So Craigslist is getting out of the sex trade… sort of. The ubiquitous, newspaper-killing classifieds site announced today it will stop listing "erotic services." But to "strike a balance," mollify digital libertarians, and hold onto its franchise, it will advertise "adult services." These may comprise nearly as much prostitution as "erotic" did, but Craig’s crew promises more accountability; they’ll "manually review" every ad, charge $10 to post and $5 to repost, and require a credit card. If you won’t show a card and it ain’t worth $10 to you, you ain’t selling it on our site, baby.
The company still insists that "use of craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds." But it clearly hopes to lose the heat it’s gotten for much-publicized cases of killers and other creeps using listing to lure victims—in one case by advertising for a nanny, not nookie.
Meanwhile, no one complains about the ültra-mainstream Yellow Pages advertising "escort services" (three pages in the Seattle edition, including "upscale companionship for all your fantasies"). And those seeking to simply sell and buy sex have already moved on to the sorts of social-networking sites investigated early last year in this eye-opening Seattle Met feature by L.D. Kirshenbaum.