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Craigslist is 'cesspool of crime,' says rival

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 26 Feb 2011 17:26 User comments (10)

Craigslist is 'cesspool of crime,' says rival Oodle, the company behind the popular Facebook app Marketplace has released a study this week, one that shows Craigslist is really a "a cesspool of crime."
The report links Craigslist to 330 crimes and 12 deaths in the U.S. in 2010, and a total of 20 deaths since the classified's launch in 1995.

After Oodle released the study, Craigslist CEO went ballistic on the report, slamming it, and with good reason.

The study has the incredibly sensationalist title "Crime and Craigslist: A sad tale of murders and more" and starts like this:

"Craigslist: A site of murder and mayhem":

Sadly, Craigslist has become a cesspool of crime. Murders. Rapes. Robberies. Hitman-for-hire. Assault. Fraud. Rental rip-offs. Unfortunately, these are everyday occurrences involving people who use Craigslist to buy or sell, or for worse. And the old rules — "meet in public;" "always tell someone where you’re going;" "know who you’re dealing with" — often don’t work on Craigslist.

Oodle says it is different from Craigslist due to accountability. All transactions are tied to a user's Facebook account, whereas on Craigslist all accounts and emails are anonymous. The Marketplace app has moved to 14 million unique users.

Adds Oodle CEO Craig Donato:

We were doing some focus groups, how they used online classifieds and it was pretty clear that interactions that began anonymously led to face-to-face encounters, and flaky behavior. What really struck us in all the focus groups was that everyone cited a close call, or where they felt really scared. We just asked [AIM, the research group] to look at problems and crimes associated with online classifieds, and it quickly zoned in on Craigslist, which has the lion's share.

In the report, AIM noted the following, which then caused Buckmaster's largest outburst:

To be absolutely fair, Craigslist as an entity can't be blamed for the things that happen among its users. It's merely a facilitator of commerce, after all. And we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados. Long before Craigslist, even, robberies were linked to newspaper classifieds from time to time. But that's no longer an excuse that Craigslist can hide behind.

Buckmaster, defending his company snapped back:

Classified listings scraper/aggregator and CL wannabe Oodle has paid AIM Group to falsely portray Craigslist as fraught with criminal activity. If you strip away the false (and defamatory) paid-for editorial however, and look at the numbers AIM uses, a very different story emerges.

Sounds scary until you compare that number to the 570 million classified ads posted by 100 million or more U.S. Craigslist users during that same time span, generating literally BILLIONS of human interactions, many involving face-to-face meetings between users who do not know one another. AIM Group facetiously writes 'we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados.'
THOUSANDS??? Shame on you AIM Group (and Oodle). You know better. Try HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS or BILLIONS of safe transactions.

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10 user comments

126.2.2011 19:08

I wouldn't doubt it

226.2.2011 19:55
Unverified new user

Hah! Craigslist is fine! I've bought and sold many different things from there and have had success in doing so. Trash talking now? Childish...

326.2.2011 20:54

I honestly never even heard of "Oodle" until this article. But they sound kind of desperate to me. I think i'll stick with the cesspool, I've had really good transactions on Craigslist so far, so no need to try some upstart that needs to pay off reviewers to get business.

426.2.2011 23:38

Oh yeah...NOBODY can fake a Facebook account! ;-)

527.2.2011 3:45

Rental rip- offs HA

627.2.2011 5:00

if craigslist prove the findings to be false they can sue for slandering.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

727.2.2011 16:33

So what makes Oodle so 'safe" too... I have 5 smurf e-mail accounts depending on if i sign up for some special "free" offer for something, and a couple smurf facebook accounts too. Why think just because the account is hooked up to a facebook account it is any safer.

On the other hand when i buy/sell stuff from craigslist... I'm very security conscious, only meet in a public place, never alone, typically i like meeting at work to make the exchange... Heck i rent out rooms in my house too, the best renters i've had to date were from Craigslist... Nothing like craigslist is entirely bad or good....

While i remember craigslist too a long time after saying they would remove the "Adult Services" after it was linked to a number of dead prostitutes or provided a means for illegal services... Sure they are gone now but after Craigslist mention the removed it took 3 months+ to carry it out.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Feb 2011 @ 16:34

828.2.2011 13:53

I've made plenty of money buying and selling on Craigslist. People just need to use common sense when meeting strangers.

94.3.2011 14:52

You have to remember that Craigslist is no different than selling in your local newspaper which we could point fingers at for murder and other crimes as well. Any time you meet a stranger personally there is a potential of something going south. A little bit of common sense and street smarts, goes along way.

I use Craigslist all of the time and have yet to have problems but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that the potential isn’t there. You have to be smart with how you inter act and you’ll be mostly safe.

If you looked at real numbers and percentages of crimes involved it would be in the single digits so this is just sensationalized for someone’s personal means.

107.3.2011 3:15

This is so true. Half of the stuff I sell on there get replies from Nigerian scammers.

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