Hawthorne, NY (PressExposure) October 30, 2009 -- One dreadful night a "John" found an innocent girl on Craigslist and made an appointment with her to come to his hotel room and give him a massage. This transaction seems innocent enough except for the fact that his intention was not to have her give him a massage but to kill her. Some people say that he wanted to get caught given the fact that they met in a room where the police would be able to track back to him but I think that he still thought that having given a different name and address he would not have gotten caught but thankfully he was arrested and put in jail. This may seem like an extreme case but over the years others have not been as lucky to have their case resolved. There have been some changes to the site to reduce situations like this but they have not been pushed across the entire site.
I recall watching a reporter talk to a man who was interested in selling his iPhone through craigslist and when he met with the person who was interested in buying the phone all he can remember was being hit and seeing the offender run into his car and drive away. What changes can help to avoid this? There were no cameras on the street to catch the perpetrator and there was nothing that Craigslist could do to help the authorities catch this criminal.
I am seeing more changes over the past few months in a site that is similar to craigslist but has taken a better approach to maintaining your security. The site is called Pennyfieds.
1. Every user on the site needs to register to use the site. If a user is listing their product in an ad they must be registered to the site. The site also has the ability to have premier accounts that are anonymous to other users.
2. They can register using facebook connect or create their own account. Since you can add videos to the site you are also registering to the site with your youtube account. Users that use the premium services also use their paypal accounts. Being able to amass such a large number of identities reduces the anonymity of the user.
3. Whenever a user is registered they can decide to deal with trusted or premier users instead of dealing with everyone who is using the site.
Increasing the trust level of the site makes it easier to navigate the site knowing that the person on the other end is a responsible user. It doesn't completely require having you become friends with this person but can help you see if you want to deal with the person at all. A picture is worth a 1000 words.