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A new report could defend the besieged -- and it comes from the same research organization that has been used in the campaign against the classified-ad site.

Activists calling for the site to shutter its adult classifieds section on the grounds that it promotes sex trafficking -- like New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof -- have seized on research from Advanced Interactive Media Group (AIM) showing that across a handful of sites carrying prostitution ads, 70 percent come from Backpage.

The results suggested that not big cities Stockholm or Gothenburg, but small ones like Linköping and Malmö are the places most likely to produce the best dating experience.

"Linköping was really pleasant with its lake, really good nightlife and bars, and the same thing with Malmö," co-founder Ludvig Lindström told The Local.

Mostly, these ads come in the form of Facebook pages, blog posts or tweets advertising an escort service or individual sex workers.

Researchers also found such ads on and (interestingly, the latter is owned by the New York Times Co., which employs Kristof, arguably the most vocal critic of Backpage).

The release lays out the financial benefit to hosting such ads: "Whether free or paid, listings and ads for escort services and similar adult content frequently serve a business purpose for sites like and YP.com," the report explains.

"They drive traffic and page-views; they deliver legitimate results for seemingly (or pseudo-) legitimate businesses; and they provide search results with adjacent paid or pay-per-click ads, which can generate revenue as they are served." The volume of these ads is nowhere near that on Backpage, but AIM's finding shows how easily sex ads proliferate online, even in "legitimate" online venues.

The team behind HIMYNAMEIS, a Swedish dating startup, toured 31 Swedish cities over three weeks, then ranked the places they visited out of ten, basing the points allocation on factors like the number of singles willing to date, quality and variety of dating, and the city’s romantic atmosphere.

"The same thing actually happened in two other places in Gothenburg.

We weren’t happy about that, so that also played a part in the ranking," he admitted.

"There are a lot of singles in Stockholm as it’s a really big city, but it’s also really stressed and it seems like their dates are very quick," warned Lindström. But it seems Gothenburg's residents weren't so keen on trying out the new method.

"I was surprised, people from Gothenburg are very friendly, but we went to Chalmers University’s student union to hand out fliers and were told to leave," laughed Lindström.

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