After much success on the Central Coast, is expanding the reach of its online classifieds business to include all of Southern California.

With five years of guaranteed funding ahead of it, the company has become a formidable player in the online classifieds industry and serious competition for Craigslist.

Established by Ella Internet Technologies Inc. and based out of Santa Barbara, its family-friendly website — — represents a change in direction from the approach taken by Craigslist and other more standard online classifieds sites.

“Bonqo’s mission is to make the Web safer for consumers,” spokesman Taylor Scott said. “Because Bonqo manually screens and works to verify the legitimacy of every classified ad it receives, those who browse our listings aren’t likely to be met with fraudulent, offensive or distasteful material.

“Computer filters are not a good substitute for human eyes and intuition. Our human ‘scanners’ do their utmost every single business day of the week to detect and eliminate scams and fraudulent listings before they get posted to the website.”

Scott said he believes this “new approach” to online classified advertising will lead the way to more responsible Web postings in the future. And if it doesn’t, he said, “it just speaks to the need for monitoring everywhere.” He said he hopes other website companies will eventually follow Bonqo’s example.

In the meantime, online scams continue. The most recent trend is in pet and rental scams. In its vigilance to keep the dishonest ads off of their own website, Bonqo has noticed an upward swing in the number and variety of these particular types of scams. originally went live in Santa Barbara and up and down the Central Coast in October 2010. The expansion includes the greater Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside areas.

— Jonatha King is a publicist.