Craigslist Has a Problem

200904251643.jpg Like everyone I was saddened at the murder of a young woman advertising massage services on Craigslist. I also recognized that the crimes that make the headlines are but a miniscule percentage of the legitimate ads placed on the service. But then I wondered about all the property and violent crimes that occur and don’t make the headlines…

I watched an interview, a rather lengthy one, that Craig Newmark and Craiglist CEO Jim Buckmaster gave to ABC. Newark comes off as typically quirky but otherwise genuine, however the segment featuring Buckmaster is simply put devastating. His demeanor is matter of fact and that combined with emotionless body language creates a cold and unsympathetic persona.

Buckmaster and Newmark should be outraged, visibly outraged, that Craigslist has become a platform for criminals and they should be offended that Craigslist is being painted as a den of vice. Instead both appear to be rather pollyanish about the notion that Craigslist is serious about combatting sex crimes, violence, fraud, and property crimes on the site, both could be described as Inspector Renault in Casablanca… “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment”.

Craigslist has a real and serious problem and instead of waiting for a community solution to a problem that will only get worse, Newmark and Buckmaster should be taking a leadership position and driving effective change to combat crime taking place on Craigslist.