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April 22nd, 2009
09:29 AM ET

Craigslist feels 'terrible' about killing

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster responds to the Web site's connection to a recent murder.
Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster responds to the Web site's connection to a recent murder.

There are new developments to the possible Craigslist killing today. The suspected killer, Philip Markoff, is being held without bond in a Boston jail cell. Police were back in his apartment last night looking for evidence on what the district attorney is calling a “brutal, vicious crime.”

What drove the medical student to allegedly kill a young masseuse and assault one other woman? Early reports suggest that Markoff owed gambling debts. While the district attorney is not commenting on that, he is telling CNN when Markoff was picked up there was evidence to suggest he was headed to a casino in Connecticut.

The story is giving new attention to Craigslist. It's not the first time the site has been the center of a criminal investigation. In a taped interview Wednesday on CNN’s American Morning, John Roberts spoke exclusively to the CEO of Craigslist, Jim Buckmaster, about the case.

Jim Buckmaster: We feel terrible and it’s quite sad that anyone would lose their life and we’re horrified that use of Craigslist could in anyway be connected with a violent crime of this nature. It causes us to redouble our efforts to try to get across to users to take a few common sense precautions that eliminate most of the risk.

John Roberts: What do you plan to do in response to this Markoff case, if anything?

Buckmaster: We're examining the way the site is set up and the processes we use to see if there's any incremental new change that we can make that could make the use of the site even safer for users.

Roberts: Police believe that Phillip Markoff found his victims by surfing Craigslist. It's also believed that in New York City, George Weber met his killer on Craigslist. What do you say to this notion that while Craigslist is valuable as a community bulletin board, it could also be a conduit through which predators can find prey?

Buckmaster: We think quite the reverse is true in that you have to remember there are 50 million Americans using Craigslist each month; most of them using it several times a month. Whenever you have that amount of human activity there is a possibility of things going wrong despite everyone's best efforts to protect people. Having said that, no incident of violent crime, obviously, is okay. We're looking and seeing if there's anything we can be doing differently to make people even safer when they're using the site.

Roberts: In the case of Philip Markoff and the police in Boston, did you assist in the investigation? Not you personally, but did Craigslist officials assist in the investigation?

Buckmaster: As always, we make ourselves completely available to law enforcement and provide them with anything that they need that could help them either find the individual they’re looking for or prosecute the case once they've found the person.

Roberts: Why do you allow these types of services to be advertised on Craigslist, whether they're in erotic services or under other services?

Buckmaster: Back in 2005, our users saw these kinds of ads being posted throughout the site. They asked us to set up a dedicated category where these ads would live and where they could be put behind a warning screen. So we ended up doing what telephone, yellow pages, and newspaper classifieds have typically done for decades, which is have a dedicated category for these kinds of ads. One difference on Craigslist, of course, is that 100% of the net revenue goes to charity.

Roberts: That's under the erotic services category. But is it not true that people can post these erotic services and mask them and post them under other areas in Craigslist as well, making it that much more difficult for you to police?

Buckmaster: That's what they were doing previously. But now that we have a dedicated category, escort ads and massage ads, etc., that's generally where they're posted now.

Roberts: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart in Illinois appealed to you to shut down these erotic services saying that he makes dozens of arrests for prostitution based on ads that he sees on Craigslist. In Worcester, Massachusetts over the weekend, 50 people were arrested after they responded to an ad that Worcester police put on Craigslist offering erotic services. So it’s clear that criminal enterprise is being conducted. Does Craigslist condone that?

Buckmaster: Of course we don't. We prohibit all kinds of illegal activity. In the erotic services category, we adopted telephone verification, credit card authorization. Those two steps eliminated about 90% of the inappropriate activity on the site. And now we're chipping away at that remaining 10%.

Roberts: Why not refuse to take any ads of this nature?

Buckmaster: That's actually the great thing about Craigslist. When there is criminal activity, which, of course, we don't condone, it is easier for law enforcement, at least they tell us that on a regular basis, to spot the bad apples and root them out and prosecute them and get them off of the site, which we really appreciate.


Filed under: Crime
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. mzmaker05

    I think that, this days more and more people are coming up with their own classifieds when sites like bestcraigslistclone.com make it so easy to create your own niche classifieds site..

    October 4, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  2. Nathan

    Big Media hates craigslist as they are taking away revenue from them. Similar crimes have happened because of Myspace but no one talks about it because Myspace is owned by big media!

    May 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  3. ruby

    Kudos to Craigslist for refusing to change their site. If you don't like the erotic ads, don't go look at them. Craigslist is simply a bulletin board, not unlike the one at your local grocery store. If you find something there that offends you, take it down. If you find something on Craigslist that offends you, flag it. Craigslist should in no way be held responsible for the behavior of people who post to or read from their site. If you wreck your car, should the auto maker quit making them?

    April 25, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Dr.Thomas Parker

    To Jim Buckmaster:

    You made a comment in another story on CNN that internet criminals are stupid if they use the internet for crime as they WILL get caught. For sure, if your as stupid as that med student was. Want to commit a crime using the internet and get away with it, it is REALLY EASY, set up a PROXY SERVER!!

    Markoff must have been the stupidest med school student in the world, let alone a really stupid internet criminal. To all you internet criminals out there, USE A PROXY SERVER, they are really easy to set up!

    Dr. Tom

    April 23, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  5. Warr

    Gotta agree with Steve Cos. Blame anybody but yourself.

    April 23, 2009 at 6:14 am |
  6. dave

    I am concerned even more concerned about college classified sites that are similar to Craigslust, like Uloop.com they claim to be safe, but there are a lot of kids on it. I'm concerned that there might be copycats.

    April 23, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  7. Jamie

    I absolutely love Craigslist. I have done so many transactions through the site and even if I had a bad one I wouldn't blame CL! I am GLAD they have erotic sections so that I don't have to sift through it while I'm looking for what I want. I don't need any "erotic" services but also know that taking down that area of the site isn't going to make it go away! It'll just litter the rest of the site. It is the best site as it leaves you to use your own discretion, it's free and easy to use. It's perfectly safe as long as you use common sense. It's sad that some people are ripped off or murdered but it'd occur without CL. I think stories like this, that highlight the fact that CL was involved, are just just ridiculous. Had he picked up a prostitute on a corner and murdered or robbed her, would people be blaming that corner?? If he robbed a woman at an ATM, would it be the ATMs fault?

    April 22, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  8. Connie

    You can not pick on Craigs list. It's not the only website that people use for such services. Basically, anyone can parade themselves as a saint on any online meet sites and pass.....the computer cannot prove one's intentions or true character.

    People make choices, they choose to go on a site be it crags list , or sugar daddy .com....Once you make that choice to meet someone online....you are inviting danger or whatever else you will go through.

    Before attacking a website.....ask yourself....why am I choosing to meet this person online....????? What if something happens to me???? Greed and selfcenterdness are the root of the problem and not craigs list. Leave Cragslist alone or else go after every single web site there is on the internet......just because one case is gaining attention.......doesn't mean that there are no millions of other cases going unnoticed....and unheard ......

    There will always be another Craigslist........the solution is to stop, think and don't go to these sites....they are everywhere

    April 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  9. Pam Sutton

    Craigslist has done nothing wrong. There are millions of sites out there where these types of ads are place. This young man is the only one to blame for his viscious behaviour. Why don't you check to see what type of up bringing he had. I use craigslist all the time for advertising my rental properties and I have had nothing but good luck.

    April 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  10. Yumba

    I posted an ad on Craigslist last summer for a free trampoline, and somebody local to my house with the email "icepickman" or something spelled out like that, responded. I emailed him back informing him that with an email name like that, did he think I would actually give him directions to my house to get a free trampoline? He sent me an email back that said he was a police officer. I was very cautious, because police officer or not...and I think NOT, a name like that is NOT somebody to even turn a blind eye towards for a second. I called the police station to the town the guy said he was from, provided the email, and told them that this emailer says he is a police officer with their office. He was not, they said they would check into it, and he could be living in that town, and an officer in another town. I got too busy to follow up with the outcome.

    Craigslist is not the only place I have dealt with a creep. When we first purchased our house, we were kind of broke, but we still needed some things. We picked up a copy of "Want Ad Press" local to our area, and found a man who had what we were looking for in our town. We went to see, and it was so VERY creepy. This apartment was so unusual in it's layout. The entry way was up a center cut of stairs, and he had another stairway to a huge 30 by 20 basement room that went down from the back of the living room to the basement. Right off the bat, I noticed something that put me on edge, and furthermore my husband was on the same edge. Afterwards, we both compared mental notes, and had the same scary feelings and ideas. There was a makeshift swing-arm black curtain panel that covered the area entry to the stairs to the place. The guy took the time to swing it out covering the view into the apartment after he sent us up the stairs ahead of him. The arm swung out flat to the wall like a soji screen on a swing out arm and a black curtain completely concealed any view from the window atop the door of the stairwell. It was so odd, and it was full-length. The man bragged about how he can't stand the management looking in the window, and this was his answer. The man invited us into his kitchen, and we were even more horrified, perhaps mortified. We went along with it, because it was getting worse and worse, and then we figured we would politely just leave and nothing would occur. The pot in the kitchen on the stove looked boiled over and oozing with some bloody meat remains. It stunk terribly. It looked like it had been like this over and over again, and never once cleaned in between use. The stove was so disgusting, and the pot, I was thinking that he must be cooking animals or humans. Seriously. I wasn't alone in that thinking. The man offered and poured us some drinks, but I kicked my husband under the table to not drink it. We said, "It is too late to drink caffeine this late in the day. The guy was adamant and he was almost insisting we drink his iced tea. He went into another room abruptly to go get the item we said we were interested in, and I quickly dumped a little off of both glasses into the sink, and then sat down without him seeing. He returned, and I told him how wonderful his tea was. His smile was relaxed but calculating. The man then proceeded to take us into the basement room to show us more things he had for sale. We really didn't want to go anywhere but back out the door. We even purchased the piece of junk just to get the heck out of there. No wasn't an option, so we went down to the basement. He had so much stuff, that the room was packed with things..some that were commercial grade government radio type equipment and stuff. It was very easy to trip or get stuck at the end of an aisle, that we stayed on the perimeter and we stayed together telling him we were meeting a few friends nearby, even though we weren't. He actually asked us if our friends knew we were looking at his items. BIG RED FLAG. I said, "As a matter of fact, my girlfriend asked me to ask if you have any dishes for sale. She wanted to come, but her husband was late getting home, so we are meeting up later." He kept encouraging us to go down the clogged walkways to the stuff and take a look. If one of us went down one of these walkways and it was a "dead-end" there was no recourse to deal with him, and we both saw through this. He had so many kid's bikes, skiis, and things that mental radar went way up, and I asked him how he came to "inherit" so many kid's bikes and things. He told me he had a ton of grandchildren. Well, he would have had to have 50 or more grandchildren. He had a Romanian or some kind of a Germanic accent, and I initially thought he might be some kind of war criminal too with the government-type of equipment that was present and dating back to WWII, and nevermind we were spanking-near a military site in operation. To top it all off, he had a huge red Chinese-type rug he was shampooing and hosing off at the back door while we looked around. We kind of played along, and then we insisted we had to leave to meet our friends. We talked the whole way home about how creepy and all the creepy details. The very next day, I came home from work, and that man with the Romanian accent called my house. Because I was tired, I yawned and sounded like a younger person than I was. I recognized the guy we had gone to see as the same accented person, and age. I never gave him our phone number, but I did call him on his ad. I thought, about how sneaky that was. He said, "Are you 14 years old or younger home alone? There are all kinds of sick people out there and you cannot be home alone." My heart skipped a few beats in alarm, because I was home alone but onto him, so I played along. I told him my mom was pulled into the driveway right now, so I was not home alone at all. I told him in a faked childish voice that my dad was coming home soon also. That FREAKED me out, but I figured that if this guy showed up to do anything harmful the police were about a block away. I called the local police and I requested to speak immediately to a detective. I told him all the sick details, I gave him the address, and I described all the strange pieces of conversation. The detective said he was as creeped out as I was. I still think in my mind he was killing and eating people, kids especially, and then selling their bikes or whatever he picked them up doing. The skiis were large in number also, and just the thought of this guy at some ski slope abducting kids or whatever was stomach curdling. So, goes to show you never can tell. There were too many strange behaviors. He also said a lot of strange things, but we very innocently "verbally disarmed" him, realizing this. The pot and the putred smell were just way too much. What was in the tea besides tea, not to mention the lack of sanitation?? The stove, the range hood, and the floor in front of the oven were just coated with a 1/4 inch of a dark, blood colored boil-over from the pot to the floor in one big trail, but in layers like it had been a repeated and ongoing act. I remember being horrified, but joking with him jovially and hiding my gut facial expression, "wow, you must like making candy apples." He didn't go along with my idea, but he giggled with me, and he said, "it's from a deer I hit with my vehicle." Living in the same town with the guy, I would NEVER set foot anywhere NEAR where this guy lived or lives. He was living in the middle of an apartment complex with woods and a military base behind it. He also was really into washing the large 8 x 12 rugs, and it had me wondering. I've never had a rug that couldn't be carpet shampooed directly on the floor, or given a heavy vacuuming. Why did he need to take it outside and hose it down?

    While MOST people are sane, and most things for sale, ARE for sale, I recommend one thing if you are going to use any of these "Buy it used websites or practices"...meet in a public place where you know people will be with you, and do not park your vehicle where you meet, in the event the person can track your car or follow you to your home. I always meet at a regional mall, in front of the security desk where there is always a guard and plenty of foot traffic, and we exchange items and cash ONLY right there. I then walk around the mall for awhile and meet up with either my husband or another friend just to keep anyone from following me to my car. I also do not let anyone I am buying from divulge any personal address information to me, and I preface my email to them with this. Of all the people I have met buying things from Craigslist this way, just about EVERYONE thanks me for thinking of safety and honesty for both of us, by meeting in such a place and conducting cash exchange visible to officers.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  11. larry why

    I found my current job on CL, I met my wife through CL, and I have sold at least a dozen items and purchased another dozen off of CL. All you haters hate on the killer, not CL.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  12. Mary Smith

    @Whodini

    Yes I have been on CL for ages and I know what I'm talking about.
    It's even worse than people think. Although the good news is, most men on there like to look but are too lazy to leave the house.

    April 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  13. Gary

    Craigslist is a service like any other. It is the public that determines how it is used and some will abuse it. You will never stop the oldest profession so why not just make it legal and tax it like we do every other vice. Might even save the economy while we are at it! Like the oldest profession murder is the oldest sin and can not be stopped by putting restraints on free speech. Bad people will find ways to do bad things. So get over demonizing everything for the sake of "making" news.

    April 22, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  14. Pat G

    To all of you bemoaning the lack of personal responsibility on the part of users, one important fact remains–the same applies to Craigslist executives. By refusing to take any rudimentary action to review or filter content that so blatantly and overtly references illegal activity, Craigslist is facilitating crime. Period. The only reason they haven't been charged with complicity is that federal and state laws haven't yet caught up with the Internet. When they do, the execs at Craigslist better have more of a defense strategy than their site's feeble disclaimers or the equally lame rehearsed lines their CEO robotically delivers every single time law enforcement calls his company to task for its total lack of accountability. Just because a service is free or convenient, it doesn't follow that the company providing it is exempt from the laws that bind us all-and shame on those of you who suggest that it does.

    April 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  15. Natalia

    I have used craigslist throughout the years. I have found two cars, three different apartments, four roommates, vacation rentals and even dates. I have never had a bad experience and I'm always very thorough when doing extra backgroud checks. Although I have notices that lately there are plenty of scammers out there but if you have a little bit of logic, and street smarts, you can pick them out pretty quickly, start flaggin them and posting warning ads for other to be careful. Same thing happens in newspaper classifieds. Just be smart and you wont be crying later on!

    April 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  16. Ran

    Sure, Lamard. It's all a white conspiracy. That's why the media treats Bush openly as evil incarnate (he does deserve it) and they treat Obama as the patron saint of all that is well and good (he does very little to deserve it). It's also why that whole Duke Lacrosse thing happened, which clearly no white people suffered during and no black person got away with anything.

    It's all bull. It's stirring the pot. White vs. Black, Black vs. White. The media loves it. Once you fall for that, you've already lost.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  17. Adam

    @ Charles Cass

    If you saw an advertisement for a truck in the New York Times classifieds, would you send the money to buy it before meeting the buying? Of course not, you would complete the transaction in person, at once. Also, Craigslist does not work with nor guarantee with paypal (as ebay does). It merely helps create a connetion between a buyer and seller. There are warnings of fraud all over the site to only make transactions in person.

    – Getting ripped off was not Craigslist's fault. I have been ripped off there as well and continue to use the site because I know it was my fault and should have taken basic precautions. The site aids in fascilitating transactions and is full of fraud. It has no control over what is sold only provides a means of contact. It is simply a huge online classifieds database.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  18. andrew

    People, we live in a free country (supposedly)....If you don't want to take the risk of dealing with people than don't use the site! Craigslist is a great resource...just be smart about it! Dont pay 3700 bucks for a truck through paypal without doing your homework! Use your brain! And if you are a "masseuse" sorry, but meeting random people alone to give a "massage" is asking for trouble, Craigslist or not! COMMON SENSE

    April 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  19. maddawg

    even bigger LMAOs to LAMARD....

    how did this become a racisit issue???

    oh yea....a black person, LAMARD, decided that a murder that has nothing to do with black people MUST have some sort of racism attributed to it....

    jesus effin christ....can't you EVER let go of racism??

    the only people keeping racism alive, that i know, are mostly black.
    (of course i don't know any KKK members and i don't want too)

    but then again...the KKK has a reason to be racist...that's what they're about.

    a black man, on the other hand, that says he's not racist but ALWAYS makes race a part of ANY ISSUE...well, that man is CLEARLY A BIGOT.

    now that i think of it, you sound alot like sharpton.....always making RACE an issue when there was never RACE in it to begin with.

    the only racists i know are people exactly like you....THE ONES THAT WILL NEVER LET IT GO!

    live on racist...but don't expect us to follow your ignorance.

    P.S....gods are for the weak and those that need a scape-goat for all the good AND bad in this world.

    perhaps if you focused more on reality and not mad-made gods, you'd be able to get over your racism!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  20. fletc3her

    Yeah, the site could be "even safer", or better yet could attempt to provide any safety whatsoever. This isn't even the first killing tied to Craigslist, but beyond this brutal crimes there are a multitude of minor crimes which are being perpetrated using Craigslist to find victims. The net is awash with stories about people being robbed after meeting someone through the personals on Craigslist, about pranks pulled by posting "free" notices on Craigslist, about deals for services and merchandise gone wrong, and of course the blatant criminality of prostitution and drug deals that take place quite openly on Craigslist. Craigslist is by no means unique in fostering these kinds of activities, but is definitely a focal point today.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  21. Alex

    All types of media find Craigslist is their ENEMY #1 ! They know well sites like CL literally killed their similar kind of Ad revenue generation. So when something like this killing happens they drool all over Craigslist to blame this GREAT, FREE, BADLY NEEDED site.

    This killing could have happen by any other types of Ad placement in a local paper, but the media and the top exec. CANNOT see craigslist causing them to lose money, so they create this NONSENSE blaming game OVER AND OVER and OVER. They hate CL and they don’t let it go.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  22. MikeMaz

    Ridiculous to Blame Craigslist...there are millions of posts a day on that site and there will always be a nut who is a bad seed. You have to be smart about things on Craigs. If you are a massuer no matter where you get your clients Craigs, personal ads, etc you always run the risk of meeting someone who can be dangerous. Its not craigslists fault its the fault of a person not being careful.
    If there was no erotic services on craigslist dont you think this guy would have found one some otther way?

    April 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  23. Lisa40622

    Craigslist doesn't kill people – people kill people (Craigslist just makes it easier to do it from the comfort of your own home)

    April 22, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  24. Michelle

    About a month ago I tried Craigslist to look for jobs. Every single job I replied to, about a dozen, was spam. Over the course of a week I ended up wasting a LOT of time applying to fake jobs and I'm now getting tons of crap from all those who have my home email address. I feel foolish for being taken in like this and would never use the site again to look for a job or anything else for that matter. There are many good sites out there where people can look for jobs, buy and sell products, etc. They strive for legitimacy and have checks in place to weed out most of the junk. So it's possible to run a reputable site for the exchange of goods and services, but Craigslist hasn't done enough to be of that caliber. It's basically a free for all.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  25. maddawg

    HUGE LMAOs @ charles cass....

    instead of teaching his daughter about common sense, financial management, how NOT to send complete strangers MONEY over the internet, how a person SECURELY and EFFECTIVELY performs a purchase transaction....

    he instead crys about the website, that had nothing to do with his daughters stupidity or the stupid transaction SHE put HERSELF into with a complete stranger?!?

    again...WOW....every single day i am suprised at just how STUPID most people in this world are and how they will blame ANYONE but themselves for their mistakes and stupid decisions.

    oh...and his threat that "we'll never use craigslist again..."

    LMAO.....like that's all they needed....another iTarded imbecile using their website and blaming them for the iTarded decision the user made. i guarantee craigslist is MORE THAN HAPPY that idiots like you and your daughter will never use their services.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  26. Kim

    I've read the many negative comments about Craigslist. While I understand there has been a lot of illegal activity on Craigslist, a lot of people are failing to point out the good. I am a frequent Craigslister and I have had a 100% success rate with Craigslist and I have met a lot of good people. I sold a car, found a job, and met a lifelong friend just to name a few. If people would use the site for what it's intended for, we would not be having this conversation. My condolences to the woman's family that was murdered.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  27. Gary Matson

    One scam I've encountered is that a group of Realtors in my area routinely use their numbers to interfere with anyone trying to sell their own home or rent their own property.

    There are all sorts of "property management" and "Broker" ads on Craigslist, but whenever a private party wants to rent his/her own property, the fake calls begin in earnest.

    How do I know they're Realtors? Because my brother was in "the business" for about 20 years. After experiencing the problem of the multiple fake calls in which people would ask things and then laugh & hang up or request showing appointments and then never show (while providing a fake return phone number)....I happened to mention the problem to my brother who confirmed that PHONE HARRASSMENT of various types has been a Realtor tactic for decades. Harass the property owner until he/she caves in & hires the "real estate experts." Its called extortion by way of interference.

    Ask any private property owner who has tried to sell his/her own place or rent out his/her own rental property. You'll see.

    Often times, the Realtors according to my brother will file a false "unfair housing" complaint with the local housing authority. Nothing comes of it, but the intent is simply one more harrassment tactic that the private seller must endure.

    The most arrogant thing about the whole escapade is that one Realtor actually claimed to my face, "nobody can prove anything" ... with a nasty smile.

    And Craigslist,,,,, since it gives only lip service to actually operating their site for the benefit of the public and within the law, could care less. After I learned of what was going on, I sent a letter of complaint to their offices in San Francisco. Not even a response.

    Don't believe? Then why does the State & National Realtor firms boast that virtually 100% of the "for sale by owners" give up "within 30 days" and hire them??? Its because the sellers have been harrassed by the Realtors with fake calls and feigned interest by so many "agents" and "brokers" that they don't give up on selling, but surrender to thugs.

    Google "Real Estate Organized Crime" & see what interesting reading pops up.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  28. Don

    I think all of this is ridiculous. Craigslist is an online classified ad resource. Its the same as picking up a paper and calling for a masseuse for a job. The same thing can happen in a chat room (and has) in on-line dating serveice and has. So the point here is that parent need to educate thier children the right thing to do and to use common sense. Ted Bundy one of the notorious serial killers walked around and picked up women to kill them....this is the techie age....why walk around when all you have to do is surf the web. There will always be sick individuals out there....dont blame a single website for the reason this guy did what he did

    April 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  29. Michael Casteel

    Wow – there are a lot of uninformed morons commenting here. The funny thing is that they all hate Craigslist (CL), but are experts on it. I particularly love the dumb bunny whose daughter got swindled on a car purchase. Newsflash – CL is NOT eBay. They are NOT selling you the car. They are no more liable for goods and services listed than the newspaper is for classified ads. If your daughter sent someone $3700 for a car, sight unseen, she is a blithering idiot. For those whining about the ads for sexual services (which they apparently spend a LOT of time perusing), CL has a simple mechanism for dealing with them outside of the erotic services category, users can "flag" the ad for removal. I have found that such ads are almost immediately flagged and removed. We should be glad this creep used CL, if he was randomly picking up hookers off the street he might have murdered dozens of women before he was caught. Finally to the self-rightous moralists on here – why not turn your wrath on the casinos and gambling? That was apparently the root cause here. Oh, but you probably love to hit the slots Sunday after Church.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  30. LJ

    RE: Jen K April 22nd, 2009 11:40 am ET
    Issue: "bestiality ads"

    Please be PC; it is called: “InterSpecies Erotica”

    April 22, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  31. disgusted

    What ever happened to being responsible for ones actions. Why is it someone elses responsibility to direct your actions?

    April 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  32. JC

    Here's the thing about the internet....everyone is just 1 click away from anything and everything. That includes things that you want to see and things that you DON'T want to see. Craigslist happens to be filled with both.

    If you're concerned about consumer protection, go use Ebay or an actual business. People have been ripped off by con artists for centuries, Craigslist just makes it easier for them to take your money.

    If you don't like the content, don't use the site.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  33. Justin

    I know friends who have met people off of craigslists. I mean its just common sense. Why would go and meet somoene especially not knowing them. You can blame craigslists all you want but its the persons own fault that they went and met someone.

    Craigslists is no different than match, yahoo dating, etc. Why are people always blaming everything and everyone except the people or persons who are at fault.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  34. paul r

    I have been boycotting Craigslist because of their "erotic" category.
    This is outright solicitation and makes me ill. Isn't there SOME place on the internet that is safe from this sort of garbage? Craigslist has the power but just refuses to act. It's just a junk site that is on a race to the bottom.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  35. maddawg

    LMAO @ zach the security engineer that states "...single most unsafe...site! and i should know...i'm a security engineer so my statement holds some water"

    first off, any security engineer that can make such a lame statement clearly has LITTLE knowledge of computer security.

    second, the only thing your ignorant statement holds is ignorant AND useless information.

    who cares what you do?!?!? and to then prove that you know VERY LITTLE about what you state you do...well that's just showing your ignorance...again!

    any self-respecting security engineer DOESN'T have to tell people he's a security engineer and what he says should hold some water....only desperate idiots that don't really know what they're talking about would make such a statement.

    and, how does you're being a security engineer make your statement hold any water? your statement has nothing to do with security so why would you mention that, unless you already feel inferior in the computer security industry.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  36. Kelly

    I find it hilarious that people blame Craigslist for all of these problems. Houses of ill repute, cheating, strange sexual habits....all of this would take place with or without craigslist. The fact that any of these women offered their "services" and then met a strange man at a hotel is insane. Are there not enough news reports of women being attacked just walking down their own streets? It isn't craigslists fault that people aren't very bright and continually do unsafe, stupid and illegal things.

    And as far as people who are getting ripped off with sales on the site...who pays money up front for an item they don't have?? When you know you're dealing with people one on one, and not through a protected ordering website then you're only setting yourself up for a giant rip off. There are plenty of notices set up by craigslist that help you to realize a scam, or how to protect yourself but apparently not only are people stupid...they're also illiterate. GO SOCIETY!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  37. Chelsea

    Craiglist is a free service for people looking for things. If you want a sofa instead of a prostitute then don't go to the adult section, try furniture, because I have never found an ad for an erotic massage when I was actually looking for something and not browsing the personals. Blame the monster not the medium.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  38. indiglodoe

    Dear Mr Charles Cass,

    CL does not use Pay Pall, the seller does, and your daughter can trace the seller through Pay Pall to dispute the sale.

    CL users are using CL at their own risk. If you are too stupid to fall for a scam, blame yourself, not the website.

    CL is the same thing as posting an ad in the local paper, the paper is not responsible for the results, CL just happens to be online and free.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  39. ziggypopp

    You puritans preaching about the evils of this site disgust me. You act like this site is to blame for the inherent evil of the human race. Let me make my point. Perhaps the catholic church should be shut down. After all there is a very clear history of priests abusing children. Sunday school should be abolished too. Remember that sweet little girl killed by a Sunday school teacher. Seems to me that by your logic church is evil and should be shut down.
    Get real people and think about the evils perperptrated on society by those like minded good christian folks since the begining of recorded history.
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  40. KBrooks

    Crazy/evil/immoral people have been killing hookers in hotel rooms for centuries. Its not a craigslist problem, its not a new problem, its an old problem.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  41. Tone

    So many of you guys are way off base. Let me give you a quick history lesson into the progression of technology. Every, literally every, new type of technology and in particular communication technology has contributed to the public good and also been used to facilitate violence and the criminal element. Don't believe me, see the invention of ink pen and paper. Want to write a love letter to you wife, a pen and paper is a great idea. Want to get a friend to help you kill your wife's secret lover....a pen and paper is a great idea. Case and point is that it doesn't matter what new technology comes about... people will express human nature through that technology..the full spectrum, not just the rosy parts.

    On a second note, this also gets to the heart of why it is ridiculous to have illegal prostitution in an oversexualized society. Same argument many make with drugs... except, prostitution is a lot less lethal generally speaking. It should be brought out of the darkness, treated like gambling, cigarettes, alcohol and soon to be marijuana. Sex is a human activity that is rooted too deeply to ban. I hope that this unfortunate incident is the wake up call that we need to have an intelligent conversation about regulation as opposed to a knee jerk reaction.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  42. maddawg

    to the first post...

    what's the reason for having users register with a drivers license??

    how stupid is that??

    how many sites do you know that require you to register with a drivers license? oh yea...that's what i thought too....NONE!

    also, why would anyone think it was a good idea to give drivers license information to a web site operator that has nothing to do with driving or licenses????

    WOW...some of the ideas people have are just not thought out at all and tend to show severe ignorance!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  43. Dan

    All of you people who are blaming Craigslist for all of these problems are nuts! They can only do so much to keep the weirdos/scammers away. It's no different than any other webiste, newspaper classified, etc.

    To the guy whose daughter got scammed buying a truck – did she ever meet the people selling it? Or did she buy it online/over the phone and expect it to just show up at her doorstep?

    Common sense is severely lacking in this country.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  44. Mark Smith

    Craigslist is a web site, the idea that they can or should "police" what its users do, even when they have general knowledge of what is going on is silly. Yes many of the women offering (legal) massages are really offering prostitution, but how do you know which is which. The reality of this situation is that this same guy could have picked his victims out of a newpaper, or phone book, or by strolling the "red light district" of his town. The List is doing exactly what it should do, providing a valuable service to the public and cooperating with police whenever asked. The calls to close out the services are prior restraint of free speech, and should not be allowed or desired by any freedom loving American.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  45. Faye

    I posted a stove on Craigslist last week and had a very positive experience. We talked to the buyers and met at a safe location. No problems. Criminals will always find a way to conduct inappropriate behavior whether it's craiglist or something else.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  46. HLH

    YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK!!!!!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  47. Scott

    To "Charles Cass" above. Craigslist does not get involved in transactions between individuals, so your Paypal reference is inaccurate. If your daughter paid someone and did not receive the goods, it is her own fault. She was cammed. It is not Ebay, it is a classified ad service...offered free!

    This is from the Craigslist "avoid scams" link on their site:
    DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
    NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
    FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
    CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
    NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
    AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION

    Maybe reading this would have saved you/her some money.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  48. Woodie

    Craigslist is great.
    To all you "hooker haters"...Why are you going to the Erotic Section? Just to see what's there?

    There are plenty of legit Massage Therapists that advertise on CL... It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH... Sure, prostitution is illegal, but it's not like these people are street walkers.... at least they keep it off the streets and appeal to only those that are looking for it (ie Erotic section).

    If you paid $3700 for a car that you did not see, well, you fell victim to a SCAM. Sorry you are uneducated about the internet. This could have happened anywhere if you are not aware of what's going on in the world.

    If married men want to hook up with hookers and trannies, so be it. Who am I to make "moral" judgments for someone else... Sure, I don't believe is right or safe, but I'm not going to judge someone either.

    I don't think it's the responsiblity of CL to "censor" ads.... People make their own decisions...

    -Woodie

    April 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  49. Missy Hwe Lee

    Craigslist articulates an idealized model of governance, where the users control content in the community, where the users have the power to moderate content.
    You have the power to flag down objectionable content.
    If you use the site, like the site, then contribute to that community to regulate the content you like to see.

    There's a large aspect of trust that goes into each transaction; if while negotiating with the person you're interested in purchasing goods from, you think they're not on the up and up, you need to exercise your judgement in determining whether or not you want to do business with this person. Otherwise, walk away.

    For some of the items posted in these questionable forums, it should be a given that the sellers credibility is sketchy at best.

    If you're gullible enough to do a transaction with PayPal for a big ticket item like a truck, you have no business buying stuff on the internet.

    I think it should be each seller's responsibility to bolster the legitimacy of the site by conducting business fairly, and honestly. Yes the site is about commerce, but it's also about community.

    Caveat emptor.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  50. Whodini

    Mary Smith, it sounds like you speak from experience.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  51. Steve Cos

    You Craigslist bashers are insane. I am totally redoing my yard from items I've found on Craigslist, and most have been free. For the person wanting to blame Craigslist for not delivering the truck....HELLO. I think that if your going to spend that kind of money better arrangements could have and should have been made. Before you continue to bash this sight how is it any different from Myspace, Facebook, and all the other social sights. One more thing. I found a dog on Sunday morning. Turns out he was lost on Saturday and I found a posting by the owner on Craigslist. Needless to say it was a happy ending. Craiglist is a great sight and offers great services. I'm just sick of people bashing it in this "blame someone but me" society

    April 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  52. Melissa

    It is terrible that something like this has happened, but it is not completely the fault of Craigslist. Like Buckmaster had said, there are millions of people using the site and only a couple instances of crime to this nature. Craigslist should not be blamed for this, and people do need to take greater caution in responding to ads, its common sense. As for the erotic ads, that is not necessary and is only asking for illegal activity. Buckmaster avoids the fact that they are hidden all over the site within other ads. They need to take down that section or at least come up with a system of running through the ads and weeding out the erotic ones from the other sections.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  53. Alison

    We live in a time when crime is going to happen with or without a Craigslist ad. If someone is bent on committing a crime they certainly aren't going to be deterred if Craigslist didn't have a category set aside for them to troll for victims. Blaming Craigslist for this crazy guy robbing and murdering a women is ridiculous. You could just as easily argue that all financial advice service ads should be pulled too because how many of those guys ripped off their customers!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  54. John

    Must say I am disappointed with CNN on this one...They are reporting this as if its the first ever CragsList murder case...Go back to October 2008, Savage, Minn. Teen boy posted for a baby-sitter ad and murdered the girl who showed up. Thats CNN for you though, simply to most mis-leading name in news.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  55. Scott

    Why do reporters always feel the need to put the blame (or part of it) on someone other than the perpetrator of the crime? I am suprised Roberts is not asking the NRA the same questions. The killer did use a gun after all, might as well blame the gun too.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  56. Benny

    Hey LAMARD...you do understand that organized religion, under the context of this "God" you want people to find, has been responsible for more historical deaths than Aids, Cancer and automobile accidents combined.

    How about you advocate people stop killing each other without referring us to believe in some magical, omnipotent guy in the sky...

    April 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  57. you idiot

    craigslist is not responsible for the use that other people put it to. and it should never be. just as I am not responsible for you posting your opinion, idiotic as it is, no one can decide if something is "ugly" or not for other people. you being a computer security engineer should have recognized the fact that a text based site such as craigs is the safest for computing it can be. stop trying to hold soome people responssible for what other people do.....grow up!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  58. K

    Craigslist is great!

    April 22, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  59. ryan

    Craigslist is a great site that has helped millions of people around the world. Because some people use it for evil purposes doesn't mean that Craigslist is in any way responsible.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  60. larry Johnson

    I love using Craigslist, i think you should have people register using a driver's licence, still make it free. Seems like it would be safe and secure, it would keep alot of the spam out.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  61. Zach

    Craigslist is the single most unsafe and ugliest site I have ever been to. I am a computer security engineer, so my statement holds some water.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  62. Mary Smith

    Unfortunately the truth of the mattter is that Craigslist is OVERRUN with hookers and spam. BUT even WORSE are the married men on there looking for these girls, spreading disease by hooking up with men and trannies. AND ON TOP OF THAT, the rampant cocaine hook-ups.

    Its really bad.

    April 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  63. Kiah Graham

    If anyone goes to the erotic massage area of craigslist, they will find that these so called "women" are doing far more than massages. They are prostitutes. I am not justifying why this man did/or did not do. Law enforcement has been trying for the longest time to get the erotic massages section removed from Craigslist but time after time they have refused. I think Craigslist should be at faught for contributing as well and remove the online prostitution which is against the law.

    April 22, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  64. David

    I'm really getting tired of Craigslist getting blamed for everything from murder to prostitution.

    This murder happened because of a violent and clearly disturbed individual. He could have just as easily used the phone book to contact this woman instead of Craigslist. If he did, would we be talking about the dangers of the phone book right now? Probably not. These are conduits that have nothing to do with how an individual chooses to behave. I'm guessing that literally millions of "transactions" of one type or another are facilitated by Craigslist. Why is this one defining it as a service?

    April 22, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  65. Charles Cass

    Well, Mr. CEO how do you feel about people on your website not delivering goods purchased on your site. My daughter paid $3700
    for a used pick up truck that was never delivered. I find it strange that you use pay pal to collect but, you use nothing to deliver. I find your website full of crime and I would like to see it shut down or cleaned up, Mr. CEO!!! Just to let you know the FBI is now involved and WE WILL NEVER USE YOUR SITE AGAIN.

    April 22, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  66. Joel

    All the answers given by Buckmaster don't solve the problem.
    Craigslist won't make any changes. They like their 'model'.

    April 22, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  67. Mw_w

    Craigs list should take those erotic add in thier sites it is ridicolous people advertised thier privates parts. I visit craigs list to look for cheaper sales .

    April 22, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  68. LAMARD

    it baffles the hell out of me when white men do the most terrible
    stuff how you guys just sweep it under the table never talking about the killer not even shwoing his face. Can you imagine if the devil was a black man, hell you would know everything about him including how he looks..............Sorry but after looking how the do black men in the news just want it to be fair, but I FORGOT OUR PRESS DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO REPORT FAIRLY,SHAME SHAME.........PLEASE MEN STOP ALL THE KILLING AND FIND GOD............

    April 22, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  69. Robert Markey

    Ads for erotic services appear in almost every category on Craigslist personals ads. Most of the personals ads are spam, redirecting Craigslist users to other adult-oriented web sites. Craigslist has abolutely no control over this type of activity, and doesn't appear to care to try to eliminate it.

    April 22, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  70. Jen K

    Craigslist often mouths that they are willing to help and try to keep criminal activities off of craigslist. However, they still allow bestiality ads, and ignore the emails of people trying to get them removed. They allow tons of things that contravene their own TOU: they need a far better enforcement system.

    April 22, 2009 at 11:40 am |