Make no mistake, I am not a “john” (user of prostitution services) , but I am pretty aggravated as I write this post. You see, the feds in Ottawa have forced Craigslist to drop its “erotic” category which essentially was a category for prostitution. It’s a separate and controversial discussion as to whether or not prostitution is morally correct. And I can come up with as many “for” points as I “against” points. But as I said, that’s not the issue. The issue that galls me is that the feds are taking their myopic views to new and ridiculously stupid levels and in so doing is creating an unlevel playing field, fraught with double-standards.
1. They forced Craigslist to take down their erotic ads section. Who gives Ottawa the right to do this? Craigslist is the world’ largest free bulletin board, linking buyers and sellers and vendors and communities together. Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an email distribution list of friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area, before becoming a web-based service in 1996. After incorporation as a private for-profit company in 1999, Craigslist expanded into nine more U.S. cities in 2000, four in 2001 and 2002 each, and 14 in 2003. Today the company serves up some 20 billion pageviews per month. It is very influential in the world
2. What are the Feds doing about forcing (good) publications like Toronto-based Eye and Now Magazine to stop advertising for prostitutes and assorted rub-and-tug joints? Nothing! A big fat goose-egg? Have they stopped the Toronto Star from doing this? Nooooo … Why are they not stopping them? Hmmm … your guess is as good as mine. I can tell you that yesterday as I flipped through Now Magazine, there were no fewer than 300 ads of assorted prostitutes advertising their services. Again, while I’m not getting into whether prostitution is right or wrong, I do hate double standards
3. Let’s talk about social media a bit. As it continues to proliferate the communications landscape, (I know this to be true as this is what I live and breathe daily), it’s clear that the savvy marketers among us, understand its value. And by definition, social media is all about social engagement – and this is something the feds up in Ottawa clearly do not understand. Let Craigslist be. Leave it alone. With 20 billion unique page views a month, Craigslist has made its mark on social media, and more importantly – the world
Finally, feds – Look at social media for what it is, not what you want it to be. If you want to better understand what social media is, hire someone, pay someone – and then you’ll understand. Meanwhile, as much as I am not a “john” – I do feel cheated by your high-handed demeanour in this important matter.
Wake up and smell the coffee guys! -