For those who have noticed that craigslist has started to require Phone Verification in order to post in the services section, get used to seeing it for good. It appears that verifying you are real through a phone number is here to stay. craigslist has already proved the system works in Erotic Services by cutting down spam by 80%. Since implementation in this section, it has then spread to other categories in the services section and rumor has it that craigslist will soon be enacting the same verification methods in Jobs and Real Estate, in the very near future.
How It Works:
Upon posting a classified in the services section you will be brought to a new screen informing you that you must verify your account. You can choose to receive it through a text message or through a phone call. Shortly after entering your area code and phone number in the required field, you will receive an automated phone call or text message, during which an authorization code will be provided to you.
Enter this authorization code on the next page, and your account will be verified.
Why This Is Good:
Verifying an account by phone has helped cut down the number of spam postings in the categories they have enacted it in. Violating the new terms of service will lead to account suspension and also allows craigslist to blacklist the phone number used to verify the account.
Why This Could Be Bad:
While this new verification method will obviously reduce the amount of spam on craigslist, the jury is still out when it comes to the question of a members desire to relinquish personal information to a site that has grown mainly by its anonymous nature. With the information trail that comes requiring personal phone numbers, those who would otherwise post will think twice. Already, there are dozens of services offering to sell verified phone numbers for $15.00. Most of these numbers came from payphones, disposable phones, or other illicit methods. So buyer beware, just because an account is verified, doesn’t mean there still cannot be a negative outcome dealing with someone in these verified sections.
Although it is still a rumor about craigslist adding the verification method to Real Estate and Jobs, it is a pretty reliable one. The time frame is uncertain, but do not be surprised if the entire site one day requires phone verification to post a simple classified ad. Should this happen, it will lead to a dramatic reduction in the amount of traffic and postings on craigslist. Many members will flock to other sites in order to avoid having to share their personal data. Think twice craigslist before you push your users away.