When all else fails – Try Craigslist.


OK - so the word about my new condo has been written to death - as has been the lack of furniture in the place. Currently I like to think of all my furniture wearing an invisibility cloak around them of sorts. A quick mailing list discussion came up with the following recommendation for the Seattle area:


For limited budget, modern style, Ikea is a good place.
For big budget, modern/contemporary style, try Kasala, Dania.
For big budget, old style, Costco is a good choice.


But then I remembered - Craigslist. Though the last time I did use craigslist was when I was "trying" to find a job in the Valley - invain if I might add, during  graduation, I was surprised someone from office brought it up. I thought it was a SFO based list.


So I went on a lil hunt on the background of craigslist and came up with the following:


Craig Newmark observed people on the Net, on the WELL and in Usenet, helping one another out. In early '95, he decided to help out, in a very small way, telling people about cool events around San Francisco like the Anon Salon and Joe's Digital Diner. It spread through word of mouth, and became large enough to demand the use of a list server, majordomo, which required a name. Craig wanted to call it "sf-events", but more knowledgeable friends suggested calling it "craigslist" to reinforce its personal and down-to-earth nature. He still finds it awkward that such a visible site is named after him, but he'll get over it. Over time, people started posting items on the list in different areas, jobs, stuff for sale, and apartments, the latter in response to San Francisco's apartment shortage. Craig wrote software which could automatically add email postings to a site which became www.craigslist.org. After being approached toward the end of '97 about running banner ads, he decided to make craigslist non-commercial. Some things should be about money, some shouldn't, and I make enough doing contract programming." He was joined by other folks who proposed running face-to-face parties to make the sense of virtual community more physical, and who proposed creating a nonprofit foundation as part of craigslist. Craig devoted himself full-time to craigslist in early 1999.


Historical usage rates are at: http://www.signal11.com/~adam/craigslist/chart-o-matic.cgi


In my very brief search for good/slightly depreciated/value-based furniture in the area I thought Craigslist came on top very easily. If I had a spreadsheet of the prices, variety of stuff, relevance and currency of the ads and therefore a Value-for-money-coupled-with-probability-of-success-to-find ratio (that ratio isnt as complex as it sounds).... craigslist is #1 - very easily. Atleast for furniture in the seattle area.


What boggles my mind is when I think about revenue streams and remember not seeing any ads on craigslist. Not even Ad-words. So if Craig did devote himself fulltime to craigslist since 1999 - how is craig seeing any sort of revenue for his list?!?!


Oh well. Either way - Craigslist rocks 🙂

Comments (5)
  1. Chris Slatt says:

    I believe Craig’s List charges for help wanted ads in certain markets.

  2. Chris Slatt says:

    Yep, they charge for job postings in NYC, LA and SF.

    http://www.craigslist.org/about/job.boards.html

  3. Jonathan Pryce says:

    Craigslist charges a nominal fee for job ads in the San Francisco marketplace, and I believe a small fee for apartments in NY. eBay recently acquired 25% of of the company, so I would have to believe that plans for optimizing that revenue model are on the way…

  4. thanks for the kind words!

    We do charge for help wanted posts in three cities.

    We might change a token fee for apartment brokers in NY; they’ve asked us to do that, to improve quality.

    the eBay thing doesn’t matter; it doesn’t affect our philosophy.

    thanks!

    Craig

    craig@craigslist.org

  5. thank you for all your hope in posting free ads

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