Competitors Using Software To Mark Each Other's Craigslist Postings As Spam

from the now-that's-impressive dept

One sign of a successful software company is when an ecosystem starts to build around it. We've seen this with companies like Microsoft, eBay and Google of course. And, while there definitely have been some products built on top of Craigslist, I hadn't realized it had gone so far as to include software that will try to trick Craigslist into deleting a post as spam. As you may know, Craigslist has a little link on each post that allows any reader to "flag as spam." There's an automated system that takes note of these clicks, and if enough such clicks come from enough unique users, the post is automatically pulled off the site. For the most part, this system is both effective and efficient. But, according to the linked article above, there's software out there that will let you "flag as spam" any post you want, sending multiple clicks pretending to come from unique users. It's being used by some companies to maliciously pull down perfectly legitimate posts from competitors. Craigslist says it's constantly tweaking its systems to avoid this kind of thing, but why not have a Wikipedia-style setup, where "deleted" spam posts can be reviewed by folks who can "undelete" the not-spam ones? It can use the same basic system, where if enough people vote that a "spam" post is legit, it goes back online. Or if it's really an issue, then certain posts that get jerked back and forth could finally be "locked" by an admin based on their discretion.

Filed Under: ecosystem, spam
Companies: craigslist

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  1. identicon
    Craigs defender, 6 May 2008 @ 8:38am

    Perception is part of the problem. Craigslist TOS do NOT allow commercial services or businesses to post in the categories save a very few exceptions. Craigslist is not meant for businesses, it is meant for individuals as spelled out in the TOS. Anything business oriented posted there is spamming if not placed in the SERVICES section unless for a very few exceptions. (car dealers and some Craigslist areas like NY apartments which must be paid for to post) Another thing is that the TOS prohibit selling for third parties, ie...Realtors and consignment brokers. Lastly, the TOS prohibit page graphics which link to the dealers site such as many Realtors use. These are all spam and need to be eliminated as Craigslist becomes to unwieldy to use. I support the individual user concept and do my best to flag dealer ads as spam. I do go to an extreme to assure that it is indeed a business by googling the phone number or name of the person listed but most are so blatant to list the business name. If there is a question, I leave it alone. The magnitude of the dealer/business ads is making Craigslist unusable and everyone should do their part to help out. Yes, there are some Aholes flagging willy nilly but one can find them in everyday life everywhere but if you are a business, READ THE TOS, you aren't allowed so, piss off.

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