Calling Craigslist's erotic services page "nothing more than an Internet brothel," Madigan said Wednesday that the existing ads on that section of Craigslist will expire in seven days. Ads in the new adult category will be moderated and approved by Craigslist staff before they are posted to make sure they meet the site's terms of service. There will also be a $10 fee to post in the adult section and a $5 renewal fee.
Craigslist came under renewed pressure to remove the ads after a medical student in Boston was charged with the April killing of a masseuse he met on the site's erotic services section. The site defended itself over reports about the connection.
"Completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic journalism we've seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of Craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds, let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole," spokeswoman Susan McTavish Best said in a statement to NBC.
"We are optimistic that the new balance struck today will be an acceptable compromise," she said.
Madigan and the attorneys general for Connecticut and Missouri met with Craigslist officials last week over thinly veiled ads for prostitution on the site, and Wednesday they all seemed optimistic.
"We're very encouraged that Craigslist is doing the right thing in eliminating its online red light district with prostitution and pornography in plain sight. We'll be watching and investigating critically to make sure this measure is more than just a name change," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
"This is a good next step but by no means is it the ultimate or complete solution," he said.
In a letter sent to Craigslist last month, Madigan called the erotic services section of the site "rampant prostitution and exploitation of women. "
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he'd be willing to dismiss a lawsuit against Craigslist over the prostitution ads if they truly clean up their act.