Craigslist

Woman Kidnapped by Man She Met on Craigslist

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The Online Dating Insider, David Evans, was quoted in an article on the Washington DC radio station website for WTOP about online dating safety. Apparently another woman last weekend was kidnapped on a date by a man she met on Craigslist.

In the Fairfax County incident, the 23-year-old woman on her third date with Dennis Rother. Police say while at her Fair Lakes apartment Saturday, Rother ordered the woman to undress, threatened her with knives then told her to get dressed and forced her into the car. Her erratic driving caught the attention of a George Mason University police officer. He followed her and she was able to flee at a stop light.

I believe this is the third reported incident in the last month or so of a woman getting kidnapped or murdered by someone they met through Craigslist.

For more on the story and some pointers on how to be safe on a first date visit WTOP.com.

Craigslist Fights Back

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Craigslist is fighting back from the bad press (see Story) they have received lately due to their Erotic Services classified ads category (which is now the Adult Services Category) and prostitution. They are suing Henry McMaster, the Attorney General of South Carolina for:

declaratory relief as well as a restraining order with respect to criminal charges he has threatened against the company and its executives.

The suit is in response to a threatening email they received from McMaster a couple of weeks ago telling them to either shut down Craigslist in the state of South Carolina or, face a criminal investigation and possible prosecution. Craigslist believes they are now in full compliance of the law because of the changes they recently made to the category (see Story).

For the full story, read Tech Crunch.

Craigslist Replacing Erotic Services with Adult Category

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The controversial Erotic Services category is being replaced on Craigslist. With the recent so called Craigslist killings and the legal suit which called Craigslist one of the largest sources of prostitution (see Story) the classifieds ad website started on Wednesday to reject any new ads for the category. Instead, a Adult Services category will be built to take its place. Ads for this new adult category will have to go through a manual approval process and cost $10, which is twice as much as ads for the old Erotic Services category. It is unknown if any revenue generated from this new adult category will go to charity as what was happening with the previous category. Current advertisements for illegal sexual activities in Craigslist Erotic Services category will expire Wednesday May 20, 2009.

Will this move stop prostitution on Craigslist? I highly doubt it. While the Adult ads may meet the websites new guidelines, I am sure the world's oldest trade will continue to use Craigslist to subtly promote their services.

For the full Craigslist story, read our Craigslist review.

Casual Encounters on Craigslist

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Craigslist is in the news again about their Casual Encounters section of the classifieds website. The last story in March was about a Chicago Sheriff who sued Craigslist for being one of the largest source of prostitution on the internet (see Story).

The New York Times takes a look at Craigslist, specifically the Casual Encounters section.

Like bathhouses and sex clubs, the Casual Encounters section caters to the erotic underbelly of society, where courtship gives way to expediency and anonymity is a virtue (or at least a turn-on). The section was introduced in late 2000 and is available in all cities served by Craigslist, for users gay and straight, male and female. The ads range from prim to raunchy; a good number of people include photographs of precisely what they have to offer.

Craiglist Accused of being One of the Largest Sources of Prostitution

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Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on March 5th, 2009 sued Craigslist, the popular internet classifieds website. He is accusing them of being a one of the largest sources of prostitution in the United States.

The federal lawsuit filed by Dart's office claims that Craigslist's erotic section is a powerful marketing tool for pimps and prostitutes and makes it easier for criminals to elude police.]

A Craigslist spokeswoman said that compared to all of the legal classifieds on the site, these type of criminal acts are rare. She also said that Craigslist constantly helps law enforcement to track down people who post illegal classified ads.

Sex workers use online classifieds because they find that sites like Craigslist helps to reduce physical violence by customers. This often means as an added benefit, that pimps are not needed. What Craigslist does is offer a buffer between the prostitute and the client through the anonymous email system. Plus, most hookers find that people who use the internet to find sex, tend to have a much lesser chance of being violent.

Police also have used Craigslist to pursue criminal investigations. One example was given from Seattle, where police arrested 71 men in response to one sex ad on Craigslist.

For more on this story, check out Cnet News.

Case Study Shows 84% of Craig's List Personals Ads are Fake

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Tom Smiley recently released on October 31, 2008 a case study in which he examines the number of fake profiles found on Craig' s List. Specifically, he took a look at all personal ads for woman seeking men in all United States cities for one day. This totalled 6,590 individual ads. In total he claims to have found that 5,564 of these personal ads appeared to be fake. This means only 16% of the ads he examined where real. Tom Smiley used 5 different methods to figure out if a personal ad was a fake. These methods were:

  1. Dismissal of ads with pictures posted in multiple ads.
  2. Dismissal of ads with three point randomizers.
  3. Dismissal of ads with typical verbatim occurrences indicating variables in form letters.
  4. Dismissal of ads that are obvious fraud.
  5. Dismissal of ads that simply don't match headline w/content.

More Details can be found here on his methodology including examples. I'm not a big user of Craig's List and always thought their personals section wasn't the best place to visit to find someone to date. After reading Tom Smiley's case study I definitely wouldn't recommend Craig's List for dating to anyone.

For the full case study see Online Personals Fraud and you can view our Craig's List review.

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