Published February 26, 2011
Warning: Craigslist can harm you.
That's according to Craigslist rival Oodle, which launched an unusual attack on its rival portraying it as "a cesspool of crime."
In a hit job, Oodle.com circulated a study this week linking Craigslist activity to 330 crimes, including 12 murders and 105 robberies or assaults during a 12-month period.
Oodle commissioned research firm AIM Group to pore over media reports and find out when Craigslist was fingered in criminal activity.
However, the report in many ways backfired on Oodle, with blogs and online commenters criticizing the company for its tactics.
Craigslist was riled up enough to respond to its much smaller rival, saying it has 550 times the amount of page views as Oodle and 1,000 times the number of listings.
"AIM omits to mention Craigslist is likely also safer than Oodle in terms of crime rate, or incidence of crime, when you compare the usage between the two sites," Craigslist posted on its blog.
Oodle CEO Craig Donato defended the report yesterday, saying it was not meant to be scientific. Rather, it merely looked at news reports from the last year that covered crimes linked to Craigslist.
"We were debating back and forth whether it was an appropriate thing to release [the report]," Donato said. "It wasn't something we necessarily jumped to do."
However, he said, it was right to inform the public about the safety issues involved with "anonymous online interactions."
The report highlights a key difference between the two sites: Oodle requires users to divulge their Facebook accounts.
"I'm not claiming it's impossible for those sorts of things to happen on our site, but we've had no crimes related to physical harm," Donato said. "We have tracked fraudulent activities, but no murder, mugging or rape."