Carl Ferrer

Carl Ferrer

NAME: Carl A. Ferrer

COMPANY: Village Voice Media

POSITION: Vice-President - Backpage.com

SUMMARY PROFILE: The man who oversees Village Voice Media's Backpage.com is Carl Ferrer a vice president who, like most of the senior-level employees of the Phoenix-based alternative weekly chain, is a devoted company man.

With the print publications undergoing a steady erosion of readership which makes them largely irrelevant to the 20 and 30-year-old demographic the company looks to for revenue, Ferrer is front and center in the battle to gain traction and relevancy for the media firm's digital strategies.

The demise of print advertising is largely blamed on the shifting of the lucrative classified ad business to digital platforms. And competitors are quick to point the finger at the internet ad behemoth Craig's List for their woes.

But when Craigslist got out of the adult advertising business in 2010, it was manna from heaven for the embattled Ferrer, who had found himself at the tip of the spear of Village Voice Media's fledgling attempt to boost online advertising.

The former classified sales director of the company's Dallas Observer, Ferrer could barely contain his exuberance when Craigslist founder Craig Newmark killed his adult ads, saying - amidst a social uproar initiated by anti-sex trafficking advocates - that they were bad for business.

"It's a game changer for us," Ferrer said of Newmark's move that left millions of dollars on the table for Village Voice Media to rake in.

Currently, according to the New York Times, Ferrer's Backpage.com accounts for 80 percent of the nation's online sex ads while providing Village Voice Media with an estimated $31 million a year in revenues.

Ferrer - who also finds himself on the firing line for proliferating the sex trafficking of underage girls on Backpage.com - has, until recently, trotted out the same answer to his critics.

He says that Backpage.com uses human and technological screening to root out illegal ads, cooperates with law enforcement and reports 400 cases a month to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

But given the exponential havoc being wreaked on girls and women daily in the U.S. through Backpage.com, those numbers are just a drop in the bucket.

Ferrer has not been doing much talking lately - apparently he's been muzzled by Village Voice Media attorney Elizabeth McDougall.

But Ferrer remains the brains behind Backpage.com and its cash cow –  its prostitution ads.

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