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  • Geebo 7:59 am on April 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety   

    Bashing the competition 

    Bashing the competition

    Recently, an article from MakeUseOf was brought to our attention. The article, written by Saikat Basu, was another one of these ‘top alternatives to craigslist’ and Geebo was listed as one of the choices. Mr. Basu says some very complimentary things about Geebo including referring to Geebo as an industry veteran and that Geebo has a more personal atmosphere than the competition. On that we can agree, however, Mr. Basu also says a couple of things that we feel the need to take issue with.

    The first item is that Mr. Basu states that the Geebo blog spends a lot of time bashing our competition for their sketchy practices. That is only half-true. We admit, that we do criticize some of our competition as often they are hypocritical in defense of their platforms. We’ve also criticized companies outside of our industry if we feel that they are misleading the public or violating the public’s trust. Conversely, we’ve also applauded companies and even competitors that we felt have been deserving of our praise.

    The second item we’d like to address is the statement by Mr. Basu where he claims that Geebo is no safer than any other online classifieds site. We’d like to remind not only Mr. Basu but our readers and customers that we manually review each and every listing that is posted to Geebo. That in itself cuts down on a multitude of scams and illegal activity that most other platforms are plagued by. Geebo has never taken listings for ads that can be construed as being for prostitution and even eliminated our personals section for fear of it being used for human trafficking. We’re constantly rejecting listings for illicit drugs. We even stopped accepting listings for pets to the potential of abuse from puppy mills and other instance of animal cruelty. We stopped accepting ads for firearms even though no firearms-related crimes have ever been linked to Geebo. Most recently, we started monitoring responses to ad owners through the Geebo platform in order to weed out overseas scammers. Lastly, in the almost two decades that Geebo has been in business, there has never been a reported incident of robbery, rape, assault, fraud, or murder linked to Geebo. Unfortunately, not many of our competitors take the same care for their customers as we do ours.

    While we appreciate the kind words Mr. Basu has had for us, we’d like to invite not only Mr. Basu but the users of other platforms to get to know Geebo a little better and see how proud we are of our safety records and initiatives.

  • Geebo 11:03 am on February 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Safety   

    Geebo introduces new feature to better protect consumers 

    Geebo introduces new feature to better protect consumers

    Since the beginning, Geebo has always had user safety in mind. Not just personal safety but financial and emotional safety as well. Many of the safety choices made by Geebo have gone against what many would consider industry standards. However, we’ve always stood by those choices and have challenged other online marketplaces to do the same. For example, other classifieds sites rely on users to flag potentially fraudulent ads. This has led to abuses of the flagging system on other sites. Instead, Geebo employs a trained staff to moderate each ad for potentially fraudulent or illegal activity and the innovation doesn’t stop there.

    In 2010, Geebo took a stand against sites like Craigslist and Backpage by engaging in an anti-human trafficking campaign designed to bring awareness to the plight of victims trafficked through Geebo’s competitors. In that same year, Geebo closed its personal ads section due to the amount of trafficking that took place in the personals section of other sites. Even though there were no reported incidents about Geebo’s personals Geebo felt the removal of the section was necessary to further ensure user safety.

    In 2011, Geebo CEO Greg Collier wrote an open letter to other online classifieds asking them to take user safety more seriously by implementing such measures as moderating ads and removing adult-oriented ads. Many of those challenges were largely unheeded by other classifieds sites until media and government pressure forced them to remove their adult sections and their other ads are still largely unmoderated.

    In January 2013, Geebo made the decision to stop accepting ads for pets. In a company blog post, CEO Greg Collier noted puppy mills that sell abused or sick animals commonly use online classifieds.

    In May 2015, Geebo partnered with the AIM Group’s SafeTrade Station initiative in order to provide a list of safe trading spots at police stations across the country. Each Geebo ad contains a link to the SafeTrade Stations website so users can find a safe location to make their transactions.

    In 2016, in response to the Orlando nightclub shooting and other mass shootings, Geebo stopped accepting ads for firearms even though no firearms-related crimes were ever linked to Geebo.

    That brings us to Geebo’s latest innovation for user safety. Since late 2018, Geebo staff have been monitoring the responses to ads made through the Geebo platform. By doing this we can determine if the responses are coming from overseas which largely indicates that the ad’s respondent is more than likely a scammer. It also allows us to detect potential fraud from inside the country since our staff is trained in the detection of the most commonly used scams. We believe this proactive stance against scammers will go a long way in protecting the safety of our customers. While other sites and apps in our industry may see this as going above and beyond the call of duty we believe it’s the most logical and needed step in consumer protection.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Safety,   

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo 

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo

    Just because we haven’t talked about them in a while doesn’t mean that marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo have gotten any safer. Just within the last 24 hours, there has been a spate of stories that show safety is not guaranteed when using these relatively new apps.

    On Long Island, police recently arrested two men who were arrested for allegedly using LetGo to either rob or swindle their victims. The pair is believed to have used the app at least five times to rob their victims. This particular pair would have their victims meet them in front of a certain housing development because it was reportedly an easy way for the suspects to escape.

    In Richmond, Virginia, a man was recently arrested for allegedly robbing a man of $1000 at gunpoint. The victim thought he would be buying a car from the suspect that he saw on LetGo. The suspect and the victim met at a public transportation parking lot where the suspect said that the car ‘for sale’ was on its way. Instead, the suspect is said to have robbed the man at gunpoint. Luckily, police were nearby and were able to apprehend the suspect.

    Police in Las Vegas arrested a man that they coined ‘the blue bucket bandit’. They named him that because he would stand on top of a blue bucket in order to allegedly steal home security cameras from local residences. The man was arrested after he was spotted trying to sell the stolen equipment on OfferUp. If you unknowingly buy stolen merchandise you probably won’t be charged with a crime but the items will be returned to their rightful owner. Your only course of restitution is to try to get the money back from the thief at which point there’s a better chance you’ll never see the money again.

    Lastly, our most harrowing story comes from Cleveland, Ohio where a woman went to an OfferUp meet up to buy a TV and took her 1-year-old child with her. The man purporting to sell the TV instead robbed the woman at gunpoint and threatened her child if she did not hand over the money. the victim, in this case, met the alleged perpetrator on a public street.

    What most of these stories have in common is that the victims did not take the necessary precautions when meeting someone from these apps. While these apps may have a slicker design than a site like craigslist, that doesn’t make them any safer. While LetGo and OfferUp have better safety precautions than craigslist unless you’re meeting someone at your local police station, you are playing a dangerous game. As we’ve stated many times before, the old rules of just meeting someone in a public and well-lit place with lots of people around don’t work anymore. People using these apps have been killed in broad daylight over the most trivial of items. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Geebo goes one step further than most other platforms by trying to better protect our users by moderating each ad for such things as scams, stolen goods, and potential setups. We also provide a link in every ad to the SafeTrade Station program.

    We’d rather make an honest living without risking the safety of our userbase.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on November 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety, ,   

    Geebo would like you to stay safe for Thanksgiving 

    Geebo would like you to stay safe for Thanksgiving

    With a number of people looking to get an early headstart on Thanksgiving traveling we thought it would be best if we published our annual Thanksgiving safety warnings today. As most of you probably know, Thanksgiving week is one of the most dangerous holidays to travel on. The amount of alcohol-related accidents during Thanksgiving week statistically rivals that of New Year’s Eve and is only somewhat behind 4th of July weekend. With a record number of people expected to travel this weekend, those statistics may see an increase this year. Please be mindful of your consumption and if there’s any doubt in your mind whether or not you should drive please call a friend, relative or rideshare service for a lift.

    Food safety is also a concern as improperly cooked turkey has the potential to send someone to the emergency room for food poisoning. Some tips include thawing your turkey out in your refrigerator in enough time for cooking. Also if you’re handling the uncooked turkey make sure you wash your hands often. Fire is also a safety concern for the holiday as cooking accidents can result in fires. The Red Cross has some tips here that include checking your smoke alarms’ batteries and having a fire extinguisher handy. And as always if you’re going to deep fry a turkey, always make sure the turkey is thawed first or the extra moisture in the cooking oil could result in severe oil burns.

    Lastly, consider the health and welfare of your pets this Thanksgiving. While your dog or cat may be persistent in wanting some scraps from the table it’s not recommended that they’re given any turkey. Most pets are on a consistent diet which does not consist of turkey and it could imbalance their digestive systems. This includes any fat, skin or drippings from the turkey. What you can do when they beg is to keep some dry dog or cat food nearby and give that to them when they beg.

    We here at Geebo see our userbase as more than just numbers and we would like to see you all return safely from your holiday.

  • Geebo 9:16 am on July 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Safety   

    Keep your pets safe this 4th of July 

    Keep your pets safe this 4th of July

    If your neighborhood is anything like mine, some inconsiderate Independence Day revelers may have started the celebrations early with fireworks. These spontaneous outbursts of gunpowder may even last long into the following weekend since the 4th of July is in the middle of the week this year. With your neighborhood possibly sounding like a reenactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill you’ll probably want to take extra special care this week with your pets as dogs and cats can be especially frightened by the loud noises and flashing lights.

    According to WLNS in Lansing, Michigan, animal shelters see a surge in lost pets immediately after the 4th of July. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories about dogs and cats escaping their yards out of fear during fireworks celebrations. Unfortunately, not all of these pets are taken to shelters and some are never seen again.

    If you want to protect your pets this 4th of July it’s best to limit their time outside after dark and create a safe space for them inside your home. If you haven’t already, you probably want to have your pet microchipped in case they do escape. This way if they turn up at a shelter or a vet you can be notified that your pet has been found. Tags and collars can come detached during a fearful escape while the microchip will remain. During the fireworks, try to keep your pet in an interior room preferably with no windows and with a TV or radio playing in the background. You should also stay within eyesight of your pet as much as possible.

    Sadly, it’s a reality that too many people are not considerate of their neighbors when it comes to these haphazard celebrations and it’s up to you to keep you and your furry loved ones safe.

  • Geebo 10:02 am on January 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Safety   

    January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month 

    January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

    For those of you who may bot have heard, the President has declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In that vein, Local News 8 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, published a story about Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a local outreach program known as Operation Shield.

    The article goes on to detail about how you can protect your children from human traffickers, and we’ll get to that in a moment, but we should also look at one of the misconceptions about human trafficking that many people have. Human trafficking is not just a big city, or inner city issue. It affects every ethnicity and financial designation. Victims can be from the biggest cities in the nation to the smallest towns in Middle America. Due to the influence of social media and sites like Backpage and craigslist human trafficking has become an issue that we all need to be aware of, and yes, it’s even happening near where you live.

    Now, getting back to the tips on keeping your children safe, the article linked to has some great tips such as keeping track of your children’s online activity and making sure they don’t have any social media friends they’ve never met in real life. One tip that wasn’t mentioned that is known trick of human traffickers is the modeling or talent scam. Many times traffickers will pose as modeling or talent agents telling teenagers they can make a lot of money modeling or singing. Too many victims have been lured into trafficking with the promises of money and fame only to be turned out on to the streets and Backpage by violent pimps and traffickers. Please educate your children to be aware of anyone who may approach them with promises of money as one of those things that are way too good to be true.

  • Geebo 10:12 am on January 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Safety   

    Craigslist-like crimes overwhelming police 

    Craigslist crimes overwhelming police

    News station WKMG in Orlando, Florida, recently ran a report about crimes committed through online classifieds like craigslist and apps like OfferUp and LetGo have been overwhelming the detectives of the Orlando Police Department. One of their lead detectives says that robbery is the most common of the crimes committed, usually involving high-end smart phones since they involve a lot of money but are easy to grab. The detective goes on to name the usual suspects of which sites and apps these robberies are largely facilitated through and they are craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo and Facebook Marketplace.

    It used to be that meeting someone in a public place was enough to discourage any criminal activity from happening, but as time has progressed since the advent of online classifieds these rules have since changed since criminals have changed their tactics and have become more brazen. Now it is highly recommended to complete these transactions at your local police station as many of them have set up safe trading zones.

    Many of these classifieds sites and apps don’t offer this kind of advice or make it difficult to find. However, Geebo has a highly visible link in each of its ads to the SafeTrade initiative, where you can find a list of participating police stations across the country.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety,   

    Gas is cheaper this year, but stay safe on the 4th 

    Gas is cheaper this year but stay safe on the 4th

    Gasoline is cheaper for cars this summer than it has been in a long time. Because of that a lot of people will be traveling for the holiday especially since the 4th is close to a weekend. Due to increased travelers, the risk of danger might be at an all time high tomorrow. In case you were unaware, the 4th of July is considered to be the most dangerous holiday of the year when it comes to traveling.

    If you plan on doing any traveling this holiday please buckle up. Also, it should go without saying not to drink and drive. If you do plan on celebrating the holiday with a drink or two, and find yourself incapable of driving, arrange alternative methods of transportation like a ride-sharing service or a taxi. Also as always, alcohol and fireworks are never a good mix. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

    Boating is also very dangerous during the 4th of July due to increased traffic, but it’s even more dangerous at night. If you’re out boating at night, and an accident or boat failure occurs, it might be difficult to signal anyone with a flare since they may consider the flare as more fireworks.

    Have a safe and fun holiday as we want to see you back here on Wednesday.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CargoPod, Oxbotica, Safety   

    Oxford tests its own autonomous delivery truck 

    Oxford tests its own autonomous delivery truck

    In a similar vein to Moby Mart and Starship delivery robots, comes another self-driving delivery service. Oxford University, yes that Oxford, is in the testing stage of an autonomous delivery van called CargoPod.

    Oxford’s self-driving vehicle lab Oxbotica, is currently test-driving the CargoPod in a small section of London. The van contains eight pods that can hold a small set of packages customers have ordered from a retailer’s website. It still has a long way to go in being a viable service, however it shows a lot of promise. Also, it’s not completely autonomous as UK law requires a human driver to be available in order to take over the wheel if need be. There’s also the matter of security since it does not currently have any form of identifying correct customers.

    Again, once this technology is perfected, it could be a boon to the online classifieds industry as it could eliminate face-to-face meetings between buyer and seller. That means it could discourage a lot of the unsafe aspects of selling something online. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if some startup ends up using this or similar technology to try to ensure the safety of classifieds users.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on June 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety   

    Are delivery robots the future of safety? 

    Are delivery robots the future of safety?

    Recently, the state of Wisconsin approved legislation that would allow delivery robots to use pedestrian trafficways. They follow Idaho and Virginia, who passed similar legislation. The robots, made by a company called Starship Technologies, are designed to be used by stores to deliver around two bags full of groceries to nearby residents.

    But what if they could be used for a different purpose?

    The most dangerous part of any classifieds transaction is going to meet either the buyer or seller who could potentially turn out to be someone looking to rob you, scam you or worse. What if there was a service that could eliminate that meeting? The service could be like an Uber for transactions. Once the seller receives the money through a valid online transaction they could take the item to a delivery hub where the robot could then take the item to its intended destination. Since most classifieds transactions are usually local, the delivery robot could be a very useful tool in ensuring the safety of classifieds users.

    Granted, this technology is far from being widely adopted since it’s only been approved in three states. However, before we know it these robots could be as commonplace as any other delivery service is today.

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