If you are one of the many people who used Backpage for hiring professional escorts back in the day, you might be wondering — where did the Backpage girls go? Even though it was a classified advertising website for a wide variety of services, it was the sex workers and the adult industry in general that made Backpage so popular and profitable. Now that the website is permanently closed, the large community of providers and customers has spread around many similar websites.
In this article, we will take a look at what Backpage was and how it became the go-to place for finding escorts and sex workers in general. We will also explain the events leading up to its seizure in 2018. Finally, we will answer the question where did the Backpage girls go by providing you with a list of similar websites that strive to become the sex workers hub that Backpage once was.
What Was Backpage?
The website was launched in 2004 by Village Voice Media, who was then known as New Times Media. It grew to become the second biggest classified ads website after the immensely popular Craigslist. While ads for certain sections of the website were free, others came with a cost. Using this business model, Backpage managed to generate enough revenue to grow at an exponential rate.
The big push for Backpage came in 2010, when Craigslist had to shut down its adult services section. Since quite a lot of people were using the website for just that, they quickly moved on to the next best place. As a result, Backpage received an immense boost in traffic and paid ads. Revenue charts for 2013 and 2014 show the website generating more than $100 million per year! Since sex ad posts averaged to one million per day, it is safe to say that a large portion of those earnings came from them.
Backpage ended up operating at 943 locations in 97 countries, while supporting a total of 17 languages. The website became the main place to go for booking professional escorts and all types of adult services. The strength of the online adult community was instrumental in Backpage’s success.
Why Was Backpage Shut Down by the US Government?
After Backpage’s initial success, things started going downhill at a rather rapid pace. In 2011, the website started receiving accusations that it is in fact a platform for sex trafficking of both adults and minors. In response, the owners of the website started blocking ads they considered suspicious and provided all information on them to the NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). The organization then alerted law enforcement to act based on the data collected by Backpage. As a result, a nation-wide movement to boycott and shut down Backpage was born.
In 2012, the movement started getting considerable support from various NGOs, who even launched a multimedia campaign to garner support for their cause. In the end, the anti-Backpage movement received massive help from numerous musicians, politicians, journalists, media companies, and even retail brands. The size and publicity of the campaign helped start a nationwide conversation, with people voicing their opinions for and against Backpage.
With Backpage being the topic of many discussions and constantly in the public eye, legal action followed soon enough. The website received numerous legal challenges from parties who wanted to either remove Backpage’s adult section or shut down the website as a whole.
Legal Action Against Backpage
The first major case against Backpage came when the website was accused of aiding prostitution. The claim was that it promoted sex services by allowing prostitutes to advertise on the platform. Backpage fought back, basing their defense on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It stated that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”. The website’s lawyers also argued that restricting posts would be a violation of First Amendment rights.
Another serious charge against Backpage included allegations that the website maliciously edited ads about adult and child sex trafficking, in order to make them safe for publishing. The website’s owners denied the accusation, stating that they blocked all suspicious ads and reported any cases related to child trafficking to the NCMEC.
Due to the multiple ongoing lawsuits and an indictment by a grand jury in Arizona, Backpage was forced to shut down its adult section for good. Despite that, however, government pressure and lawsuits continued to pile up in the following years. On April 5th, 2017, Backpage co-founder and CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on charges of money laundering and facilitating prostitution. Ferrer pleaded guilty to both. The very next day, Backpage was seized by the US government. In the following days, the website’s other co-founders and employees were also tracked down and arrested.
Where Did the Backpage Girls Go After the Website Shut Down?
Backpage was especially good for escorts due to its low fees. It allowed providers to be exposed to a large audience for a very little investment, resulting in many new clients for them. When the website was shut down, all those girls had to find a different place where they could place their listings and get new business. So, where did the Backpage girls go? While there are quite a lot of escort websites that offer a platform similar to Backpage, girls who used to be active on the ad website usually migrated to either another classified advertisement site or an escort directory website.
Classified ad websites, like the one Backpage used to be, allow the posting of many different types of ads. The websites we have prepared for you as Backpage alternatives are all personal ad websites where you can find a variety of products and services. Incidentally, many of the websites on our list outright copied Backpage’s design and functionality, so we will show them to you first. Naturally, they would be the best alternative to the now-closed ad portal, and a logical answer to the question where did the Backpage girls go.
Escort directory websites specialize in, well, only escort ads. They are a great place if you are looking for a sex worker, since the different girls and services are separated into neat categories and displayed quite nicely. You can filter and browse from a large selection of professional escorts, so you are almost guaranteed to find the exact type of girl you are looking for. On top of that, escort directories are more closely monitored than classified ad sites, making them much safer for both escorts and clients alike.
How Did We Pick the Best Backpage Alternatives?
We did some pretty in-depth research on the question where did the Backpage girls go, so we can provide you with this list of ad websites and escort directories. We analyzed and compared the websites in order to confidently tell you which the best ones are. Each Backpage alternative on our list has a rating, and we will present the list starting from the best option overall. Before we do that, however, we would like to show you the criteria we used to rate our picks. After checking out our list, you will no longer be wondering where did the Backpage girls go after the website shut down.
UX Design / Ease of Use
All good websites are easy and intuitive to navigate and get around. Websites that are confusing and do not offer much when it comes to intuitive design deserve a low score on this criterion. When it comes to ad websites and directories, advanced search and filter options are a must. You need to be able to sort escorts by a large number of parameters — age, location, services offered, etc. A high score here means the website in question has taken the time to implement a user-friendly design and a sophisticated search system.
Community Size and Activity
How big and how active is the community at the website in question? The grade here shows how many ads there are on the website and how often the database gets updated. Naturally, a more active and better-maintained website is preferable to the contrary option. If we have detected a large number of fake ads, that would negatively affect the score here.
The amount of monthly visits is important to distinguish the really good websites from the inferior ones. The grade here reflects just that — how many people actually use the website on a monthly basis. Naturally, the more the visits, the higher the grade in this category.
Quality of Profiles
Profiles of both escorts and customers should be informative, well-organized, and convenient to check. A website that does not showcase its escorts properly will get a lower score on this criterion. If escort profiles provide you with all the information you need, expect to see a high rating here.
Quality – Price Ratio
Is the website overall worth the money you will put in it? If the site in question succeeds in providing real value for the investment, they will have a high score on this criterion.
Safety & Fraud Prevention
When it comes to the adult services industry, safety and security are paramount. This score reflects how the website keeps personal data secure and if they take the time to properly check all user and escort profiles. Scammers are not uncommon on such websites and it is up to the administrators to protect us from them.
The 10 Best Backpage Alternatives
Now that you know what criteria we used to evaluate the sites on our list, we can jump right in. If you have ever wondered where did the Backpage girls go, chances are they are on one of the following sites.
Classified Ads Websites
Escort Directory Websites
So, Where Did the Backpage Girls Go? Don’t Worry, They Are Still Around
We hope you enjoyed our in-depth article on the topic of where did the backpage girls go. We must admit that we are a bit sad about Backpage missing from our lives. It really was a convenient and safe way to hire professional escorts all around the world. However, the website’s owners should have taken a stand against their website being used for child trafficking. If they had done more, Backpage would probably still be around and kicking.
Just like us, you have been probably wondering where did the Backpage girls go. Now that you have read the results of our research, you know the 10 best alternatives to the classic site. Those are the places to which most escorts have migrated after Backpage’s downfall. If you were active on the site back in the day, chances are you are going to see some familiar faces. However, before making any decisions, make sure you look up the girl you have chosen at one of the best escort review websites. You might end up saving yourself a lot of trouble.