So far I’ve only seen this reported in the Dallas Business Journal but for now I’m going to assume that the sale of Backpage to an unnamed Dutch company for an undisclosed amount is true.
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer sounds like a Bond villain making the announcement at the expansion of his ‘legitimate business’…
“We launched in some markets internationally some years ago and we’re starting to get traction,” he added. “In fact, some of those markets are growing double and triple digits. Having a Dutch company own us gives us access to vendors, companies and experts, especially in Europe, where we’re having the most success.”
Since it’s going to be the same guy as CEO going forward I doubt very much that they’ll be dropping the ads for prostitution anytime soon. As a matter of fact I believe this move guarantees their increase. It’s not surprising that they sold to a Dutch company as The Netherlands are infamous for having legalized prostitution zones but they are also a top global destination for human trafficking. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that they want to be operating in a human trafficking friendly country.
Another reason I think they sold to an overseas company is to flummox US lawmakers. Backpage attorney Liz McDougall is always saying how prostitution websites would move offshore if Backpage closed down. Instead of waiting for the US Government to catch up with them, like they did to MyRedbook operator Eric Omuro, they’re going to shift operations overseas even though they’re claiming to keep operations in Dallas.
So if the U.S. Attorney’s office or any State Attorney General has an ace up their sleeve now may be the time to play it before Backpage leaves the table a winner.