Would a ratings system improve Craigslist?

With the online classifieds site coming under increased scrutiny after the arrest of the alleged "Craigslist killer," maybe ratings would help guide people through the maze?

Buses aren't safe. Night clubs aren't safe. Neither is Craigslist.

Every time we put ourselves into any kind of public arena, there will always be risks.

Some would see it as unfortunate that Craigslist is linked with any felony that might happen through the medium of its pages, such as the latest case of the alleged Craigslist killer in Boston , the third murder allegedly linked to the site.

But the fact is that Craigslist is such an open marketplace that some are questioning whether the site has enough security measures in place.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says Craigslist does help in the pursuit of criminals. But she also told the Boston Globe that the site was a good place for "pimps to connect with young girls, runaways."

She continued: "I can't say they haven't been helpful. On the other hand, they are the enablers."

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. CC Edrugsearch.com/Flickr

It is unsurprising that she then suggested that it may be time for Craigslist to be subjected to more stringent scrutiny.

One Web developer, Jessica Brook of St. Louis, thought a step forward was to institute a Craigslist ratings system.

She created the site Craigguard.com to give Craigslist users a forum where they could report and rate their experiences on the site.

Craigguard is clearly in its infancy, as I just tried to type "San Francisco" into the location finder and the search came up with no vendor matches.

However, it may at least be a start in helping the millions of users be a little more wary of some lesser souls who may be on the site.

A ratings system is not going to prevent a murder. But it seems clear that Craigslist will come under increasing pressure to further address security issues.

Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Ill., who is suing Craigslist , put it bluntly: "It's abundantly clear what's going on on Craigslist and what's being advertised. All I'm asking them to do is either monitor it appropriately or stop it, and they have no interest in doing either."

 

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