Transparency and traceability have always been an enormous obstacle in the online pet classified environment because both lead to accountability, the lack of which is something the unscrupulous pet selling trade have literally made a killing on for many years.
The announcement by Gumtree to introduce a nominal fee for advertising pets online represents a step forward. Whilst the selling of any animal as a commodity is not something we can ever feel comfortable with, the reality is that it is not about to disappear overnight. And as we have also said for a very long time, as welcome as the PAAG standards and guidelines are, they have not prevented unscrupulous traders to operate.
The end of the free listings of pets for sale on Gumtree means that those who do use this medium will no longer be able to disappear without trace once they’ve made a sale. They will now have to pay for their advertisements which will require a method that requires a bank account, which in turn requires an address. This will serve to improve public protection against unscrupulous sellers and aid the authorities and other organisations in tracing offenders.
Along with other proposed measures yet to be announced, this is another step in the right direction to help combat not only puppy farming and the puppy trade, but the appalling and merciless trade in exotic animals.
Eliminating free classified advertising for pets via a nominal payment system is something that we have recommended on many occasions over the years, so we are relieved that Gumtree have changed their policy with immediate effect.
Gumtree have set a benchmark for the classified industry, and it is now incumbent on all classified advertisers, whether online or offline, that allow pets to be advertised for sale, to follow suit without delay – including social media platforms such as Facebook.