EBay pulls ads site after sex allegations

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Ebay has taken down its Spanish classified ads site Loquo, after Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster accused it of touting prostitution.

While the site is presumably still available in Spain, users in the US and elsewhere see only a message reading "Our apologies, Loquo is not available in your country" in English, Spanish and Catalan.

Ebay's terms of use stipulate that "It is prohibited to post pornography, nudity, or other related material that is obscene or adult in nature."

Craigslist itself has come under heavy fire recently for running ads promoting prostitution and even human trafficking. Media tracker Advanced Interactive Media Group recently estimated that it would make as much as $36 million from sex ads next year.

But in an explosive blog post, Buckmaster says that eBay is just as bad.

"As a practical example of eBay’s 'advanced filtering' and 'family friendly' classifieds, we’ve been shown some ads currently live on eBay’s Loquo.com classifieds site, which features thousands of paid ads offering various sexual acts in exchange for money," he says.

"The highly explicit photographs included in the... ads depict young Asian females engaged in unprotected sex, along with rates and a listing of specific sex acts (in Spanish) on offer."

Ebay acquired Loquo in 2005, under the leadership of Meg Whitman - currently running for the governorship of California.

"Meg Whitman didn’t mention eBay’s paid hard-core pornographic ads offering unprotected sex acts for sale to eBay investors when talking up the growth and profitability of Loquo during eBay earnings calls, and I’m not aware that subsequent management has done so either," says Buckmaster.

Buckmaster's accusations come in response to a Facebook page called 'Stop Craigslist Human Trafficking - Choose Ebay Classifieds',  which calls Craigslist's adult services section 'a haven for human traffickers'.