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  • Geebo 9:25 am on June 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , classifieds, donations   

    Why not choose charity when you can’t sell? 

    Why not choose charity when you can't sell?

    We often use classifieds sites like Geebo to not only make some money for ourselves but to also try to get rid of some of the clutter around our homes. However, what do you do when you have some items that you just can’t seem to sell? You always have the option of donating those items to charity.

    Money Talks News, by way of WTOL, has a great article on what charities could use what items. For example, building materials can be used by Habitats for Humanity. Mattresses in decent condition can be used by homeless shelters. Worn linens can be donated to local animal shelters to use as bedding for their animals that are up for adoption. Even older cell phones which are generally hard to sell can be donated to domestic abuse shelters so victims can contact their loved ones and have a lifeline to the outside world. The opportunities for donation are almost endless.

    Let’s not forget our local neighbors either. Often times there are people in need in your own community who may be in need of help who are too proud or too embarrassed to ask for help. There are many community driven websites that help you keep in touch with your local community on a personal basis and some of those people could use your donations. Also, check your nearby churches. While you may not be the religious type, many churches often have outreach programs for the needy that could use some of your donated items. Even if you’re only motivation is money, many donations to charity are often tax-deductible. However, when donating, make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity as there are many scammers out there who are looking to prey upon the generous and kind-hearted. Even in charity, you should always do your research.

    Just the donation of something you might consider junk given to the right person or organization can mean the difference in the world to somebody who’s in need.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bees, , classifieds,   

    Camper full of bees 

    Camper full of bees

    This past Friday, we posted about scams involving campers that usually involve trying to steal your money. However, a family in Texas fell prey to an entirely unheard of scam that also involved a camper. The family was desperate to find a housing solution and purchased a pair of campers to live in at an RV park. They found the campers on a less than reputable classifieds site; I’m sure you could guess which one. The seller told them all the electrical work was new and the plumbing was new, but the family couldn’t check that out since the campers weren’t hooked up to anything. They took the seller at his word. When they got the trailers back to the RV park it turned out the water didn’t work at all. That was after they discovered the beehive that filled the trailer with bees overnight.

    Here is a dramatic reenactment of the discovery.

    All joking aside, after the campers were sold to them, the family found themselves with little recourse. The website they used said they wouldn’t intervene since the ad had been deleted. The seller is said to have stopped taking phone calls from the family.

    When inspecting a vehicle or camper from classifieds sites, don’t take the seller’s word at face value. If they say to trust them, you shouldn’t. It sounds very pessimistic, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in today. On unmoderated classifieds sites, there are tons of con artists looking to prey on desperate people who need something that lives may depend on. Also, if you find yourself on the raw end of a deal like this, you should not only contact local law enforcement to see what can be done (use the non-emergency number), but you can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , classifieds,   

    Beware the camper scam this summer 

    Beware the camper scam this summer

    During the summer months, a lot families like to go camping and to do that, a number of families will look online to buy a camper they can tow behind their car or truck. Online fraudsters are acutely aware of this fact and will use their usual tricks of the trade to try to scam you out of thousands of dollars.

    For example a man in Colorado was planning just such a trip and went to the classifieds site most often connected with these scams. He kept making inquiries into various campers that were supposedly for sale and he kept running into similar stories over and over again. The sellers were either claiming they were deployed military personnel, or were getting ready to deploy, or they were getting rid of the camper cheap after the death of a loved one. In every case the seller was looking to get rid of the camper quickly and at a cheaper than normal price. Some sellers even asked him to wire money in order to put a deposit on a camper. This scam is not just limited to the Colorado area and has been going on for some time as this video from two years ago will attest.

    Thankfully, this man was able to recognize the signs of an online scam. In this case the signs were the claims of military deployment, convoluted stories in order to evoke an emotional response, and the wiring of funds. These are scams that have been used since almost the dawn of online retail that you should always look out for. As we and many others always say, trust your instincts. Always walk away from a deal if it doesn’t feel right to you. If you do that, the worst thing that will happen is you get to keep your money. Conversely, if you do fall for these scams, you could find yourself out of money with nothing to show for it.

     
  • Greg Collier 2:43 pm on March 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: classifieds, Cornell University, , , , University of Maryland   

    Why Does Craigslist Make It Easy for Scammers to Find Victims? 

    Scams have long been – and probably always be – a part of our lives. From the smooth-talking snake oil salesmen of yesteryear to the Bernie Madoff schemes of a new generation, this criminal element has long preyed on the naive, the trusting types who buy into bargains that sound too good to be true because they are.

    Over the years, scammers have had to be quick on their feet, ready to run from a spurned customer looking for revenge or to skip town ahead of a sheriff with an arrest warrant. Today, the anonymity of the Internet allows scammers to not only avoid personal contact but also cast a wider net to a greater pool of victims under the guise of many different personas.

    It’s no surprise that thousands of those ads appear on craigslist. And it should also come as no surprise that craigslist does a poor job of identifying and removing those ads in a timely manner, leaving the door open for even more victims hours after ads are flagged.

    That’s according to a study jointly conducted at University of Maryland, New York University and Cornell University that closely examined the rental listings in 20 cities over a 141-day period to identify scams. In all, the researchers put together a series of formulas that was able to detect and identify about 29,000 scam listings, many of which followed patterns that made identifying them that much easier.

    That’s both good news and bad news. It’s good news because the researchers were able, in a short period of time, to produce a solution that could rid craigslist of many of these ads, saving some of its visitors from being exposed to them. The bad news is that a study of craigslist’s filtering and flagging systems for removing the ads was determined to be ineffective, with less than half of the ads identified by the research team actually being removed by craigslist during the test period.

    In a 18-page report, the research team explains that, while craigslist filtering system for taking down scam ads is largely inefficient, there are other ways that the site could take down and deter the scammers, including government fines for deceptive advertising or working with the credit card companies to stop them from collecting funds. Without the ability to collect money from unsuspecting victims, the scam itself is no longer worth the effort.

    But counting on craigslist to do the right thing, or to invest any real time or energy into making the site safer, is probably a long shot.

    At Geebo, we do our best to be proactive against scams, largely by partnering with many other sites so that we only post legitimate ads from known sources, whether home listings or cars for sale. Likewise, I have devoted a page on geebo.com to tips on how to avoid being a victim of a scam.

    At the end of the day, there will always be scammers and there will always be the types who fall for the scams, possibly because they’re naive or simply too trusting. One of the most important tips I provide my visitors is to follow their gut instincts – even if it means passing up a great deal or the perfect home. Your instinct will tell you that wiring thousands of dollars to a landlord who’s currently out of the country is probably a bad idea. Likewise, jumping through hoops to get an inside peek at an apartment should be a red flag.

    Neither I, nor craigslist, can offer a 100 percent guarantee that an ad isn’t a scam. Those types of criminals are creative and are always finding ways to get one over. But we can do our parts to make it harder for scammers to infiltrate our sites.

    Now that a team of university researchers have identified how to do that, we’ll see if craigslist takes action to make its site safer.

     
  • Greg Collier 8:51 am on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , classifieds, , , , , partnerships, ruling, Scraping   

    Site scraping may be bad business, but courts say it’s legal 

    The purpose of a classified ad is to reach the largest audience possible, casting the largest net, if you will. After all, whether you’re selling a car, renting a home or advertising a service for hire, the goal of the classified ad is to make sure that a large number of people see that ad

    So, why would anyone want to hinder the ability to reach the largest audience? Through a lawsuit, that’s exactly what craigslist was trying to do by arguing that it held copyright on the user-posted ads that appear on its sites. But, earlier this month, a judge ruled against the large classified site, noting that the site itself – craigslist, in this case – does not hold copyright over an ad unless it’s granted exclusive rights to it.

    Call it a victory for the “scrapers” in that the courts have defended the ability to take an ad from one site and repurpose it on another. As a site owner, I’m definitely not advocating the idea that a new site could steal ads from Geebo and make a profit from it. But I also understand the importance of large net.

    By law, scraping may be allowed – but I think of it as the lazy approach. At Geebo, we take pride in our syndication efforts. We create solid business relationships with other sites to maximize the exposure for the people who have something to advertise. Geebo has relationships with real estate sites and car buying sites, for example, to not only put Geebo’s ads into bigger nets but also to put other ads in front of Geebo visitors.

    For us, syndicating content is good business. We’re open and upfront about it, making sure our customers know what we’re doing and why. To us, scraping content is not a good business practice, despite the widespread practice. It’s a free ride on the sweat of someone else’s work. Still, the court was right in noting that the ad itself does not belong to the site publisher but instead to the user.

    We know that publishers are constantly looking to harvest Geebo’s content. But instead of blocking them, we reach out directly and try to establish a bona fide partnership that includes cost-per-click/lead pricing, something that’s fair to both parties.

    Bottom line: The content is out there for the taking. But site publishers can either attempt to block the practice of scraping the way craigslist did or they can embrace it as a new business opportunity, the way Geebo has.

    The courts have spoken, leaving the ball back in our courts so that we can embrace the best business practices. The goal is to make sure the user – whether someone looking to buy or sell – has the best experience.

    That’s good business.

     
  • Greg Collier 1:31 am on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: classifieds, Economy, , , Milestone, Site traffic   

    Geebo reaches site traffic milestone as focus on job listings attracts visitors 

    When you run your own business and the economy turns sour, there are tough decisions that you sometimes have to make. Some owners look at ways to scale back their operations. Others look for opportunity to expand.

    And still others – like myself – look for ways to adjust.

    Over at Geebo, we understand the diversity of a site that hosts classified ads. Some people are looking for a more economical car while others may be in search of a roommate. What we noticed was an uptick in searches for jobs – and immediately shifted our own resources to focus on job seekers.

    I identified the most visited area of the site and focused all of my efforts in that one section. Direct employers, recruiters, employment specific advertising agencies and stand-alone jobs boards are always looking for new outlets to distribute their jobs and, with that growth in job volume, the eyeballs to those listings followed.

    It appears that shift in strategy was a good call. In August, Geebo reached a site traffic milestone of more than 1 million monthly unique visitors. That’s a 180 percent increase over the same month a year earlier and enough to land Geebo in the second-place spot for most-visited classifieds site, excluding craigslist, according to market research firm compete.com.

    And, as the projections for economic conditions in the coming months appear to be brighter, Geebo is well-positioned to ride the wave. Earlier this month, a CareerBuilder survey found that 26 percent of employers have plans to add permanent full-time employees in the fourth quarter, an increase of five percentage points from 2011 and closely mirroring pre-recession estimates of 27 percent.

    Through various marketing initiatives, Geebo has been working to ensure that job seekers are kept informed of new vacancies in the job market the moment new listings are posted to Geebo. Likewise, we’ve identified new job distribution partners and implemented efforts around Search Engine Optimization in an effort to drive job seekers to Geebo.

    Sometimes, in business, it’s not just about understanding the challenges that are ahead but how to adapt and adjust in a way that allows you to turn those challenges into opportunities.

     
    • Jessica Johnson 4:50 pm on December 14, 2012 Permalink

      Congrats Greg; quite an achievement–and done while maintaing an ethical business standard of not listing sex-related ads, which are often used in the trafficking of children. You and your staff should be very proud!

  • Greg Collier 4:46 pm on May 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , classifieds, , , , OLX, online prostitution, PennySaver, Recycler   

    Responsible Classifieds Sites: Yes, We Exist 

    There’s an old expression about the squeaky wheel being the one that gets the oil. It’s an an analogy that’s widely used in different scenarios – the school officials who pay attention to the trouble-maker but give no recognition to kids who pay attention in class or the boss who deals with the complainer in the office but takes little notice of the employee who meets all of his deadlines.

    In recent months, the attention on the online classifieds news business has focused pretty much on craigslist and backpage – and not in a good way. Mind you, I’m not complaining – and I’m guilty of also focusing on them – because it puts pressure on these sites to recognize the harm that they’re inflicting on society simply because they seem to turn a blind eye to human trafficking, child prostitution and other morally-objectionable crimes that flourish on their sites.

    I’ve spoken out on this time and time again and I’ve made no secret of how I feel about these sites. But what I – and the news media – have failed to do in our awareness-raising reports is to shed some light on those in the online classifieds business who are providing safe online marketplaces where prostitution – disguised as “personals” ads – are simply not allowed. Much like Geebo, sites such as recycler, pennysaverusa and olx.com, which followed Geebo’s lead and also dropped personals ads, have operated in a responsible manner. Though these sites are competitors to Geebo, I also like to think of them as allies in the fight to clean up online marketplaces and provide safe forums for people to advertise everything from job listings and car ads to real estate listings and garage sale items.

    It’s sad that the face of classifieds has taken such a dark turn. There was a day, back when newspapers dominated the industry, that these sorts of taboo activities that have become the mainstream were isolated to red-light publications and neighborhoods. Sure. it was a problem back then, too, but it was isolated. We could warn our children to stay out of those neighborhoods and away from those elements. Law enforcement officials were able to monitor the areas and enforce the laws when it was so warranted.

    Today, those sites have put these criminal activities into the mainstream, in a place where our children can easily access bad people with bad intentions without any supervision. Despite what the operators of these sites claim, their efforts to monitor are laughable.

    We should all take a lesson from the pioneer of classifieds ads – the newspapers. Mainstream family-oriented newspapers, which provided a forum for news and community on their pages, never would have allowed such ads on their pages. They were the gatekeepers that set the rules and standards for what was appropriate and what wasn’t. As an operator of an online classifieds site, I believe in following in their footsteps when it comes to serving as that gatekeeper for my own site.

    I continue to be both amazed and saddened that a handful of sites can disregard that gatekeeper role and let criminals roam freely on their sites to seek out victims. At the same time, I am proud to be part of another group of sites that have chosen to take the higher road and provide safe marketplaces.

    Today, I applaud them and encourage people to patronize them. Let them know that you appreciate what their efforts and responsible business practices.

     
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