Part II follow-up to “Craig Newmark servicing customers at Craigslist”
During our chat yesterday, Craig Newmark spent much time discussing his efforts to rid Craigslist of “bad behaviour.” Like much about Craigslist, however, their policing of “bad behaviour,” is somewhat fluid, reflecting both the need to provide a safe, legal environment, and the wish to be inclusive and “compassionate.”
Like other Internet sites promoting open access and participation, such as MySpace, anti-social behaviour is a problem at Craigslist, same as in the offline world. As the day to day operations of Craigslist are run by Jim Buckmaster, CEO, Newmark spends much of his time trying to police predatory and illegal activities transpiring at Craigslist: scams, harassment, prostitution…
Newmark works closely with the Internet crimes divisions of the New York and Los Angeles police departments to track down people using Craigslist to engage in illegal activities. According to Newmark, the most egregious of behavior at Craigslist involves criminal activities originating from Eastern Europe, Western Africa and Washington DC.
Newmark also sees the Craigslist highly selective fee system as a deterrent to “bad behaviour.” Newmark characterizes the June 15 NYC launch of fees for certain real estate listings as a way to “get rid of some of the worst brokers.” He also believes the new Craigslist bulk upload system for broker ads will “reduce vastly the redundant ads, and there’s a lot.”
I asked Newmark about instituting fees across all Craigslist categories, to improve quality and decrease scams throughout the site: “it doesn’t feel right.”
The sense of what is right, and right for the vast Craigslist community, is the driving force behind all of Newmark’s work with his namesake Craigslist.