Internet

Backpage.com Says Screw Off to Squeamish Credit Card Companies by Dropping Fees For Adult Ads

Score one for sex workers, capitalism, and common sense.

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Image via theconceptofawoman.tumblr.com by way of TitsAndSass.com

Backpage.com, the online classified-ad clearinghouse that's become a battleground in the new war on sex work, has announced that it will stop charging users to post ads in its "adult" section, at least temporarily. Until now, users could post free ads elsewhere on the site but were charged fees to promote in the adult section, which houses ads for escorts, strippers, and other erotic entertainers. So what's the big deal about Backpage switching up its fee structure? The change comes in response to Visa's and Mastercard's recent decisions to stop processing adult-ad payments, a move the credit-card companies made at the urging of overreaching state officials. So score one for sex workers, the free market, and common sense.

As Maggie McNeill explained here last week, Visa and Mastercard both made their decisions about Backpage under pressure from Cook County, Illinois, sheriff Thomas Dart. "We have objectively found [sites like Backpage] promote prostitution and facilitate online sex trafficking," Dart wrote in a letter to the credit card companies. "Institutions such as yours have the moral, social and legal right to step up on this pervasive problem and make a fundamental and everlasting difference."

"Under the guise of going after 'sex trafficking,'" notes McNeill, "prohibitionist politicians have been trying and failing to shut down Backpage—a commercial enterprise which has broken no laws—since at least 2011. The free speech implications alone are horrifying. And Sheriff Dart's pressuring Visa and Mastercard to reject adult-ad payments is nothing less than an end run around due process which affects not only his own fiefdom of Chicago, but every single place Backpage reaches via the Internet." 

So, essentially, Backpage's move to make adult ads free is a big screw you to fearmongering, First-Amendment-hating, Internet-freedom-stifling nanny statists who think they can control financial-services firms, foreign-based websites (Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch company), and the way women choose to earn a living.

Or maybe it just made good business sense; with American Express stopping Backpage payment processing earlier this year, the only option left for purchasing adult ads after Visa and Mastercard pulled out was via Bitcoin—not the most mass-user friendly option. Adult ads account for a huge portion of Backpage.com activity, and without them it could lose a substantial amount of traffic and, hence, external-advertising revenue. 

In an email to some registered users, Backpage.com indicated that the charge-free adult section may be temporary. "We understand some users have had difficulty posting over the last few days," said the email. "Sign up for a free account and enjoy posting free ads until the payment issues are resolved." (Emphasis mine.) Other users got a similar email, this one urging them to sign up for a free account using the promo code FREESPEECH. 

h/t Mistress Matisse

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  1. Oh, it is so on that it is very much like Donkey Kong at this point.

  2. But, will the savings be passed on to their customers?

    1. Well, free listings should encourage more listings, and increased competition, so ‘donations’ should decline?

      1. Now seems like the time to study this. Where are all the brave economists?!

        1. I am studying this enthusiastically. And of course, I wouldn’t be a very good economist if I didn’t also, um, ‘study’ how this impacts the quality of service provided.

    2. As long as I can get my hands on more backpage whores nothing else matters.

  3. Sounds like there’s no better time to sign up!

    1. Our first and last line of defense, I’m afraid. Anti squirrel tech isn’t where it should be. We need to increase the defense budget.

    2. I may build one. The little fuckers just chewed through another gas tank on the mower.

  4. Yay!!

  5. Another win for Big Sex Workers (and no, not that kind of big sex worker, you sickie).

    1. John is intrigued.

    2. does the CEO wear purple fur?

    3. does the CEO wear purple fur?

      1. Yes, and he can handle the sqlrs just fine

    4. acorns are for cunts.

      1. Big Sex Workers need love too, but they have to pay. Which is a really shit business model.

  6. A company that didn’t cave? I’m going to have to start buying my prostitutes from Backpage.

    1. Do they sell ammo?

      1. used ammo only.

    2. A company that didn’t cave?

      probably because:

      Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch company

      See Insex for example

      In the fall of 2005, Insex announced it was looking for a buyer, because “continuing to produce Insex.com from the U.S. would be too great a potential liability.”[1] This came as a result of attempts by the U.S. government to censor internet pornography, specifically by implementing an FBI anti-obscenity initiative in August 2005
      ……

      The website’s entire content, over 500 movies, was offered for sale for US $4 million and reportedly bought for an undisclosed amount by a Dutch company.

  7. That’s great, good for them. We need more organizations to push back against the demands of law enforcement.

  8. Also, could they not use discover card?

    1. Meh, only Warty’s dungeon accepts discover.

      1. but my cashback rewards though…

  9. “Institutions such as yours have the moral, social and legal right to step up on this pervasive problem and make a fundamental and everlasting difference.”

    And we should outlaw dancing in this town!

    1. Pervasive…pervasive!

      You’d think there were open-air ISIS-style sex slave markets in the bandstands and public parks of Anytown, America with this kind of talk.

    2. “This pervasive problem” is a magnificent hourly wage for the majority of women who are in the work by choice and enjoy it, and would otherwise be poor or at least struggling too much. Many of them are providing for families. I know about all this firsthand.

  10. I would love to ask the whore haters just exactly what men who are too socially awkward or unattractive or old to find sex partners are supposed to do for sex. It is funny how when it is a socially preferred group like gays, the right to sex anyway you like it is a moral issue that puts human dignity at stake. When it is a disfavored group like old or ugly men, then the answer is go fuck yourself you stinking pervert.

    1. I think the same people are opposed to gays paying for sex.

      They are morons who watch too much SVU.

      1. I am not so sure. There are I assume plenty of gay male hookers out there. Yet, I never see where the police are running sting operations trying to nab them. Have you? Do you ever see gay men get caught going to male hookers get their faces in the paper? I haven’t. And I have never once heard the dreaded term “human trafficking” applied to male hookers. What do gay hookers just not travel well or something?

        The concern over paying for sex is nothing but a way to go after straight men.

        1. Barney Franks’s room mate got his name, if not his picture, in the paper, but that was way back when.

          1. Was it the same one that was growing pot in the house?

        2. Larry Craig ring a bell? How ’bout “wide stance”?

      2. svu would be a lot better on hbo. on cable they just make you feel bad about your sexual identity without any payoff.

    2. Principals, not principles.

    3. I bet Dart is being lobbied by Big Sex Toy (no, not that kind of big sex toy, you sickie).

    4. “what men who are too socially awkward or unattractive or old to find sex partners are supposed to do for sex. ”

      Great question! I worked with an obese guy with bad teeth. He bragged he got laid by hotter chicks than any of his co-workers or buddies. He simply took his vacation times, drove to Dallas, and got up-market call girls. And he probably spent far less on women than his buddies
      (specially his married buddies.)

      1. That’s cause women’s be thinkin’ too much.

      2. What’s the difference between sex for money or sex for free? Sex for free costs more.

    5. That’s what Fred Cherry said.

  11. I hope backpage has moved their servers, and offices overseas. It’s not a far stretch to claim that their servers house evidence of criminal activity, and can only be properly seized by a team of 30 lazer tag warriors and 2 APCs… And if there are no dogs to shoot, then they’ll bring some.

    1. They’re based overseas/owned by a Dutch company. Village Voice Media sold the site last year

  12. Thanks, slavers, for giving cryptocurrencies another boost.

    Also, fuck off.

    1. Saw somewhere where some sex workers were helping others to learn how to use bitcoin to pay for ads (before Backpage made them free).

      1. My, these women sure are willing to go to great lengths to remain slaves to teh patriarky.

        1. It’s not the sex workers, it’s the pimps that control them. Even if something like 80%+ of sex workers have never even known a pimp, the pimps still control them!

          1. That’s the power of the Pimp Hand. It’s like Bigby’s Hands spells only fo’ straight up pimpin’ yo.

            1. The Invisible Pimp Hand of the market?

            2. Bigby’s Pimpin’ Bitchslap? Same level, but different V&S components, than Mordenkainen’s Lubrication.

  13. Now that’s a hat tip.

  14. They should switch to using Bitcoin for any transactions that the banks don’t want to handle.

    -jcr

  15. More free advertising for BackPage!

  16. government is one of the reasons i need the adult section on backpage.

  17. I just worry that they’ll go after Backpage the same way they went after Silk Road, and charge them with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and RICO.

  18. “As Maggie McNeill explained here last week, Visa and Mastercard both made their decisions about Backpage under pressure from Cook County, Illinois, sheriff Thomas Dart. “We have objectively found [sites like Backpage] promote prostitution and facilitate online sex trafficking,” Dart wrote in a letter to the credit card companies. “Institutions such as yours have the moral, social and legal right to step up on this pervasive problem and make a fundamental and everlasting difference.””

    Oh, Jesus Christ, of course he’s from Cook County.

    This is why Chicago can’t have nice things.

    1. Oh, Jesus Christ, of course he’s from Cook County.

      I’d never heard of Cook county until the Blues Brothers, and thanks to them I think of them as a bunch of bumblefucks. The news has never caused me to rethink this notion.

      1. I hate Illinois Nazis. Especially Illinois Nazis that wear badges.

  19. There’s no business like ‘ho business.

  20. Didn’t read the article or comments. Just testing link. Check it beaches, Gorrillaz.

  21. I don’t care. About anything. From here on out, all I’m doing is posting links.
    First, click on my handle, that should lead to the Gorillaz Every Planet We Reach Is Dead.
    After you listen to that 4 or 5 times, click here

    1. You’re kind of a dipshit, aren’t you?

      1. No I’m not. You’re a dipshit.

        1. Yer mom’s a dipshit. /sticksouttounge

  22. Backpage is rayciss yo

  23. It’s called taking the money out of it. Mr. Reitman is completely in error – we can request companies to do the right thing. The companies can either grant that request or not – no coercion is involved here, and mercifully the right thing happened.

    1. Hey spambot. Do you really believe people will want to check out your link when you spew statist garbage on this page?

  24. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

  25. Sex workers don’t get killed because of Backpage. They die because they’re hated, stigmatized, unaccepted, marginalized by the culture, shunned by the culture and persecuted, not protected, by the police.

  26. Would it be wrong to hope Dart becomes irresistibly attracted to a woodchipper?

  27. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

  28. Backpage is still charging to post in Canada but you can post for FREE on http://bpreviews.ca it’s a review forum for people who use Backpage adult section

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