On Monday, "Delilah" posted an advertisement on Backpage.com—with a picture of her wearing black stockings and laying in bed—stating that she'll be in Missoula one last time before she retires, should anyone be in need of an "amazing sensual full body massage by a beautiful petite blonde."
It appears Delilah's retirement may come at a good time, because on Tuesday, Backpage.com announced the immediate suspension of certain areas of its personals and adult sections after it was put under pressure by 21 state attorneys general, including Steve Bullock of Montana.
"Backpage.com is committed to the safety and security of our users and we recognize the urgency of implementing solid defense mechanisms to combat those intent on misusing the site," Backpage.com spokesperson Steve Suskin said in a statement. "We are pleased to have already identified some significant changes and are working diligently to implement them."
That makes the score attorneys general 2, online classifieds 0. Two months ago the same group of state attorneys strong-armed Craigslist.com into shutting down its adult services section altogether. At first, Backpage.com resisted the group's call to follow suit, saying the attorneys were attempting to censor the site and shift blame from criminal predators to a legal business operator. Backpage.com's recent move appears an attempt to meet the attorneys halfway.
But halfway's not good enough for Bullock.
"This is a step in the right direction, but there's still much more that Backpage.com needs to do to guarantee their website is not a forum for the exploitation of women and children," Bullock says. "I'll continue to work with my colleagues across the country and hold accountable those who facilitate criminal activity."
In addition to the immediate suspension, Backpage.com has begun to review all ads and images in the site's personals and adult sections, increase staff to quickly identify illegal ads, and implement roadblocks to prevent minors from accessing mature content, among other measures. Backpage.com also calls for the creation of a multi-stakeholder national task force to help thwart opportunities to advertise illegally.