Craigslist (CL) has challenged a study that termed the classifieds site as “a cesspool of crime”.

The study undertaken by consultant AIM Group for Oodle.com, CL's rival classified website, said Craigslist has been linked with 330 crimes, 12 murders and 105 robberies or assaults in the United States last year due to anonymous interactions on the site.

The AIM report concludes that the anonymity on Craigslist is exploited by criminals across the country to rob, assault or even kill consumers as they try to buy or sell things like cars, apartments and furniture. AIM study warns users that “the old rules of ‘meeting in public’ and ‘knowing whom you’re dealing with’ no longer apply.”

Classified listings scraper/aggregator and CL wannabe Oodle has paid AIM Group to falsely portray craigslist as fraught with criminal activity, CL chief executive Jim Buckmaster wrote in a blog post in response to the study.

CL with more than 20 billion views per month has over 50 million users in the United States alone.

If you strip away the false (and defamatory) paid-for editorial however, and look at the numbers AIM uses, a very different story emerges, Buckmaster adds.

AIM group “documents” 330 crimes that it says occurred in connection with use of CL in the US over a 12 month period. Sounds scary until you compare that number to the 570 million classified ads posted by 100 million or more US craigslist users during that same time span, generating literally BILLIONS of human interactions, many involving face-to-face meetings between users who do not know one another, Buckmaster says.

AIM Group facetiously writes 'we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados.'

THOUSANDS??? Shame on you AIM Group (and Oodle). You know better. Try HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS or BILLIONS of safe transactions.

In his blog post, Buckmaster mentioned about a report from San Francisco (SF) Chronicle that said Craigslist is roughly 11,000 times safer than the city of Oakland. The point the SF report is making is not the dangerousness of any given city, but rather the exceptional safety of craigslist, Buckmaster says.

Crime is exceedingly rare on craigslist in part because criminals know that the electronic trail they leave there helps ensure their capture, and CL is unusually helpful and cooperative with law enforcement, Buckmaster says. The risk is not zero of course, and common sense precautions are in order when using craigslist, just as you would do at other venues or offline.

Oodle is a classified ad scraper or aggregator, meaning it acquires its listings by scraping them or aggregating them from other sites. Buckmaster says CL had to send Oodle a cease-and-desist notice when they started scraping listing from craigslist in 2005.

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. Spot checking of categories such as furniture, roommates, collectibles, baby/kid stuff, and bicycles for January showed craigslist having roughly 1000x times Oodle’s listings (and CL listings are posted by its users, not scraped from other sites), Buckmaster says.

Such that if so much as ONE (1) crime was connected with an Oodle listing over the past 12 months, the crime rate for Oodle would exceed by almost two times the crime rate that AIM Group claims for CL.

Not content with defaming craigslist, AIM/Oodle recklessly misadvises that “the old rules — “meet in public;” “always tell someone where you’re going;” “know who you’re dealing with” - often don’t work on Craigslist.” Buckmaster says. This wildly false and irresponsible guidance is reinforced in a related press release, which says that “the old rules of ‘meeting in public’ and ‘knowing whom you’re dealing with’ no longer apply.”