Craigslist At A Crossroads

Criminals being dubbed the latest "Craigslist Killer" seem to be popping up everywhere.

There was Michael Anderson in Minnesota, who lured to her death a woman answering an ad for a nanny; a 16-year-old S/M enthusiast who killed a New York City radio newsman who posted an ad; and a yuppie who used the online marketplace to meet hookers he would rob, killing one.

The incidents have sparked law-enforcement officials across the country to go after Craigslist, and in some ways founder Craig Newmark is under siege.

Newmark is negotiating with the officials -- some of them ambitious politicians with a sharp nose for what gets admiring headlines -- but he has also reached out to the victims. This weekend he will speak at a memorial concert for the woman killed in Minnesota, having been invited by her family.

Forty-one state attorneys general have signed on to an agreement with Craigslist that seeks to limit the "erotic services" ads; one notable exception to that is Texas AG Greg Abbott. (An Abbott spokesman tells Hair Balls the agreement "did not, in any way, adequately protect children from harmful conduct, nor did it adequately prohibit listings that advertise illegal activity.")

Click here for an in-depth look at Craigslist, Newmark, and the ongoing efforts to change the way it operates, by Bradley Campbell and Matt Snyders, reporters for our Twin Cities sister paper City Pages.

For a slideshow on the life of the murdered Minnesota woman, Katherine Olson, click here. For a slideshow/timeline of events from Craigslist's founding to the murder, click here.

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