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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
From Internet News, “Who’s Really Winning the Search Race“:
Yet, as it turns out, the big players aren’t the ones seeing the most growth in search. Instead, it’s Craigslist that leads in percent growth according to comScore. The online classifieds site posting a 12 percent jump in queries from 583 million to 651 million from April to May.
Here’s the data, with search queries denominated in millions:
These babies are drawing considerable interest, so get ‘em before they’re gone!
Noteable as this news cycle winds down ( “Craigslist Pwns McMaster,” “Pandering Has Its Price,” “Craigslist 1, McMaster 0,” “McMaster’s Final Humiliation” ) has been the absolute disinterest shown by politicians and journalists in hardcore sex-for-money ads featured in journalistic media, no matter how numerous or graphic they may be.
Here are a few out of tens of thousands of “escort ads” featured onbackpage.com adult classifieds owned by Village Voice Media, publisher of achain of weekly newspapers. (WARNING – EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT):
- I am a nasty freaky girl who loves sucking cock (Chicago)
- An Irish blowjob and a cum showering rainbow (New York)
- Cum lay your hotdog on my bun for memorial day (Dallas)
- Doing men 18 to 65 with trucker parking (Toledo)
- Three holes anything goes $90 – GREEK included (New Jersey)
- Can u fuck my tight pussy hard ask for alexis – age 18 (Atlanta)
- Thick meaty transexual treat (Philadelphia)
- I luv 2 suk n fuk – age 18 (Phoenix)
- Deep throating full service freak (Orlando)
- I gotta big a$$ fat pu$$y big boobs need I say more (St Louis)
- Enjoy multiple orgasms with “Flavor” (Myrtle Beach, SC)
- Let me put you to bed backdoor available $80 (Columbia, SC)
- Ebony slut will blow u away wet n ready 4 u gfe (Greenville, SC)
UPDATE – Now deleted ads included photos of sex acts, and price quotes for: “GFE, BBBJ, CIM, greek, swallow, DATY, 69, facials, golden showers, anal”
UPDATE – Screenshot of ad cited above (CAUTION, EXPLICIT SEXUALITY)
These examples were “featured” ads for which Village Voice charged extra, such that this content presumably fell well within their guidelines.
It’s worth noting that these ads’ TITLES ALONE contain more explicit content than you will find in all craigslist adult service ads combined.
Could the blessing of politicos on voluminous pornographic sex-for-money ads in journalistic media have anything to do with the need for positive coverage and campaign endorsements from said media?
As for journalists, is it possible that criticizing craigslist is more career-friendly than taking their own employers (or publishing peers) to task?
craigslist has filed suit against SC AG Henry McMaster in federal court in South Carolina, seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order with respect to criminal charges he has repeatedly threatened against craigslist and its executives.
Two weeks ago Mr McMaster presented craigslist with an ultimatum, “to remove the portions of the Internet site dedicated to South Carolina and its municipal regions which contain categories for and functions allowing for the solicitation of prostitution and the dissemination and posting of graphic pornographic material” within ten (10) days.”
“If those South Carolina portions of the site are not removed,” McMaster said, “the management of craigslist may be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution.”
In addition to being unwarranted by the facts, legal experts agree that the charges threatened represent an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, and are clearly barred by federal law (sec 230 CDA).
Interestingly, if you read Mr McMaster’s ultimatum carefully, you’ll note that the only way to definitively comply with it is to take down the craigslist sites for South Carolina in their entirety. The open architecture of craigslist, quintessential to the value it provides for users, simply does not allow for the absolute prevention of solicitation or pornography, with respect to any of its categories and functions.
Usage of craigslist in South Carolina has exploded over the last two years, with some cities experiencing 2000% growth. South Carolinians clearly value craigslist services, and appreciate finding jobs, housing, automobiles, for sale items, friends, romance, community information, local services, event listings, and just about everything else they need in their everyday lives, all in one place, and all for free.
Mr McMaster has persisted with his threats despite the fact that craigslist:
- is operating in full compliance with all applicable laws
- has earned a reputation for being unusually responsive to requests from law enforcement
- has eliminated its “erotic services” category for all US cities
- has adopted screening measures far stricter than those Mr McMaster himself personally endorsed with his signature just 6 months ago
- has far fewer and far tamer adult service ads than many mainstream print and online venues operating in South Carolina
- has made its representatives available to hear Mr McMaster’s concerns in person
- has politely asked Mr McMaster to retract and apologize for his unreasonable threats
In case there had been any ambiguity as to his intentions, Mr McMaster made the following remarks on Sunday:
“We opened an investigation at 5:01 on Friday, as promised. . . . We are preparing for a prosecution. We are investigating. We are moving forward. . . . . The #1 defendant is Mr. Jim Buckmaster, who is the man in charge of craigslist.. . . . craigslist is a big promoter and facilitator of prostitution.”
Mr McMaster’s repeated threats of criminal prosecution should we refuse to shut down craigslist for South Carolina have left us little choice but to seek declaratory relief before the court.
Dear South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster,
Two days ago you accused craigslist, and me personally, of engaging in criminal acts, reiterating your previous threat to file unwarranted and unconstitutional charges against us that are clearly barred by federal law. As you put it, “We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution.”
These very serious allegations followed the dramatic changes we implemented last week, widely applauded by other Attorneys General, that go far beyond the policies and procedures you yourself personally endorsedjust 6 months ago, as indicated by your signature on the Joint Statement.
Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft, and Village Voice Media, not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses feature more “adult services” ads than does craigslist, some of a very graphic nature. For a small sampling, look (careful NSFW)here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.
Have you fully considered the implications of your accusations against craigslist? What’s a crime for craigslist is clearly a crime for any company. Are you really prepared to condemn the executives of each of the mainstream companies linked above, and all the others that feature such ads, as criminals? craigslist may not matter in your world view, despite our popularity among your constituents, but mightn’t you want an endorsement from any of the SC newspapers for your gubenatorial campaign, whose publishers you’ve just labeled as criminals? Do you really intend to launch a criminal investigation against the phone company? What about potential new jobs connected to big data center buildouts in SC by Internet companies? Are you *sure* you want to prosecute all of their CEOs as criminals???
If you are threatening our founder Craig Newmark, a board member with no operational role at craigslist other than as a customer service representative, then you are expanding your list of “criminal suspects” to include thousands of employees at the above-named companies, or the companies’ boards of directors, or both.
Mr McMaster, I strongly recommend you reconsider and retract your remarks, and positively affirm that you have no intention of launching criminal investigations aimed at any of these upstanding companies, because in truth none of them are deserving of such treatment. Certainly when it comes to craigslist, by any objective standard your threats and accusations are unreasonable and unfair:
- threats of criminal prosecution are utterly unwarranted by the facts
- the charges threatened are unconstitutional and barred by federal law
- our adult ad screening regimen is stricter than the one you endorsed
- our adult services ads are fewer and tamer than other SC venues
We’re willing to accept our share of criticism, but wrongfully accusing craigslist of criminal misconduct is simply beyond the pale. We would very much appreciate an apology at your very earliest convenience. As I’m sure would all of the other fine companies whose executives you’ve called out as criminals.
We are a small group of very well qualified businessmen who have a complete business plan that aims to yield investors, and partners, 1,000% returns within only a five year period. We have all the pieces in place, including CEO, marketing, and finance management. The only missing piece is YOU!
We will respond to Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart’s complaint (we have not yet been served, and learned of it only through press releases and media) sometime soon. Our preliminary view is that the complaint is not well founded in law, and that it should be dismissed.
However, we still very much appreciate and commend the good work of Sheriff Dart’s department, and will continue to provide any and all assistance whenever we are called upon to help in their efforts to protect and serve the people of Cook County.
craigslist has a long history of cooperation with law enforcement. As example, here is a recent joint statement by craigslist, 40 state Attorneys General — including the Attorney General of Illinois Lisa Madigan — as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was announced in November 2008:
craigslist is an extremely unwise choice for those intent on committing crimes, since an electronic trail is inevitably created that law enforcement officers can follow. We pride ourselves on the prompt and valuable assistance we provide to police departments and federal authorities nationwide.
Here are some of the measures we currently take to prevent illegal activity on craigslist:
2. We place prominent notices on our posting forms warning against illegal activity
3. We perform telephone verification on user accounts as a requirement for posting in “erotic services”
5. We remove inappropriate ads that come to our attention
7. We provide a community moderation system whereby our users flag inappropriate ads for removal
8. We place prominent notices asking users to flag inappropriate ads
9. In U.S. cities we require credit card authorization to post in “erotic services”, and charge a fee for each ad, with 100% of net revenues donated to charity.
10. We label adult content using the PICS rating system, which supports most content control software programs
11. We prohibit the use of adult-only categories by persons under the age of 18
12. We participate in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Cybertipline program
13. We collaborate on user awareness campaigns regarding human
trafficking and child exploitation
14. We place notices encouraging users to report any suspected abuse of minors
15. We maintain a resource page to assist users in reporting suspected abuse of minors
16. We maintain information pages regarding personal safety on craigslist
17. We adapt our web site to aid the work of agencies working on human trafficking and exploitation issues
18. We respond promptly to inquiries and requests for assistance from law enforcement officers
More background information on the “erotic services” category is available here: