The popular classifieds Web site Craigslist has been taking a lot of heat lately on a variety of issues, some completely out of their control. Since creator Craig Newmark launched the site in 1995 as an email distribution site for his friends, the Web service has expanded to hundreds of cities in over 50 countries. The site also boasts other features than just items for sale. Some of these features have the site taking a lot of flak.
First of all, with the newspaper industry on the rocks, many are accusing the site of taking away much-needed classified and advertisement revenues. The fact that more people are ditching paper for online classifieds is obvious, but is it Craigslist’s fault for creating a user-friendly and cheap way to sell or solicit stuff? If it was not Craigslist, wouldn’t it just be some other site?
Another reason Craigslist is being criticized is its ‘erotic services’ section. Many accused the site of aiding and abetting prostitution, and in fact it turns out that many prostitutes and other ‘escort services’–big and small–really were advertising their illegal businesses through the site. The small staff of monitors at Craigslist were simply unable to detect and remove all of these posts themselves. On Wednesday, Craigslist announced it would change this section to ‘adult services’ and would require Craigslist employees to review the ad and verify the poster is a legitimate and legal company before.
Another reason many people are upset about the site is its ‘rants & raves’ section which has pretty much become an undisputed forum for hate speech. Ever wonder what kind of loonies live in your county? Check out this section of your local Craigslist site for a genuine “Wow” moment.
Finally, who hasn’t heard about the notorious ‘Craigslist Killer’? The site has gotten nothing but bad press about this guy.
A dying industry, prostitution, racism and serial killers: the fault of Craigslist?