Not Craigslist’s finest hour

Posted: April 23, 2009 in CRM

If Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster was a basketball player, sportscasters would be speaking today about the brick he threw up at the buzzer yesterday.  Instead the CEO wizkid is holding a clinic on bad CEO behavior.

Some background for you.

In Boston recently there has been a series of crimes including murder committed against women who advertised personal services on Craigslist.  Unless you live in Tibet, the news has probably penetrated your life.  There is a suspect in custody in this strange case a Boston University medical student.  The story seems to out do itself for weirdness by the day.

If the alleged med school murderer or the salacious details of women selling personal services out of hotel rooms aren’t enough to perplex you the words and actions of Buckmaster may be.

Buckmaster is quoted in today’s Boston Globe as saying “I would not describe any section of our site as ‘sex related’”.   He does admit the site has an erotic services section that somehow skirts the definition and only includes, “legitimate escort services, sensual massage, exotic dancers, etc.”  He also said that offers to exchange sexual favors for money are “strictly prohibited” and removed from the site.

A blind horse could prove the lie here and I will let you do the research if you like.

What’s even stranger is a 1996 FCC Act that gives companies like Craigslist and eBay immunity from prosecution for content that they have no role in creating.  It’s like saying, “I only deliver the porn.”

Despite the immunity, more than 40 state attorneys general reached a deal with Craigslist to try to control the amount of porn and sex ads on the site.  I wish we could all agree that what we’re talking about here is victimless crime but the fact that multiple women have been terrorized and one is dead says otherwise.  Moreover, Craigslist is in trouble with organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Polaris Project, which said it views Craigslist as one of the largest purveyors of illegal activities involving child trafficking and enslavement activities world wide.

My point for bringing this all up is to say this: A CEO’s job is to promote his or her company and to make it as profitable as possible but when those objectives begin to hurt innocent people with what looks like borderline criminal activity, to continue actions that make money while harming people is criminal itself.  More importantly, such blatant lies as the ones coming out of Buckmaster’s mouth undermine the credibility of the organization and ruin its reputation.  In trying to protect Craigslist Buckmaster has trashed the company. 

CRM is more than technology, it is a way of doing business and Jim Buckmaster ought to be pulled from the game for his ineptitude.

So, what did you think?

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