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Published at 05:48 PM on August 29, 2009
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Wired has published an in-depth article about Craigslist that exposes the peculiar personality of the site, and its founder. I have never been a fan of Craigslist — its usability is terrible. The Craiglist management has a somewhat hypocritical stance. Supposedly, the site is simple because business growth isn’t a priority; it’s all about the users. Yet those same users (or potential ones) complain about how backwards the site is, with extremely poor technology running it. Worst yet, Craigslist actively discourages innovation by not offering any kind of API to external clients. Hopefully, just as newspaper classifieds were defated by newer media, Craiglist will eventually fall to companies willing to innovate.

(Via Merlin Mann)

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I gotta disagree. In the current state of our economy I think it’s great that a little company with lots of users and specific ideals doesn’t just want to squeeze it’s users for money.

The draw of CL is that it’s free and it’s owners consider it a public/community asset, not an ATM for planes and cars and houses. Instead of innovating their focusing on providing consistent, quality service (so what if the site looks dumpy, I’ve found and sold many a material good, roommate, apartment — and the same can be said for any level of user).

I don’t think another company will come and knock CL off, and I think that’s a positive. Newmark will go down as one of the most influential web-men of the 20th and 21st centuries because of these little quirks that people misconstrue as weaknesses. I think it’s great that he is content with what he’s created and applies his waking hours to help it grow, interact with it’s users and, in his opinion, make the world a better place.

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...entertainment/theweb/magazine/17-09/ff_craigslist?currentPage=all">WIRED article concerned with Craigslist. I tried to comment over there but it seems the form is not working properly. Here’s Morgante...
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Thanks for responding, Joe.

While I agree that the Craiglist mantra is quite admirable, not all innovation is bad. I 100% support the choice to not squeeze profit out of users, but not all innovation is about greater profits.

In particular, the lack of any external API concerns me. Craiglist has a virtual monopoly on classifieds and refuses to share any of that information. At some point, Craigslist will stop being the good guys who refuse to harm the users and will start looking like a conservative monopoly intent upon preventing innovation.

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McCallister
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I look at Facebook now that it has opened up and released an API. All of those extra Applications have made the site slower and less useful. Sure, Facebook now gets a lot of return visitors because “there is more to do” and people love to play Mafia Wars and Texas Hold Em. Does Craigslist need to share their information? If they did, what benefit would it bring about?
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@McCallister: I’m no fan of Facebook’s apps, but that’s a poor example of how most APIs work. Most APIs are about fetching information and sharing data. Facebook, with Applications, designed the system poorly—but there is another side of the API. That side is about letting you access your data externally, through things like Facebook Connect. That’s what most APIs look like.

Facebook is a poor example of what a good API looks like. For a better idea, look at Twitter: without the API enabling clients, it would be much less useful.

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