In response to the NY Times article, a few webloggers and tweeters have started a small campaign to boycott Craigslist. It is an understandable reaction to the outrage many people felt when they learned how traffickers are using Craigslist. But I think rather than hurl insults and boycotting the site, we could start with a reasonable dialog as if we are friends.
At the bottom of this post you’ll find a link to an interview that Charlie Rose did with Craig Newmark. Pretty much a love fest, you can tell right away that these two men have formed a mutual admiration society.
But the interview gives some very important insights into the actual Craig of Craigslist and what makes him tick. Those of you who endeavor to convince him to make changes to the Craigslist Adult Services, might want to take notes.
The interview is a few years old, and there is chitchat about how Craigslist impacts media and fights spam. You’ll hear plenty of insight into Craig’s passion for accountable politicians, journalistic fact checking, and public diplomacy.
Truly…It’s all good.
In fact, it is so cool, that one may almost overlook Craig’s pride in his luxury of a total lack of concern over “this profit margin thing”.
And that is where I want you all to pay attention.
Craig doesn’t pay attention to how much money the company is making.
He is proud…if not gleeful to remind us that Craigslist does not owe anything or answer to investors or venture capitalists or advertisers.
In Craig’s own words:
”We get to dictate what we do based on our own values”
Which begs the question,
“Craig, what are your core values?”
And this is what he says:
“Treating people like we want to be treated. That is our core value set.
We listen, we get suggestions from people. We try to act on them.
And then we listen some more.”
At the end of the interview, Charlie Rose asks,
“What’s the most important way that you believe you’re making a difference?”
To which Craig responds:
“Hard to say. Maybe the company is in some sense just a good example of giving people a break. And again, treating people the way you want to be treated.”
So here I am, again. Asking you Craig.
How does the role Craigslist plays to help and enable the trafficking of women and children sit with you? How does it mesh with your core values?
Can you just allow something that bears your name to be cited as “the biggest online hub for selling women against their will” ?
And Craig, even If you are as you claim, not smart enough or energetic enough, you still recognize that tendency you have to save the world. Maybe we could channel that effort toward eradicating human trafficking on Craigslist?
You say you want to help the people who are doing the heavy lifting.
Fighting the sale of children for sexual exploitation is about as heavy as it gets.
We need your help with the lifting on this one.