Sex sells.Â It is the most common underlying theme of any advertisingÂ company’s ad campaign.Â Sex ads sell as well.Â Ask Craigslist.Â Craigslist sex ads prove that profiting off of sex ads doesn’t have to include million-dollar budgets or some pouty-lipped, sultry-eyed vixen staring you down from the magazine page, trying to get you to buy shampoo or a burger.Â Or that 50-foot-long voluptuos blonde layingÂ across theÂ sky on that billboard, enticing you to stop, stop, STOP! at the nearest Calvin Klein outlet.Â Not even that barely there cladÂ bunch of beautiful supermodels selling women’s lingerie for Victoria’s Secret on your brand new twelve-foot 3-D HDTV.Â Â Â Craigslist provides something a little less noticeable, a little more subtle, and slightly more direct.Â Â Craigslist provides a forum for sex ads.Â Craigslist Adult Services ads, to be precise.Â They sell.Â They sell well.Â And they sell sex.Â Â
Because sex sells, even itself.Â Even plausibly deniable sex.
A recent Classified Intelligence Report by the AIM Group revealed that the classified ad internet giant Craigslist will generate a mostrous $122 million in 2010, and $88 millionÂ to $99 million of that revenue will be profit.Â Of that near $100 million in profit, roughly 30% will be generated by Craigslist’s adult services ads, whichÂ Peter Zollman, founder of the AIM Group,Â describes as “thinly disguised advertising for prostitutes.”Â
It is no great secret that Craigslist has been and continues to be a “pimp” site.Â Connections with prostitution were becoming so prevalent that a task force of attorneys general from several states got together and attempted to force concessions from the classified ad giant.Â Craigslist agreed to provide more stringent guidelines for posting ads, hire more personnel to police those ads, doubled the fee to do so to $10 per ad, and changed the name of the section on Craigslist.Â Critics called it mere window dressing, noting that all Craigslist did was charge more for the ads.Â
Their profits show it.Â According to the report, the adult ads will generate three times the revenue in 2010 as was produced in 2009.Â
Although Craigslist clearly posts “Soliciting illegal activity either implicitly or explicitly on craigslist is prohibited” as a guideline in their Adult Services Section, it does not stop sex traffic.Â Just last week, 14 members of the Gambino crime organization were arrested.Â Several of the charges leveled against the Gambino crime family centered around prostitution and sex trafficking.Â It has been alleged thatÂ young teenage girls wereÂ part of the organization’s prostitutionÂ operations, allegedly promotedÂ and advertised through Craigslist.Â
Coming on the heels of that badÂ publicity, the report from the AIM GroupÂ will only feed the fires of outrage and calls for reform of how CraigslistÂ operates theirÂ Adult Services division.
Craigslist will no doubt soon be forced to reassess and reconfigure their Adult Services Section.Â This will no doubt cause that section to be less profitable.Â But sex sells.Â It sells itself.Â And unless the section is completely shut down,Â subtle and non-subtle sex ads Â will sell sex on Craigslist.