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Craigslist: Understanding The Beast

Oct 31, 2007
The name Craig Newmark may not be familiar to many people, but his Web site Craigslist is known by almost every young adult with a computer. The company is the brainchild of Craig Newmark, and has become one of the most popular sites on the internet.

Craigslist is affordable unlike many of the major sites, and offers guru level results for the little guy in the internet marketing game. It is the ninth most visited site on the internet and gets more traffic than one of the giants in the industry, Amazon.

Started in San Francisco in 1995, Craigslist is perhaps the ultimate site for classified listings. The company was originally limited to the San Francisco area, with want ads, items to sell, and even personal ads. It generates income solely from help wanted ads, and offers postings of job advertisements at significantly lower cost than traditional print ads.

The costs are even lower than one of the leading career websites, Monster. For the most part, posting and reading ads is free. Their revenue is generated by people posting job ads at significantly below market rate.

The success of Craigslist has proven that both employers and employees want a cost-effective, easy way to fill openings in the job market. In July 2005, the company won the right to send more than 2 million classified ads into space (one light year away) after they won an ebay auction for broadcasting time from the deep space communications network.

Often described as an online community, it is a site where you can find jobs, housing, goods, services, romance, local activities, advice and lots more. It has a reputation for being a big, friendly community. One of the more popular sections, the "Best of Craigslist" includes a quirky collection of community rants that make interesting reading. One of the major contributions to the popularity of the website is the fact that all of the services are provided free, and it enables folks within the same community to liaise with each other.

Recently, there have still been no major changes to the usefulness or non-advertising nature of the site. They still have no banner ads, and are only charging for a few services to businesses. Jobs in the gigs section are often work for free opportunities, or scams advertising great jobs if one will take a course or pay a fee for job listings.

Craigslist will always be a winner when it comes to local classified advertising, simply because the operation is big enough, popular enough and cheap enough that it would be difficult for anyone else to compete. There is no question that the company has a formidable presence in the United States as far as classified advertising services are concerned, and this is mostly evident from the numerous criticisms it receives from the various rival newspapers who are competing for the same advertising dollar.

With over ten million new classified advertisements each month, Craigslist is the leading classifieds service in any medium. At its inception, and still today, it is a virtual smorgasbord of online offerings with thousands of listings organized by city and category.

This is a multi-billion dollar company that is currently nowhere near its potential as a business, which suits the founders just fine. This company is making us think about our business differently, primarily making us think about what the hot buttons are for this community, not only in terms of what people are buying and selling, but also in terms of what types of activities incite a community to come together. Newmark, the founder, says that Craigslist works because it gives people a voice, a sense of community trust and even intimacy.
About the Author
Sharron Nixon is a 44 year old mother of 3 who lives in New Zealand. Find out everything you need to know about Craigslist by checking out Sharron's website:
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