Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peter Zollman on the reasons the AIM group's estimate of craigslist's revenue from erotic/adult services is conservative


ANONYMOUS COMMENT: Thanks, Anonymous! ~D.


One aspect to think about that I do not think was explained/captured in the report was how web traffic allows craigslist to charge up to $75 for housing/job ads. If you read the original complaint in Dart v. Craigslist, that complaint was made before craigslist started charging for erotic and adult ads. In other words, even if Craigslist did not charge for adult/erotic, the fact that those sections drive traffic to its web site allows it to charge $75 for jobs. So it was profiting before it was charging for ads. How much is very hard to say, but critics will say that this is why craiglist does not want to do anything about erotic/adult ads."

Posted by Anonymous to craigslist criticism at September 21, 2009 2:00 PM

STILL MORE: Thanks to those who sent reassuring words but... I'm not done with it yet:) Twitter: (AIM group report) Did craigslist' revenue *really* grow last year? last call for comments, will post my take on it tomorrow evening ~Delia half a minute ago from web

MORE: Twitter: (craigslist revenue, AIM Group's report) @agaricus Gary, was it bogus? did you check for obvious signs? please help! ~D http://tiny.cc/PVa249 minutes ago from web

CORRECTION BY ANONYMOUS: "Just to clarify, Chicago alone brings about 1 million per year (not per month) based on adult ads alone." Posted by Anonymous to craigslist criticism at September 16, 2009 9:24 AM ... Thanks, Anonymous! D.

MORE: Twitter: (craigslist's revenue from adult/erotic services, AIM Group's report) was Peter Zollman biased? please help! ~Delia (http://tiny.cc/PVa24)3 minutes ago from web

"Dear Delia,

CATW did not base its projection on the AIM report alone. On one day in Chicago alone I have counted 300 ads for adult services. So Chicago alone gives craigslist more than one million a month, easily. In a smaller city like Houston, it is more like 100 ads per day. Even taking only 10 major cities, that is much much more than 2.5 million per month. CATW stated very clearly in its brief submitted to the District Court of Illinois:

"Projected over a year, it is fair to estimate that craigslist's global revenues from adult/erotic services could provide over half its profits."

Here is the link:


Now if you are going to talk about bias and "concern" about estimates how about Zollman, who on the one hand blogs about how absurd it is that the Attorney Generals should wish to hold craigslist accountable, but on the other hand purports to write an objective, "conservative" report detailing craigslist's profits from adult/erotic services."

Posted by Anonymous to craigslist criticism at September 16, 2009 8:29 AM

Thanks, again, Anonymous! I'll give Zollman a chance to answer this first. (might take a while; will post if I get something or respond myself if Zollman declines) D.

DELIA, AGAIN: sentence in the amicus brief that suggests that CATW *did* in fact calculate as Anonymous suggested (times two) and Peter Zollman hinted at the bottom of this entry that it was incorrect: "According to the report prepared by the AIM Group and released on Jun 10, 2009, craigslist's projected revenue from *"erotic" and "adult services" combined* for one month only amount to only over five million".[my emphasis] (end of page 29 of amicus brief) D.

MORE: Twitter: craigslist's revenue from erotic/adult compared with total: was CATW's projected yearly estimate fair? please help! (http://tiny.cc/PVa24)half a minute ago from web

DELIA: Although, we are ultimately concerned with *the ratio* of craigslist's yearly revenue from adult/erotic ads to craigslist's toatal revenue from all ads: CATW says, in their amicus brief, that it is fair to project the estimates so that more than half of the money is brought by erotic/adult ads.(end of page 29 of the amicus brief)

I suppose that is still possible, but it would have to have a different justification than the one Anonymous gave, given that Peter Zollman says he did not count the erotic/adult ads in other markets.

Further comments encouraged from all parties and points of view! I was hoping we could get somebody from CATW so they can clarify their position but no luck so far -- if anybody could help with that, I'd appreciate it! D.

ANONYMOUS RESPONSE: "Both erotic and adult, according to that report, made over 2.5 million a
month, each. That means times two. Adult is only for the USA, erotic is for sex trafficking in Vietnam, etc. You should look at the web site you are writing about. The report does not explain this well, because craiglist does not explain it well, and it does not wish to."

Posted by Anonymous to craigslist criticism at September 15, 2009 6:14 PM

Thanks again, Anonymous! As far as I can tell, craigslist does not currently charge for "erotic services" in places like Vietnam (did as much as I could to check that, short of posting a fake ad, which I would not do); will they charge in those markets within a year of starting to charge in the U.S.? (as to count for the yearly projection?) possibly... although I believe it it reasonable to assume they would not be quite that dumb! but *could be*... However, I believe it is important to keep the estimates/projections/etc. within reason, otherwise it appears to backfire and become meaningless at some point as I said bellow.

It is my current understanding that Peter Zollman (please see his explanation of why their estimate is conservative bellow) did not count those ads in markets outside of U.S. If this is correct (and I'm sorry but I cannot get a copy of the report for my editorial use without paying for it or giving up my privacy, both things I decided a long time ago not to do), it is unfortunate that CATW misread the report. And I do hope that was the case, that they did not misinterpret it *on purpose*.

If the report was unclear, you'd think they could/should have clarified things with Zollman before putting the info in the amicus brief to make sure they were using his report fairly. This would have also made sure it did not backfire which could ruin everything they are trying to do. I regard CATW's not giving Zollman's conservative estimate ($30 mill, not $60 mill, as in his hint to you bellow) as a mistake given that I believe Zollman's conservative estimate would be more than enough to show there is good reason for serious concern.


MORE: I don't know if it's just me (Delia) but it seems to become meaningless at some point if it's all a matter of what people *want* to infer... D

"We’ve stated unequivocally that we think our estimate on Craigslist’s adult services (previously “erotic services”) is fairly conservative, because we did not count ads in all markets (as we did with recruitment and automotive). Thus, you’re welcome to infer if you wish that revenue in that category is $60 million or $90 million or whatever. But we don’t."

from email exchange with Peter Zollman on September 15th, 2009 (published with his permission)

also a hint for anonymous from prior entry: "$2.55 million a month times 12 months, by my calculator, is $30.6 million annually. So I think your $60 million is off by a factor of two."

from email exchange with Peter Zollman on September 15th, 2009 (published with his permission)

(I, Delia, agree but feel free to submit a rebuttal comment, Anonymous -- from prior entry -- or anybody else)

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