In Defense of Craigslist

The dialogue around Craigslist has been raging for months, and in the wake of the announcement that CL will be discontinuing its “erotic services” category in favor of the new “adult services” I have a few points I’d like to discuss.

I believe that we should be responding to the persecution of craigslist, and by proxy all sex workers that use CL regularly, strongly.  I also believe that throughout these proceedings of the last several months, CL has come down resoundingly on the side of reason, and individual rights.

If you read the (many!) recent craigslist blog posts by CEO Jim Buckmaster, the removal of the “erotic services” category and the introduction of the “adult services” category seems to be a reasonable solution to me.  It is unfortunate that posting is no longer free-impacting those who cannot pay the $10 initial fee to post, and those who do not have credit cards.  It is devastating for workers in this category, however those changes had already occurred in the ‘erotic’ section, though to a lesser degree.  Credit cards, or some form or online payment are required, as they are required by many other online listing services.

It strikes me that we should be lending our support to CL through this crisis of prosecution-Jim Buckmaster continually refers to statistics and facts that back up our platform of decriminalization.  Read his most recent blog post here http://blog.craigslist.org/

From a blog post by Buckmaster a while back

“Now, it’s horrible to think of craigslist being used in connection with any violent crime whatsoever, let alone a murder. One crime is too many, and we must do everything in our power to eliminate it.

However, when critics rush to tar craigslist as especially dangerous, it’s important to put things in perspective. craigslist users have posted more than 1.15 BILLION classified ads to date, easily 1000x the combined total ever posted to the print publications involved in all of these “print ad murders”.

Anyone demanding that craigslist use the same protections that print classifieds have employed should be careful what they’re wishing for — because the incidence of violent crime in connection with print classifieds is clearly far, far higher than it is for craigslist.”

On a purely business note, I did notice that with the implementation of payment, a lot of the spam posts in erotic services were eliminated, making it easier for actual sex workers to have their ads seen by potential clients.

Thus far, the postings in the ‘adult’ category seem virtually indistinguishable from the postings in ‘erotic services’ and with Craigslist’s commitment to philanthropy regarding the use of revenue from the ‘adult’ category, I am happy to pay the charge, should I choose to post there.

I would like to support Craigslist in their process through this-it is far better that CL continue to exist, and offer some form of posting for ‘adult’ entertainers, than cease to exist all together.  And CL has  a history of listening to members of the community.  I hope that we can continue to be in direct dialogue with them.  Perhaps we can encourage them to donate some of the revenue from the ‘adult’ category to various decriminalization efforts.

We live in a difficult world, where we are prevented from utilizing normal marketing tactics that any other business is afforded.  However, I believe we ought to give credit where credit is due.  While CL has not taken a bullet for us, it has certainly not completely folded to the appallingly uninformed politicians that would choose to scapegoat craigslist and prosecute sex workers for crimes committed against them.

And in the words of Abbie Hoffman “the first duty of the revolutionary is to get away with it”

May we all continue to get away with it, survive, and thrive, despite the deck stacked against us.

thinking of you,

surgeon

4 Responses

  1. Craigslist didn’t support Prop K

  2. It strikes me that we should be lending our support to CL through this crisis of prosecution-Jim Buckmaster continually refers to statistics and facts that back up our platform of decriminalization………I’m sorry, “Our platform of decriminalization.” Are you an erotic service provider? I don’t think so. How has CL helped me out in backing me up on our issue? He hasn’t. He has sold me out. And now that I have to use my credit card to post it means that he’s giving evidence against us, our digital fingerprints to the fucking police! Do you think that I’m not going to be criminalized for my postings? I am and we are being arrested right now. the police are using them to gather evidence against us for prostitution prosecution, and they are going to use those charges to go after craig criminally. When you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

  3. “On a purely business note, I did notice that with the implementation of payment, a lot of the spam posts in erotic services were eliminated, making it easier for actual sex workers to have their ads seen by potential clients”

    Not true — at least in Vegas. The ones who seem to make it through this new heavy-handed and mysterious verification process (I didn’t pass), are all the rip-off agencies. Very few actual local providers have managed to make it through this new round of screening.

    It was a little more open when it was still the Erotic Services category, it’s become very closed with the Adult Services category.

    And yes, one should always assume they’re gathering and sharing your info, which is why I don’t actually submit any of my real info other than my IP address (which could be avoided in a couple of other ways).

    XX

  4. Lets see, whats in the news this morning,

    Milwaukee police link 7th case to serial killer, Wisconsin isn’t one of the Craigslist 40 attorney Generals,

    And what’s on the discussion boards…from the street action section of SFredbook:

    RAWDOGER

    18-May-09, 07:10 PM (PST)

    1. “RE: WOW things changing looking up in stockton or ?????????”
    In response to message #0

    Craigslist shutdown is the best thang that happened

    LuvMeSomePearl

    18-May-09, 08:29 PM (PST)

    3. “RE: WOW things changing looking up in stockton or ?????????”
    In response to message #2

    on saturday i was headin down wilson way around 1pm or so and seen 4 bsw most i ever seen in the area at once and this was just near ww and harding, was piking up truck from shop.. wish i had more time. fellas ur rite craigslist shuttin it down was great lets just hope these sw respect this recession…

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