August 25, 2009 – Craigslist

There’s a very interesting article in this month’s Wired magazine about Craigslist founder, named, oddly enough, Craig Newmark.  The article spends some time berating the site for not being all it could be in terms of design and profit.  The site only charges fees for a few kinds of ads, mainly help wanted in large cities.  Best estimates are that these ads earn about $100 million per year.  The rest of us get to post and browse free classified ads.  Craigslist gets more hits than Ebay or Amazon.  Many people think that with a redesign of the site, or making sponsored ads or charging a minimal fee that Craigslist might be worth a sum in the billions of dollars on the open market.

When asked about why he doesn’t try to make more money from a potential goldmine of a site, Craig’s philosophy comes through as he “already has a parking space, a hummingbird feeder, a small home with a view, and a shower with strong water pressure.”  What else does he need? He also dislikes meetings and tensions between technology and internal business units.  At Craigslist there is no tension between the marketing, sales, and technology groups, because there is no marketing or sales departments.  He’s put technological back-door roadblocks in place to prevent automated searches across all of Craigslist locations, insisting it is for local commerce only.  I think I’d like this guy!

one year ago…”Good Old Small Town Life”