According to Epicenter at Wired.com , RIP international Craigslist adult services listings. Looks like the weird and colorful mw4t, ww4m and wm4w lists are still around. Half-measures indeed?
Internet sites should do a lot more to keep women and children safe from predators, but the reality is that there are 100 other sites ready to step in and take over from CL, and there is little that can be done to stop it.
It’s not something that I talk about publicly very often, but I have had many conversations with men and women who have been taken advantage of, assaulted, raped and even worse due to their actions online and off. From top-10 dating sites to travel sites, seemingly-innocent chat rooms and everything in between. The sad truth is that there are people out there ready to take advantage of even the most safety-minded individuals.
This is why some form of background checks and ID verification is a good idea in theory, not just on dating sites but Facebook and other social sites as well. Problem is, absolutely nothing is foolproof and anyone who tells you different is simply wrong. Its true that Facebook and Myspace have gone to certain lengths to remove a few thousand of the *really bad* people, but thats barely scratching the surface.
Online safety is a combination of personal as well as website’s responsibility.
I’ve heard this argument over and over again when it comes to making online dating safer: “We’d love to help but we just can’t take the chance that making our members safer would affect our bottom line. We have investors and shareholders to answer to.”
It pains me to see reasonable people in the dating industry that I otherwise respect suddenly become mute and unresponsive when it comes to the safety of their members when the discussion invariably turns to potential loss of revenue and site traffic.
Sites like Match and many others have report/flag user buttons and a room full of customer service reps and supporting technology to weed out undesirables, but the majority of dating sites simply don’t have the resources to offer comprehensive safety measures.
I’d like to see better trust, identity verification and reputation systems on social networks and dating sites (and LinkedIn for that matter), although I’m not expecting and major gains in this department until both parties better understand the long-term benefits of verifying and keeping their members safer.