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Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gig, résumés, and discussion forums.

Description

Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an email distribution list of friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Areamarker, before becoming a web-based service in 1996. 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.
Its sole source of revenue is paid job ads in select cities – $75 per ad for the San Francisco Bay Areamarker; $25 per ad for New Yorkmarker, Los Angelesmarker, San Diegomarker, Bostonmarker, Seattlemarker, Washington D.C.marker, Chicagomarker, and Portland, Oregonmarker – and paid broker apartment listings in New York City ($10 per ad).

The site serves over twenty billion page views 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 personal ads 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 using images and uses only minimal CSS and Javascript, a design philosophy common in the late 1990s but almost unheard of today for a major website.

In December 2006, at the UBS Global Media Conference in New Yorkmarker, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wall Streetmarker 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 largest stake.

Background

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 1995 majordomo had been 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 April Fools joke.

Craigslist uses a user flagging system to quickly identify illegal and inappropriate postings. When a posting is flagged X times, it is removed.

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 company Deep 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 prostitution.


Related media



  • 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 February 2008.






Criticism

  • 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 Area.


  • 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-Martmarker, 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.
  • In August 2007, Atlantamarker Mayor Shirley Franklin wrote a letter to Craigslist asking the company to take steps to avoid unwittingly enabling child prostitution through its classified ads.
  • 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.


Nonprofit Foundation

In 2001, the company started the Craigslist Foundation [711251], a § 501 nonprofit organization that connects 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[711252].

Craigslist Foundation is also the fiscal sponsor for Our Good Works, the organization that manages AllforGood.org [711253], an application that distributes volunteer opportunities across the web and helps people get involved in their communities.

Cities

The first 14 city sites were: ( entire list) Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker was the first non-U.S. city included.Londonmarker was the first city outside North America.

In November 2004, Amsterdammarker, Bangaloremarker, Parismarker, São Paulomarker, and Tokyomarker became the first cities outside primarily English-speaking countries.

, 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 Delawaremarker and Wyomingmarker, the Colorado Western Slope, the California Gold Country, and the Upper Peninsula of Michiganmarker are among the locations with their own Craigslist sites. , there are 695 unique Craigslist that can be posted to.


Languages

In March 2008, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese became the first non-English languages supported.

See also



References



Further reading



External links

Official sites



News and media




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