Tuesday, May 14, 2013

That thing in the news I'm not talking about

You know that thing related to Kijiji that's all over the news for good reason right now?

Yeah, I'm not going to be talking about that here. Just this once.

YouSuckatKijiji.com is a place for fun. We make fun of people who do Kijiji poorly and celebrate those who do it well. It's a sandbox where we build castles and tear them down and laugh and laugh and laugh.

But what's in the news this week is just sad. I hate using the word tragedy because it's an over-used and hyperbolic expression these days and is most often misapplied. But the Bosma case is, in my opinion, really a tragedy.

I'm seeing a ton of chatter on Twitter today with people saying they're never going to use Kijiji again. I know you're upset, but that's foolishness. This is not Kijiji's fault. It's not. It's not Kijiji's fault any more than it's a yellow line on the road's fault that someone was hit by a drunk driver, or the phone company's fault that someone was frightened by an obscene caller, or the post office's fault you got a paper cut.

Kijiji worked exactly how it was supposed to in this case. A man posted an ad. Someone replied to it. He met them in person. The people he met were bad people. He couldn't have known that. And since the callers phoned his cell phone, Kijiji's only role in the entire transaction was letting someone see the phone number the seller put up.

(Correction: Kijiji says on its blog:

We confirmed to the police that the ad posted by Mr. Bosma on Kijiji did not feature personal contact information, nor did it receive any replies, which determines the incident did not occur as result of his ad posting on Kijiji.

... which indicates there's no Kijiji connection here at all.)

I'm sad for the man's family. I don't pray, but if I did, I'd pray for peace for them and for wisdom for the police and prosecutors investigating this crime.

It would be wise, in my opinion, for Kijiji to pull its media campaign temporarily. That's just a PR thought. I feel bad for Kijiji, too, because they offer a good service and honestly don't deserve the bad buzz they're getting from this. The people at Kijiji Canada work hard to make a good marketplace. They have families, too.

Users and readers, I implore you: Keep going. Keep doing things right. Keep making deals safely. Keep your wits about you and keep reporting suspicious ads to Kijiji and reporting crimes to police.

If you know someone who says Kijiji is dangerous and shouldn't be trusted, please use your position of intelligence and rationality to correct your friends and family. Kijiji is just as safe as it's always been. Nothing has changed. It's still the best place to buy and sell and trade and all that. It's still as annoying and frustrating for all the same reasons, of course, but nothing's changed. Nothing's changed.

Things have changed for the Bosma family. My heart is with them.

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