It is fascinating to meet the man behind a site that grew from a new-to-town programmer’s social advancement tool to a 6 billion page view worldwide listing phenomenon.
Attendees Applauded: "The lunch event on Friday was wonderful. I felt like I'd been dipped in a fountain of fresh water." - Sharon Anstey, ClickandBuy
THE KEY IDEAS
What emerged from this event are the sincere humanism of Craig himself, the site’s intent on serving the community and its very gentle view of capitalism.
There are some great lessons to be learned here, especially for high-profit, investor-pressured organizations that have to compete against a Craigslist. Clearly, the issue is one of adding more value and sharpening the marketing tools.
Highlights from the Craig Newmark iBreakfast Video
Highlights of the Lunch:
1. Who’s Zooming Who.
Craigslist isn’t putting classifieds out of business as much as specialized, focused classified sources with aggressive salesmanship are eating the newspapers’ lunch. (At one point the site is said to have taken $64 million out of the Bay Area newspaper economy.)
2. International Growth
Craigslist is in 450 cities worldwide but growth overseas is slow. Apparently, even giving something away overseas takes work. (White House, take note!)
3. Net Neutrality & The Telcos.
This is a big deal that few people understand. It is filled with disinformation and pseudo public interest ads by telcos who see an opportunity to bring in big bucks. Problem seems to be that average users will be hurt even if big business is free to buy premium services.
4. User Ratings.
eBay may have a piece of Craigslist but so far they are not venturing in a reputation system. Prediction – that will change within a couple of years. The site has become too much of a target for scammers: Including the day’s story about an apartment con artist who took New Yorkers deposits for a fictitious listing.
5. Wikis and other forms of Immortality.
If there was one wistful note it is that Craigslist is filled with ephemera and Craig seemed to admire Wikipedia and other forms of durable data. This is particularly in light of his interests in non-profit social issues liberal politics and so on. Expect to see more from Craig on these issues.
The Event covered in Yahoo & Associated Press News
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