Fixing Craigslist: A Study in Micropayment

Craigslist is an environment where people can post for free - classified ads, personals, or participate in forums (my fave).

And as of this week, its also a place where the public perception is now centering on whether or not Craigslist is going to be a place where murderers hang out so they can find a way to come to your door and kill you in your sleep.

But the part of of Craigslist that is broken has nothing to do with whether or not its a good place to meet people - the personals ad side of CL is and always will be a place where people should be careful - just as people should be careful meeting others in real life. And for all the press CL has been getting about this killer up north (damn yankee) that murdered a fairly attractive young lady who was posting an add for 'full body service massage'.. the truth is, its a fairly safe place to hang out.

But for the wrong reasons. Craigslist personals are being spammed to the deep nines. Almost all of the personals ads there, now, are posted by template . If you look at a personals ad, then you go over to another city - and check the same ad, you will find they're identical. Creating user IDs by script, and then posting four or five personals ads at a time - with ambiguous language such as "I love football, but I also love the indoors. Outgoing, but love to be home alone. " - single users, which I promise you are being paid by the online dating companies - wash out nearly all of the ads there.

To fix Craigslist, first, just as in a Speakeasy, people will need to be identified in some way. The easiest way to identify someone , in a socially open setting - is by their ideas. How they think. With constant spam masquerading as personal communication, rapport is difficult. A woman needs a chance to let her intution work up front - she screens people far ahead of actually talking to them or meeting them - she uses all kinds of cues that are , no thanks to the spammers, removed from CL.

And how do we do this? Simple. Micropayment.

The Micropayment model that I derived a few weeks ago, would completely repair the issues that CL has, and make it a safer, and more enjoyable place. Here's how it works. First, a micropayment is a very small credit or debit to a caching account you will maintain on the net somewhere, like, a paypal account. You get paid ten cents, or you pay ten cents. Let there be a range of payment from 3 cents all the way up to 25 cents. But think of 1.00 as a really serious charge. Ok, so thats the thing - its not exactly like pocket change - you have to think of micropayment as a new form of currency that can add up if you surf. But it caches your funds so that the bank transactions to transfer it all into your account are meaningful.

Then, CL simply changes the posting model to require micropayments from anyone posting a message in the forum. That will cut down on the posting-side spam and let people read more clearly whats going on. It will also change what happened up north, because that was an ad that she paid 5.00 to post.

Because what you do next, is , set up a link system where any reply - for which a valid or non-anonymous email address - is also sought, is paid for by the post writer. So if I write a message, a personals ad, for ex. I micropay to post, and then I get responses that are anonymized. But the anonymity of that reply is the only thing that is maintained by micropay. If I want to get a real email address from the reply - I micropay again. Readers and responders pay nothing. At the moment they're all posting their personal email acct. into the reply from a completely anonymous post writer, so the email and spam harvesters are sending themselves into the forums, and ad sections - they go black.

Now. Here's the catch. And this is the part that really helps - On a micropay model where the anonymity of the respondant is revealed - CL also lets the post writer - when they choose to reveal that mail - check and review that respondants message history and response history.

A spammer won't care what you're actually writing back to them. They don't care what you wrote before, or what ideas you're talking about. They scan for keywords. They simply want your email address, or , they are farming for porno in your response (amateur porn sites regularly pictures in this manner), or otherwise ignoring your personal ideas. However, a young girl who might be wanting companionship would read the trail of electrons this person made with that annoying feminine interest and intution has been used against us men for years.

Speaking of weaponization the ads on the top of my blog are back! Rock on.! Anyone who clicks on these babies will win a free hyperlink at absolutely no charge. Try it!! I get micropayment off the click. Tell your friends. Maybe not your dog. He drools on the keyboard. Tell your enemies..

In fact, just hit this blog to see how someone can try not to write about Betty Page and what google ad you'll get as a result.