Redditor datacanbeuseful charted the wounding of Craigslist and the death of Backpage. After a political panic over sex trafficking, the latter's domain was seized by the government. Craiglist, to avoid the prospect of a similar fate, shut down all its "casual encounters" and similar categories overnight. It turns out to have been a significant but not critical element of the site's traffic: about 25 percent, but only as inferred through Google Trends.
The figure is based on Google Trends data of search for terms "Craigslist" and "Backpage" before and after Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It largely reflects the actual traffic at both sites. Chart created using Excel.
Because of FOSTA and the shutdown of Craigslist's Personals section, Craigslist lost a whopping 1/4 to 1/3 of the web traffic. Backpage, while enjoying a short lived traffic uptick, was soon shut down by law enforcement.
Where can this much traffic go? Does it just evaporate? Does it flow elsewhere?
Journalists usually suppose "the dark web" but reality surely involves more pimps and streetcorners. [via]