of a city eliminating its “red light district” and driving it underground.

Jacqui Cheng has a story today (May 13) on Ars Technica, here.

The Reuters story is by Jason Szep is "Craiglist to drop 'erotic services' ads", here, and it creates a metaphor with traditional classified advertisements.

The company has been criticized for making so much profit from this one area of customer use with few employees.

It is always dangerous to “meet” with someone for sexual purposes after only an online encounter, since it is so easy to impersonate someone on the web. But many people use search engines to do “background investigations” on prospective dates or encounters, but that’s hardly reliable (again, we link back to the “online reputation” problem).

Picture: Amsterdam Red Light District (I was there in May 2001). The attribution link (Wikimedia Creative Commons ShareAlike) is here.

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