Craigslist new sex ad policies can save journalism

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jeans.jpgADOTAS — Forget about Google saving newspapers, Craigslist’s new erotic ad policy appears to be giving…uhm…lift to some newspapers.

(I know they call them erotic ads, and they’re not supposed to be about sex, but who is kidding whom? It’s like people calling strippers exotic dancers. Call it for what it is.) OK. Anyway. This ridiculously long battle between Craigslist making money on erotic ads and publicity-seeking attorney generals trying to look as if they are doing something has apparently forced erotic ad buyers to go back to dead wood alt-weeklies.

According to the Washington City Paper, its adult ads in the first week of May were up 38 percent over the same time last year. This upsurge has also been identified in some other papers as well.

Such ads in Washington City Paper start at $150 per week. On Craigslist, it’s about $10, money the Web site donated to charity. Under the new policy, an advertiser has to confirm that they won’t use “content that is unlawful, pornographic, or which advertises illegal services”; no ads “suggesting or implying an exchange of sexual favors for money”; no “pornographic images, or images suggestive of an offer of sexual favors.”

Craigslist, which is leanly run, is getting financially hurt on this. That is probably one reason CEO Jim Buckmaster has been so vocal about the company being the only target of the Attorney Generals’ wrath. But if can save journalism jobs for a few more months, until this whole topic vanishes, well so be it.

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