OfferUp has designated more than 450 meeting places for users to exchange goods, in an attempt to get ahead of the safety issues that plague its rival Craigslist.
The Community MeetUp Spots are at police stations and participating Ralphs supermarkets, allowing OfferUp users to pick up and hand off items in well-lit, surveilled locations.
OfferUp launched as a mobile-first, user-friendly alternative to Craigslist but the six-year-old company has found itself mired in some of the challenges the incumbent faces. In the Seattle area (where OfferUp is based) and other cities around the country, criminals have used the app for robberies.
“Marketplaces are social businesses and we believe it’s our civic responsibility to take an active interest and role in the well-being of our community, online and offline,” said OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar in a statement.
OfferUp began piloting the MeetUp Locations over the summer and today the feature is officially launching in the app. Users will see a small green icon at the bottom of their screen when using the OfferUp chat feature. Tapping on it will reveal a map with nearby, designated MeetUp Locations. In addition to the 450 locations launching today, OfferUp is working with an additional 800 police departments to grow the program.