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Craigslist Fires Back Over Adult Services Accusations 258

Craigslist has fired back at South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster in an open letter defending the company's policies and procedures surrounding the much debated "adult services." Stating not only the measures that have been taken to minimize illegal behavior, CEO Jim Buckmaster suggests that Craigslist is doing much better at minimizing questionable ads than other major competitors like Yahoo!, Google, and others. "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. [...] 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."
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Craigslist Fires Back Over Adult Services Accusations

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:00PM (#28002125)

    The problem with politicians is, well, that they exist as a profession.

    Instead of having a dedicated, small group of individuals in charge of everything (leading to ridiculous situations like this, where they posture for the electorate), why not have anyone be as involved in government as they wish? [metagovernment.org]

    • by Jherico ( 39763 ) * <bdavis@nOSPAM.saintandreas.org> on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:13PM (#28002331) Homepage

      Instead of having a dedicated, small group of individuals in charge of everything (leading to ridiculous situations like this, where they posture for the electorate), why not have anyone be as involved in government as they wish?

      Because part of a government's responsibility is to protect those who can't protect themselves, and to prevent a tyranny of the majority.

      • by jgtg32a ( 1173373 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:21PM (#28002423)
        What about tyranny of the minority?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          What about tyranny of the minority?

          Well, according to the founders, it's better than a tyrannity of the majority, so...no, fuck it, I can't figure out what those old coots were thinking either.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Given a choice, I'd go with the tyranny of the majority, rather than the tyranny of the minority. The minority has almost always ruled, historically. The concept of royalty, and the hocus pocus of religion were both designed for the purpose of enforcing minority rule. The majority may not be "good", but it is certainly less "evil".

            • by Jherico ( 39763 ) * <bdavis@nOSPAM.saintandreas.org> on Monday May 18, 2009 @06:05PM (#28003857) Homepage

              Given a choice, I'd go with the tyranny of the majority, rather than the tyranny of the minority.

              Spoken like a true member of the majority, who doesn't know what its like to be surrounded by people who will discriminate againt you at any chance.

              The minority has almost always ruled, historically. The concept of royalty, and the hocus pocus of religion were both designed for the purpose of enforcing minority rule.

              I'm a non-christian living where there's a church on virtually every block. Don't talk to me about 'religion' and 'minority rule'

      • Because part of a government's responsibility is to protect those who can't protect themselves, and to prevent a tyranny of the majority.

        How can this be done when politicians will do and say whatever to get the most votes thus allowing tyranny of the majority?

      • A republic tries to protect the minority from mob rule. While the democratic representation delays mob rule but gives the majority power. Tyranny of the majority is the preferable bias.

        Naturally, ANY system can be hacked. Maintenance is the only real protection one can have (detect and prevent or clean up problems.) The majority is poor at maintenance and the better the society does the more they slack off.

        Despotism is where all governments end up. It doesn't really matter what form of government, its how y

      • by horza ( 87255 )

        In England we have politicians to protect us from the tyranny of the majority, and the civil servants to protect us from the politicians. Try watching Yes Minister [imdb.com], you won't regret it.

        Phillip.

    • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:52PM (#28002913)
      The problem with politicians is, well, that they exist as a profession.

      It's not just that. As world's second oldest profession, they have a lot in common with the oldest profession. Politicians and whores go together like, well, like Spitzer and Dupré!
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:53PM (#28002927) Journal

      why not have anyone be as involved in government as they wish?

      Because then we'd get the exact same system, where those who thirst for political power get it?

      The only difference is the routes used to acquire the power (or prestige, or whatever you want to call it).

      True political power in an elected government doesn't come from having people vote for you, by the way. It comes from shaping what the people want in their elected officials, and what they vote on.

      In the "open source government" model, you'll have informal power structures where those who want to be in charge, and have the tools necessary to get there, will rise to positions of power and asymmetrical influence.

      Government, and administration of government, is much different than open-source software. It's a lot more expansive, and the rewards for gaming the system are far, far greater than with OSS.

      I believe 100% that government should be open (in the sense it should be 100% transparent). I do not believe it should be open in terms of access to power... that way lies anarchy and abuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jcr ( 53032 )

      The problem with politicians is, well, that they exist as a profession.

      I agree. Serving in the legislature should be like jury duty, not a career or a way to get rich.

      -jcr

    • by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:40PM (#28003585) Homepage
      Everyone is already "as involved in government as they wish": mostly people choose "not at all".
  • Me Thinks . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arizwebfoot ( 1228544 ) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:01PM (#28002147)
    Sounds like somebody is setting himself up for a run at the Governor's Manson.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:02PM (#28002167)
    In trying to understand why he seems so adamant to grandstand at this particular time, it might help to know that he's planning to run [thestate.com] for governor next year. I'm not saying he's a whore who's only doing it for that reason, mind you. Perish the thought that a politician would be so cynical!
  • Good for them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitallystoned ( 770225 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:03PM (#28002185) Homepage
    Kudos to Craigslist. Sex sells. They have done more than they should have to prevent this kind of activity on their site. The way I see it, they are keeping officers employed by busting the prostitutes and the people who use their services. Its a personal choice if you choose to use the services. they control their content but honestly stopping craigslist from have an adult section is gonna do absolutely nothing to stop prostitution in cities. There are plenty of other websites such as backpage or citypages that do the same exact thing at no charge and I've yet to see any of them make the news. The claim that the "prosititute" was killed because she posted on craigsiist is bogus. She's the one taking the chance by sleeping around and she'd do it whether or not craigslist existed or not. It's about time someone grew a pair and stood up to the corrupt legislatures in this country and told them to politely f*ck off.
  • by d474 ( 695126 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:03PM (#28002193)
    ...but I'd be willing to bet that South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has had some direct personal experience with these so called "Adult Services". Perhaps even through Craigslist?

    Like I said, it's just a hunch.
    • by iron-kurton ( 891451 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:27PM (#28002517)
      Yup, we've all witnessed self-righteousness due to guilt
    • Sounds to me like he's pissed off because one of the purveyors of services he contracted with turned out to have the same equipment he already had. At least, that's the only explanation I can find for singling out craigslist.

      Why did craigslist have an "erotic services" section in the first place? To keep the pros from advertising under the dating and other inappropriate categories. Apparently McMaster would prefer all the pros call themselves "masseuses" and drive all the legitimate, trained massage practi
    • Keep your fingers crossed and he may turn out to be the one posting the ad.

    • Probably so, and he is just upset his last hooker had a penis.
      Caveat emptor McMaster, you can't blame Craigslist for that.

  • by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:05PM (#28002213)

    ... when they refused to grow a pair and claim First Amendment protection, not to mention the safe-harbor provision of the CDA. Paternalistic, moralizing governors and DAs have no Constitutional basis to object to anything Craigslist was doing, and the company should have told them to STFU and GBTW.

    But instead they tried to "negotiate," "compromise," and otherwise find a middle ground with religiously-motivated censors and nanny-statists.

    Yeah. That always works. Because those sorts of people always go away and leave you in peace once you give in to their demands. <rolleyes>

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:15PM (#28002363)

      ... when they refused to grow a pair and claim First Amendment protection, not to mention the safe-harbor provision of the CDA. Paternalistic, moralizing governors and DAs have no Constitutional basis to object to anything Craigslist was doing, and the company should have told them to STFU and GBTW.

      But instead they tried to "negotiate," "compromise," and otherwise find a middle ground with religiously-motivated censors and nanny-statists.

      Yeah. That always works. Because those sorts of people always go away and leave you in peace once you give in to their demands. <rolleyes>

      Ah. So, you're calling Craigslist out for trying to be civil. Good man! We need more people flying right off the deep end without any sense of negotiation. We also need more stereotyping, darnit, because without that, we might be seen as a serious culture! We have to preserve our l33t, underground status as overreacting outsiders whom nobody should try to understand because we get in huge screaming fits over what the other 90% of the planet just doesn't give a rat's ass about!

      Shame on you, Craigslist! Shame on you for trying to be civil! Next time somebody looks at you funny, break his/her nose to restore the balance!

      • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:23PM (#28002469) Homepage Journal

        To me, it sounds like you're advocating reasoning with people that may well be unreasonable. Embarking on that is like arguing with pigs.

      • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:25PM (#28002493) Homepage
        Actually, the GP poster has a point. It's not pretty, but there are a lot of people out there who see compromise as weakness. If you look at recent history of the Basque separatist movement, for example, as soon as there was some level of conciliation, the level of violence skyrocketed.

        Part of it may also be that people who have lived for so long fighting a particular cause end up being more attached to the fight than the cause itself, and as soon as it looks like their way of life is threatened, they try to do things which encourage the fight to continue.

        In this case, however, I feel it's a much baser motivation. Like a shark smelling blood, this guy decided he could have a little PR feeding frenzy to fuel his gubernatorial run. Silly AG, don't you know that a well-educated populace would never fall for such a thing?
        • Since when is the populous well-educated? He could be shouting "VOTE FOR ME" in between every sentence and we'd mostly not get it
        • Where is this mythical well-educated populace? The average person seems to be deeply ignorant, uninterested in anything remotely political most of the time, and regularly falls for the outright lies made by many politicians when they are trying to get elected, but isn't motivated enough to call them on it after they win and fail to follow through.

          The average person is incredibly stupid and uneducated. Quite frankly, any system that relies on ignorant, uneducated people electing politicians based on their un

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Silly AG, don't you know that a well-educated populace would never fall for such a thing?

          Lucky for this guy that he's running in South Carolina then, eh?

      • by caerwyn ( 38056 )

        If only a) I had mod points and b) you hadn't posted as AC...

      • by Itninja ( 937614 )
        So I am guessing your view is what we all really need is more dismissive, flippant, sarcasm that offers nothing but a woefully uneducated opinion? Brother, this Stewart/Colbert bit getting old. Can we get some constructive criticism for a change?
    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:40PM (#28002677)

      The sign of a good compromise is when both sides are unhappy. Just because you have the right to free speech, it doesn't always mean it is in your best interests to use it all the time. People are complaining about something even though it is in your rights you can always choose to back down too. Or are you the guy who never lets some one in front of you when the lanes are merging in the road.

      Putting your self fully in the firing line. Espectially with "religiously-motivated censors and nanny-statists" is always a big fight. If they see that you can at least meet them half way they tend to back off a lot, so they can focus on the next big evil. Sure you not in the clear there will be some point where you need to draw the line. However to keep things running smooth it is easier to compromise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rm999 ( 775449 )

      Craigslist has the support of the people. Why wouldn't they? It's free, has no ads, and always works as promised. There are no ulterior motives, Craig isn't looking to get wealthy. The government shutting down or censoring Craigslist would be the fast path to a miniature revolt. I don't see any elected official actually doing anything to it.

      Besides, it's not like Craigs list has given up its first amendment rights. If they ever wanted to, they could use them in a court of law. My guess is they just wanted t

    • When you start treating politicians like there's nothing they can do to you, they quickly remind you that you're wrong.

      They found their middle ground, and now they're pushing back against the smaller group who didn't sign off on the compromise. It's called picking your battles. This was a wise moev for craigslist both legally and for PR - or hadn't you notice that they were getting a bad name from this one section of their site?

  • Google's motto is "do no evil". Craiglist's is apparently "do no evil and don't be a pussy".

    Good for them.
  • Sue'im for slander (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:11PM (#28002303)

    If he wrote it down, sue him for libel, too. It's pretty obvious that saying your business is a criminal enterprise that endangers its customers' lives would be damaging to your business, and there seems to be plenty of evidence showing that it is better run than many unmentioned competitors.

  • They should threaten to pull one Henry McMaster's Craigslist ad soliciting sex.
  • by cgfsd ( 1238866 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:14PM (#28002357)

    So what are some other sites that the AG should try to take down for prostitution?

    Purely for sake of argument of course. cough cough

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      www.mypinkbook.com is an interesting read
  • Just look at the Yellow Pages for any moderately large city... it will have hundreds of ads for "escorts" and "escort agencies'. This kind of activity has been going on for ages, but no one ever made a big stink. Now that it's on the intewebs prosecutors somehow feel that there is cause for concern? I say, Quit wasting my tax money!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Talgrath ( 1061686 )

      Exactly! Just because the "escorts" supposedly only provide conversation and arm candy doesn't mean that's how it actually goes down; I'd bet that at least 90% of all "escorts" are prostitutes.

      • by need4mospd ( 1146215 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:33PM (#28002605)
        And the other 10% won't get much repeat business!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hoggoth ( 414195 )

        Hah hah. That's cute. Talgrath thinks 10% of escorts just talk and go to parties with you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You'd be betting correctly; however, it's also true that the greater part of 90% of business those escorts (the ones that are hooking) get doesn't involve sex. It's surprising, but guys don't seem to take what's right there for them; they'll pay a couple hundred bucks just to have a date to take out (are you THAT lame? Go to the party alone and maybe you'll pick up a girl!), and then go home and just chat for a while, and send her off at the end of the night. And yet, if they wanted to, they've already t

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Any actual data to back that up?

          The problem with escorts-as-paid-companions is that if you *can* afford to shell out whatever these girls get for an evening on the town (4 hours?) -- say $1000 -- you want high class. Someone with at least a college education (a real one, not some BS community college degree in dental assisting), who can dress and carry herself in high class social situations without looking like a, well, a whore.

          The pool of talent for this has to be vanishingly small (although perhaps larg

  • Excuse me, Mr. AG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:20PM (#28002417)

    But I doubt your state has exhausted its backlog of murders, rapes, armed robberies, child molestation cases, etc. Until you do, here's a polite suggestion: get your fucking priorities straight you worthless politician.

    I swear, the fatal flaw of democracy is that it relies on the public to make the highest office holders do their job and not just use the office as a means of personal advancement. At least under a monarchy, the king could bitch slap a guy like this for grandstanding (not saying we should go back to a monarchy).

    • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:48PM (#28002835) Journal

      I know you're probably saying that as a hyperbole, but sometimes I do kinda wonder.

      Way I see it, any working democracy nowadays has the politicians and some non-elected body to fix the politicians' deliberate self-promoting screw-ups. In some countries (e.g., the USA) it's the judges. In some (e.g., the UK) there are some non-elected lords who get to say "that's stupid and unconstitutional, screw that."

      Seriously, you'd expect the aristocracy to be the self-serving self-centered barstards, and the politicians to represent the common man. But the way it seems to work entirely too often is that the politicians pull some populist stunt as a law, and then keep their fingers crossed that the non-elected guys have the balls to strike it down. I'm thinking just of the slew of recent "think of the children" laws (saving them even from non-threats like video games) that seem to crop up everywhere before elections.

      Except sometimes the non-elected guys don't intervene, or nobody challenges it all the way to the apropriate level to strike it down, and the rest of the country is saddled with the stupidity its politicians wrought. And even in the best case scenario, often it can take several years before its escalated to the point where it can be removed.

      Now I'm not entirely deluded. I know how totalitarian regimes historically were worse, and why some people shed blood to get, say, the Magna Carta signed by the king.

      But I still wonder. It seems to me like at the very least for each two evils we avoided via democracy, we introduce a new one _because_ of the way modern democracies work.

      I'm not sure what a better system would look like, but sometimes I wish someone would invent it already.

    • get your fucking priorities straight you worthless politician.

      He has his priorities straight from his point of view. They are as follows:
      1. Get elected.
      2. Get re-elected.

  • ...and prosecutions against successful businesses are up. Go figure.
  • They probably have a case for slander.

  • But I think it would have been better had he left out things like the "NSFW" acronym, the "bold" quotes (*sure*) and the ??? at the end of a couple of questions. I hate nothing more then those annoying emails that come from a coworker asking "Where are the files you just showed me two minutes ago!?? I can't find them?????"

    I mean, like OMG, are we *really sure* that the target audience knows what these very web based conventions are and mean????

  • Ads for firearms.

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @04:44PM (#28002739)
    To try and take away any focus on why he is not able to do his job better.
  • McMaster responds... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:01PM (#28003057)
    "Ok, sorry, slimeballs."

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly

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