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Craigslist was then attacked for being greedy and for profiting off of prostitution, an odd charge for a company that's constantly criticized by business analysts for not charging for more services (the company charges only for job and housing listings in select markets).Craigslist argued that shutting down the service would simply force the ads onto other services with less diligence and increase the spam in its other sections.

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Backpage.com, an online classifieds page similar to Craigslist owned by the alternative newspaper chain Village Voice Media, has an "adult entertainment" section that is highly explicit and features ads for a wide array of sexual services.In a May blog post, Craigslist's Buckmaster said the company's ads were no worse than those published by Village Voice Media.Craigslist became a favorite target of state attorneys generals, such as South Carolina's Henry Mc Master and Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal who had ambitions for higher office.(In Blumenthal's case, he's now the incoming junior U. Senator.)However, Craigslist was operating legally under the law, which puts legal liability on the person posting to the internet, not the internet service they use.The challenge to the sex workers was to appear mainstream, as though they were women seeking bonafide relationships.

Online “dating” sites are already rife with people who don’t use them for their intended purposes. Look, if you have con artists capable of scamming middle-aged ladies out of all the money they have—not to mention people looking for free sex who also have accounts on online dating sites—and this practice flies waaaaay above the site owners’ heads, almost certainly prostitution will move into this realm as well.

"I am the perfect lunchtime or after-5 companion for businessmen that jet-set, work long hours or have family obligations," read one ad in the casual encounters section, appearing to advertise massages.

Craiglist's personal ads, which are free, are not regularly vetted. Ryan Calo, a senior research fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said ads for sexual services could become harder to monitor if they begin migrating back into the personals.

Craigslist Drops "Adult Services"State attorneys general had pressed Craigslist to do more to block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution, and hailed the company's decision to take down its adult services section on Saturday. Neither Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster nor a company spokeswoman responded to e-mails and phone calls seeking comment on Sunday.

But like other illegal online activities targeted with prosecution or lawsuits, including gambling, child pornography and unauthorized music downloads, shutting down one outlet simply sends many users running to others. The company previously said it would issue a statement on the matter, without saying when.

In early September, Craigslist shuttered that section in the U.