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Selling Safely With Oodle

One of the biggest problems associated with traditional online classifieds sites is anonymity.  In recent focus groups we conducted, issues relating to anonymous conversations really stood out.  Most complained of flakey behavior (e.g., the buyer who seems interested but then doesn’t show up for appointments).  But almost everyone cited a close call where they felt scared.

We see evidence of this problem in the media where burglaries, assaults, and even murders are attributed to meetings facilitated on Craigslist.  To get a feel for how big this problem really is, Oodle asked the AIM Group, an analyst organization covering the classifieds industry, to compile the number of crimes published in the press that originated with interactions on Craigslist. The results were pretty scary — 330 crimes committed in the past year, more than 43 of which were violent. (AIM Report on Craigslist Crime)

The information AIM compiled is all public — anyone could compile the same data by searching for reported-upon crimes committed as a result of Craigslist contacts. While the proportion of crimes to day-to-day Craigslist interactions may be small, the data we compiled only shows reported crimes, there could have been many more. Also, we think even one murder is too many — buying and selling online should just be safer.



At Oodle safety is a top priority. We’re all about building a social marketplace — a marketplace where who you’re buying from is as important as what you’re buying.  A key part of this mission is identity.  When people post or respond to a listing on Marketplace, they use their real identity on Facebook – enabling you to not only see who the other party is but to see if you’re connected (share a mutual friend, went to the same college, etc.).  By putting real identity back into conversation, Oodle is re-introducing appropriate social norms back into the local community marketplace.  We also do a lot to monitor communication between buyers and sellers — looking for suspicious activity — as well as provide tips on how to buy and sell safely online in our safety center.

In the age of social media when almost everyone has a Facebook profile, why continue to meet up with anonymous buyers and sellers when there’s a better way?

4 Responses to “Selling Safely With Oodle”

  1. February 26th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Classifieds Wars: Craigslist, Oodle Fight Over Safety | paidContent says:

    [...] a opposition site as a stomping belligerent for criminals—and Craigslist is not pleased. Oodle put out a report with classifieds investigate organisation AIM Group this morning observant that 330 crimes, [...]

  2. February 26th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Craigslist and Oodle CEOs Square Off. Who Wins? You Decide | Daily News says:

    [...] Oodle CEO and owner Craig Donato is discerning to indicate out that a 330 crimes are a low estimate: "The information we gathered usually shows reported crimes, there could have been many more," he writes in Thursday's blog post. [...]

  3. February 26th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Classifieds Wars: Craigslist, Oodle Fight Over Safety says:

    [...] a opposition site as a stomping belligerent for criminals—and Craigslist is not pleased. Oodle put out a report with classifieds investigate organisation AIM Group this morning observant that 330 crimes, [...]

  4. June 21st, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Earl Masters says:

    I have been selling online for many years now. From Ebay to Craigs List. Just a few safe pointers. If your in the business to sell, especially classified ads, please read the safety list below.

    1. Get a pre-paid cell phone used for business only. Cell phones are safe and your personal information is safe. Give this number out only.

    2. Get and use a postal box one with a suite # is the best for customers to mail payments. Do not give out your home address!

    3.If at all possible, receive payment plus a fair shipping cost, then ship out the product.

    4. Get a paypal account. Its fast and easy. Anyone can send you money to your email address and then it goes in to your bank account when your ready for it.

    5. If you must meet with a customer. Meet at a public place and bring someone with you. Always have your cell phone with you and let others know where you are going!

    IF YOU FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE RULES, YOU WILL DO GREAT!

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