ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- It's been nearly two years since Craigslist stopped accepting paid advertising from escorts and escort services, and other sites still haven't generated as much revenue collectively as Craigslist made from prostitution ads.
In fact, revenue from online escort advertising declined in July for the third straight month on five sites tracked by the AIM Group. Escort-ad revenue on those sites totaled $2.9 million last month, down 5.5 percent from $3.1 million in June, according to AIM Group estimates.
When Craigslist closed its adult services section in September 2010, its ads for escorts and body-rub services generated an average of $3.7 million a month. The AIM Group, a classified advertising consultancy, estimated at the time that Craigslist would make $44.6 million from online prostitution ads in 2010.
Since then, the AIM Group has tracked other sites that sell escort advertising, and the monthly revenue generated has never reached Craigslist levels. Over the last 12 months, five sites have generated an estimated $37.3 million from online prostitution ads. From August 2011 through July, monthly revenue amounts have been steady, ranging between $2.9 million and $3.3 million.
Although some prostitution ads have clearly migrated to other sites, the evidence indicates that many Craigslist ads did not move. Since Craigslist abolished its adult services advertising section, escort ads have appeared in the site's personals section. Craigslist deletes many of those ads within hours after they appear.
Craigslist closed its adult services section under pressure from law enforcement officials and anti-sex-trafficking groups who complained the ads promoted both prostitution and sex slavery involving girls under 18. Their ire is now directed at Backpage and Village Voice Media, and the pressure has become more intense. Cities and states have passed laws and resolutions against prostitution advertising, which is protected by the federal Communications Decency Act.
Backpage.com, a general classifieds site owned by Village Voice Media, replaced Craigslist as the leading online publisher of prostitution advertising. Between August 2011 and July, Backpage generated $28.6 million in revenue from online escort and body-rub ads published in 23 U.S. cities. That's 73.6 percent of the $37.3 million total generated by all five tracked sites.
In September 2010, Backpage generated $1.7 million from online prostitution ads, 65.4 percent of the total. In July, Backpage generated $2.3 million from the ads (a 38.2 percent increase compared with nearly two years ago) and 79.3 percent of the monthly total.
AIM Group estimates of Village Voice Media revenue from prostitution advertising are extremely conservative, because they cover only online advertising in a small percentage of its markets, and do not include print advertising.
For more AIM Group research on prostitution advertising, including graphics and charts showing traffic, revenue, unique users and more, visit AIMGroup.com: http://aimgroup.com/2012/08/24/prostitution-ad-revenue-still-falls-short-of-past-craigslist-totals/ The research also includes revenue estimates for Eros.com, CityVibe.com, MyRedbook.com and AdultSearch.com.
Editors: Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of the AIM Group, and Mark A. Whittaker, senior consultant for the AIM Group, are available for comment on the research. Zollman is available at 407-788-2780 or peterz@AIMgroup.com; Whittaker is available at 724-553-8428 or markw@AIMgroup.com.
About the AIM Group: The AIM Group, formally known as the Advanced Interactive Media Group LLC, is the world's leading consultancy in interactive media and classified advertising. It publishes Classified Intelligence Report, a continuous advisory service often called "the bible of the classified advertising industry." The AIM Group works with leading media companies, broadcasters, dot-coms, yellow-page publishers and technology companies. It provides strategic and tactical consulting; sales training; proprietary and published research about interactive media, and other services. Founded in 1998, it is based in Altamonte Springs, Fla. For more information call (407) 788-2780 or see http://AIMGroup.com.
SOURCE The AIM Group