Thursday, April 24, 2008

Craigslist Keeps Growing

Craigslist continues to confound Internet-watchers. Its founder seems to happily pass up the chance to become a billionaire, refusing not only to sell the site, but even to charge for the ads people place on the sites (it only charges modest fees for apartment listings in a handful of cities). Traffic has doubled in the last year, and with another new round of expansion into lots more cities, Craigslist now operates sites in nearly 600 cities. And yet its founder, Craig Newmark (a graduate of Case Western Reserve University) is one of the most truly down-to-earth guys you'd ever want to meet. Not long ago, I wrote a media column that mentioned Craigslist, and emailed him with some questions. Not long after, he replied, courteously apologizing for taking a day to respond (he had been on a flight back from Korea). Every company should have a leader and founding visionary like this. Of course, few do.


At 9:03 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

As a regular Craigslist user and supporter, not only do I do so because Craig's attitude is so generous and wise, but because the whole community that uses Craigslist is, for the most part, similarly a cut above the average. Maybe it's the climate that Craig sets, maybe it's a feedback loop between all of it, but I've had a lot of positive experiences with it.

I hope they don't grow too fast to maintain the good tone. So far, so good.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I also had a great experience as a user, buying a gently used family van from the site. Craigslist thus will forever get credit for saving me the horrible experience of having to deal with dreaded car salesmen.

But you've put your finger precisely on what Craig does right--he creates a good climate for the sites, one that's conducive to doing business and returning often. The thing that I and many others marvel over is how they seem to be the one organization in a billion that can somehow maintain that same warm, friendly, personal environment even through much growth. The key is that he continues to be the hands-on customer service manager, not delegating that to others, as every other manager in the world would have done long ago. My example of hearing directly from him, and quickly, rather than a PR flunky, is all part of the charm of the guy and the organization. He's simply unique, and thus Craigslist is too.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Craigslist is great and I love your story about the founder calling you back personally.

We did have a close call with a shady character we hired through the list to do some work on our home though.

You have to be careful. Buying furniture is one thing, but I will not hire out off the list again.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's a valuable reminder, Michelle. Have you heard of or tried Angie's List? People seem to give it generally high marks, although of course there's a subscription charge.


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