Here's a tale of how craigslist has turned a good deed into a somewhat uncomfortable den of iniquity.
Let me start by saying -- I love craigslist. Truly, I do. I have become a regular user -- selling old electronics that would otherwise go to waste in a dark closet. When I'm ready to upgrade a laptop, or an iPod, or other gear -- I just post it on craigslist and do a local in-person transaction.
Now, of course -- there's always been a bit of scammy stuff on craigslist. Folks who want to pay me by Paypal, have me ship it to them or their "son in the army." Nope. That one never gets me.
So, when I posted my old Netgear Router, I expected the standard few lowball offers, and a few scams, and then -- as in the past -- a local sale to a neighbor who needs the router that I no longer need.
But this time it was different.
My first response read like this:
Hey there, is your thing still available? I don't normally do this but you seemed cute in your list and I'm intrigued by you. I live close by and up for anything. My only dilemma is that you might be a phony as CL is filled with them. So if you're indeed real, can we chat on my profile page? It's the safest way and super discreet. I'll message you as soon as I see you sign in! ;)
Only you'll be able to check out my pics and phone # on there so if you like what you see, get hold of me. People say I'm pretty attractive but you can be the judge. ;) I apologize to bother you... life is too short so I had to give this a try. I think you'll be astonished, see ya!
Hmm... did my NETGEAR router "seem cute" -- blush -- I've always been strangely attracted to bits of plastic with an Ethernet cable plugged in to the... ok, never mind.
Then -- twenty minutes later -- this one:
Is your piece still for sale? Sigh... this may possibly be peculiar but you appear hot in your advertisement. How about we get drinks at any time? I'm not a weirdo, just feeling alone. If you're interested, meet me on my individual dating profile (it's like Facebook for grownups), zero cost to sign-up! My pics and my phone # are all on there. After you sign on, I'm going to mail you a private message so you'll know it's me. There are too many phonies on here so if you're legit, call me and become buddies and maybe more? You never know! Okay, I won't trouble you again!
Then, the creepy factor started to climb...
Is this Steve Rosenbaum? Im fairly attracted to your advert and would prefer to connect in person to person. I'm nice and a lot of fun! Ive been lonely lately so seeking for a pal in my life if that's ok with you. Let's just see how things go. Im attaching pix of me. You can find addiontal ones on my private profile page. Why don't you meet me there? My cell # is on there too so text me today. I hope to hear from you soon!
Seriously -- not sure how anyone can get my real name from an anonymous craigslist post -- that's just damn creepy.
But that wasn't the end. They just kept coming.
"I'm intrigued in you and your ad. I want to know more and was trying to find out if you could call/text me with your address? Please grab my cell phone # on my personalized page, you have to sign up first but no lies there's zero cost. This way I am preserving my private information, I have money set aside already. I just need to ask you something over the phone and double check this is not a scam. Thank you!"
In all -- more than 15 different responses. All using somewhat different language -- and each with photos that seemed art directed with a similar airbrushed but voyeuristic POV. A few of them had outright pornography -- I didn't post them but you can get the idea. But most of them were just like these.
So -- there's new kind of 'hook-up' Spam on Craigslist -0 and it's flooding the service. Was there something about my ad that made it a target, I'll let you decide that for yourself:
NETGEAR RangeMax Premium Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WNR3500) - $35
Just took it out of service - working well. I've got the device and power supply. The documentation is all on line - so you'll need to download the manual pdf from Netgear.
The NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 lets you easily set up a blazing fast network with both wired and wireless connections. Everyone in your home or office can share a single Internet connection, and connect to their network, at speeds up to 1000 Mbps wired, and 300 Mbps wireless, letting you stream music, video, make Internet phone calls, video conference, and surf the web -- all at the same time.
Now I know two things. Routers are sexy. That's good to know. And, not a single offer to buy the router (at any price) or to ship it overseas. A low value product, with a low price point. Perhaps Craiglist hookers are looking for a cheap date? That's all I can guess.
Oh, one more thing. Never did sell the router :(
Follow Steve Rosenbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/waaywire