is a centralized network of online
communities, featuring free online classified
– with sections devoted to jobs, housing,
, for sale,
, and discussion forums
Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an
email distribution list of friends, featuring local events in the
Bay Area, before becoming a web-based service in
After incorporation as a private for-profit company in
1999, Craigslist expanded into nine more U.S. cities in 2000, four
each in 2001 and 2002, and 14 in 2003. , Craigslist has established
itself in approximately 700 cities in 70 countries.
, Craigslist operates with a staff of 28 people.
source of revenue is paid job ads in select
cities – $75 per ad for the San Francisco Bay Area; $25 per ad for New York, Los
Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Seattle, Washington D.C., Chicago, and
Oregon – and paid broker apartment listings in New York
City ($10 per ad).
The site serves over twenty billion page
per month, putting it in 30th place overall among web
sites worldwide and 8th place overall among web sites in the United
States (per Alexa.com
on June 19, 2009),
to over fifty million unique monthly visitors in the United States
alone (per Compete.com
on April 7,
2009). As of March 17, 2009 it was ranked 7th on Alexa. With over
eighty million new classified advertisements each month, Craigslist
is the leading classifieds service in any medium. The site receives
over one million new job listings each month, making it one of the
top job boards in the world.The classified advertisements range
from traditional buy/sell ads and community announcements, to
and adult services
(previously erotic services).
The site is notable for having undergone only minor design changes
since its inception; even by 1996 standards, the design is very
simple. Since 2001, the site design has remained virtually
unchanged, and as of August 2009, Craigslist continues to avoid
philosophy common in the late 1990s but almost unheard of today for
a major website.
December 2006, at the UBS Global Media
Conference in New
York, Craigslist CEO Jim
Buckmaster told Wall
Street analysts that Craigslist has little interest in
maximizing profit, instead preferring to help users find cars,
apartments, jobs, and dates.
The company does not formally disclose financial or ownership
information. Analysts and commentators have reported varying
figures for its annual revenue, ranging from $10 million in 2004,
$20 million in 2005, and $25 million in 2006 to possibly $150
million in 2007. It is believed to be owned principally by Newmark,
Buckmaster, and eBay
(the three board members).
eBay owns approximately 25%, and Newmark is believed to own the
Having observed people helping one another in friendly, social and
trusting communal ways on the Internet, the WELL
, and Usenet
, and feeling isolated as a relative newcomer
to San Francisco, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark decided to
create something similar for local events.
The first emailed San Francisco event listings debuted in early
1995. The initial technology encountered some limits, so by June
installed and the mailing list "Craigslist" resumed operations.
Most of the early postings were submitted by Newmark and were
notices of social events of interest to software and Internet
developers living and working in San Francisco.
Soon, word of mouth
led to rapid
growth. Both subscribers and the number of postings grew rapidly.
There was no moderation, so Newmark was surprised when people
started using the mailing list for non-event postings. People
trying to fill technical positions found that the list was a good
way to reach people with the skills they were looking for. This led
to the addition of a category for "jobs". User demand for more
categories caused the list of categories to grow. About this time,
community members started asking for a web interface. Newmark
enlisted the help of volunteers
and contractors to create a website user interface for the
different mailing list categories. Needing a domain name for this,
Craig registered "craigslist.org" (and later, "craigslist.com", to
prevent the name "Craigslist" from being
used for other purposes
).About this time, Newmark realized that
the site was growing so fast that he could stop working as a
software engineer and work full time running Craigslist. By April
2000, there were nine employees working out of Newmark's apartment
on Cole Street in San Francisco.
Newmark says that Craigslist works because it gives people a voice,
a sense of community trust and even intimacy. Other factors he
cites are consistency of down-to-earth values, customer service and
simplicity. After first being approached about running banner ads
, Newmark decided to decline. In 2002,
Craigslist staff posted mock-banner ads throughout the site as an
Craigslist uses a user flagging system to quickly identify illegal
and inappropriate postings. When a posting is flagged X times, it
Significant events for Craigslist
- In January 2000, current CEO Jim Buckmaster joined the company as lead
programmer and CTO.
Buckmaster contributed the site's multi-city architecture, search
engine, discussion forums, flagging system, self-posting process,
homepage design, personals categories, and best-of-Craigslist
feature. He was promoted to CEO in November 2000.
- In 2002, a disclaimer was put on the "men seeking men", "casual
encounters", "erotic services", and "rants and raves" boards to
ensure that those who clicked on these sections were over the age
of 18. No disclaimer was on the "men seeking women", "women seeking
men" or "women seeking women" boards. Responding to charges of
discrimination and negative stereotyping, Buckmaster explained that the
company's policy is a response to user feedback requesting the
warning on the more sexually explicit sections, including "men
seeking men." Today, all of the above listed boards (as well as
some others) lead to a disclaimer.
- On August 1, 2004, Craigslist began charging $25 to post job
openings on the New York and Los Angeles pages. On the same day, a
new section was added called "Gigs", where low-cost and unpaid jobs
and internships can be posted free.
- On August 13, 2004, Newmark announced on his blog that auction
giant eBay had purchased a 25% stake in the
company from a former principal. Some fans of Craigslist have
expressed concern that this development will affect the site's
longtime non-commercial nature, but it remains to be seen what
ramifications the change will actually have. , there have been no
substantive changes to the usefulness or non-advertising nature of
the site (still no banner ads, still only charging for a few
services to businesses).
- In July 2005, Craigslist won the right to beam over 2 million
classified ads into deep space (one
light year away) in the near future after
Buckmaster won an eBay auction for broadcasting time from the
Space Communications Network. Newmark said, "We believe there
could be an infinite market opportunity" in space.
- In April 2008, eBay announced it was suing
Craigslist to "safeguard its four-year financial investment." eBay
claimed that in January 2008, Craigslist executives took actions
that "unfairly diluted eBay's economic interest by more than 10%."
In response, Craigslist filed a countersuit against eBay in May
2008 "to remedy the substantial and ongoing harm to fair
competition" that Craigslist claims is constituted by eBay's
actions as Craigslist shareholders.
- On May 13 2009, Craigslist announced that it will close the
'Erotic services' section, replacing it with an 'adult services'
section where the postings will be reviewed by Craigslist
employees. Postings to the new category would cost $10 and can be
renewed for $5. This decision comes after allegations by several US
states that the erotic services ads were being used for
- In November 2007, Ryan J. Davis directed Jeffery Self's solo show My
Life on the Craigslist at Off-Broadway's New World Stages. The show
focuses on a young man's sexual experiences on Craigslist and was
so successful that it returned to New York by popular demand in
- In July 2005, the San
Francisco Chronicle criticized Craigslist for allowing ads
from dog breeders, and thereby allegedly encouraging the over
breeding and irresponsible selling of pit bulls in the Bay
- In January 2006, the San Francisco Bay Guardian
published an editorial criticizing Craigslist for moving into local
communities and "threatening to eviscerate" local alternative
newspapers. Craigslist has been compared to Wal-Mart, a multinational corporation that some feel crushes
small local businesses when they move into towns and offer a huge
assortment of goods at lower prices.
August 2007, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin
wrote a letter to Craigslist asking the company to take steps to
avoid unwittingly enabling child prostitution through its
- Certain areas that have gained their own city status, such as
Long Island, NY- have an overlap of boards, as their original board
(under NYC craiglist) was never removed. This leads to some users
having to filter through two boards of different ads that cover the
exact same geographic space.
In 2001, the company started the Craigslist Foundation 
a § 501 nonprofit organization
people to the resources they need to strengthen communities and
neighborhoods. They offer free and low cost events and online
resources promote community building at all levels. It accepts
charitable donations, and rather than directly funding
organizations, it produces "face-to-face events and offers online
resources to help grassroots organizations get off the ground and
contribute real value to the community".
Since 2004, Craigslist Foundation has hosted an annual conference
called Boot Camp, an in-person event that focuses on skills for
connecting, motivating and inspiring greater community involvement
and impact. Boot Camp has drawn more than 10,000 passionate people
since its inception. The next Boot Camp event will be Saturday,
August 14, 2010
Craigslist Foundation is also the fiscal sponsor for Our Good
Works, the organization that manages AllforGood.org 
application that distributes volunteer opportunities across the web
and helps people get involved in their communities.
The first 14 city sites were: ( entire list
Columbia was the first non-U.S. city
included.London was the
first city outside North America.
November 2004, Amsterdam, Bangalore, Paris, São
Paulo, and Tokyo became the
first cities outside primarily English-speaking
1995: San Francisco
2000: Chicago, Los Angeles, New
York, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, Washington,
- October 2000: Sacramento
2001: Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Vancouver
, 500 "cities" in 50 countries are represented. Some Craigslist sites cover large regions instead of individual metropolitan areas — for example, the U.S. states of Delaware and Wyoming, the Colorado Western Slope, the California Gold Country, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are among the locations with their own Craigslist sites. , there are 695 unique Craigslist that can be posted to.
In March 2008, Spanish
, and Portuguese
became the first non-English
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