It turns out that Craigslist closing its “Adult Services” section last year was something of a windfall for Village Voice Media, whose site Backpage is now the only popular classifieds site left willing to host prostitution services ads. And, as the New York Observer reports, business is booming:
In the month after Craigslist closed its erotic services sections under pressure from Congress and state attorneys general, Backpage enjoyed a half-million-visitor bump in traffic, according to Quantcast, and became the No. 1 publisher of escort ads on the Internet. The Aim Group, a media consulting firm, estimated that in January, Backpage brought in $2.1 million in revenue from erotic services ads alone.
Aim Group founding principal Peter Zollman actually thinks that the reason Backpage hasn’t contested these figures is that they underestimate how much money adult services are pulling in for Village Voice Media.
All the same, if an adult services giant like Craigslist stopped featuring escort ads, it’s hard to imagine Village Voice Media lasting long under the pressure from lawsuits and unsavory news items, which has already begun. In September a former child prostitute sued Village Voice Media for knowingly publishing advertisements of her, and later that month 21 attorneys general called on the company to follow Craigslist’s lead and ban escort ads.