Classifieds Malpractices: Ghosting
In digital media, ‘Ghosting’ is the colloquial term used when you make a post on a website, and the system tells you that your post has been published but your post never appears on the front page of the website. You receive a post ID and a URL for the post you made, which, apparently went live, and the URL works for you too. However the trick is that no one else is able to view it as it never actually went live. Figuratively speaking, your post becomes a ghost that seeks audience and wanders in the search but can’t be viewed by anyone except probably you!
It’s actually a sneaky way to get rid of unwanted posters and spammers. Ghosting rose to be a back end practice when a few years ago classifieds services, instead of letting people know that their ad cannot be posted, and has been flagged, just went ahead and let them live in ignorance by giving them a proof of their ad going live. This was adopted, unsolicited and unannounced. The general discontent among people on their ads being flagged, and the need to keep checking their emails to keep an eye for the same was possibly the reason why such a practice was adopted.
One such happening occurred in the history of online classifieds with one of the big names in the industry. They decided to just ghost anybody, that they had the slightest inkling would be trouble. This might seem perfectly fair from the periphery, as after all there is nothing wrong in blocking trouble. Trouble brews when you end up ghosting a perfectly fine post of a granny selling cookies and let go of a post that’s evidently explicit. There was widespread discontent among users of the website, as they saw post after post with unwanted details doing the rounds while their reasonably straightforward honest ads simply didn’t make it to the front page, and at times even got black listed for no reason whatsoever.
People resorted to techniques like posting published content and changing the details, changing IP’s, using e-mailers etc. Some of the comments shown along side, picked from the web show the general resentment against the practice of Ghosting.
Its issues like these that become bottlenecks for services like Quikr. Despite all efforts there has to be a long process of ad reviews before they can actually be published. To maintain good and relevant content on the website, we at Quikr send every ad posted through a rigorous ‘Flag and delay’ process. If an ad s flagged we let the user know why it was flagged and what can be done to improve the ad. We follow the basic process of flagging at our end, despite it being a tedious one, because there is no other alternative for moderating content to keep it clean. The user sees everything and there is no by passing the long route