***Finding Guide is NOT affiliated with Craigslist***
Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forums. Craigslist.org, originally a San Francisco community electronic newsletter, is now one of the most visited English language Web sites, with local classifieds for more than 450 cities worldwide. The site’s main function is to host classified ads that cover practically every category you can think of, including housing, job postings, items for sale, and services. There’s also a forums section that allows users to discuss topics on everything from gardening to the Linux operating system.
Craigslist’s founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster aim to provide users with a helpful, noncommercial way to connect with other people in their communities [source: New York Times]. Posting for most classifieds categories on craigslist is free, and it’s also free to browse and respond to ads. The Web site doesn’t have any flashy animation or graphics — its value comes from its utilitarian design and the contributions of its users.
Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an email distribution list to friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. It became a web-based service in 1996 and expanded into other classified categories. It started expanding to other U.S. cities in 2000, and now covers 70 countries.
In March 2008, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese became the first non-English languages Craigslist supported. As of August 9, 2012, over 700 cities and areas in 70 countries have Craigslist sites.
Each craigslist site focuses on a specific community. Originally, craigslist only listed classifieds and announcements within San Francisco. As the service grew in popularity, expanding well beyond founder Craig Newmark’s original concept, craigslist added other cities to its network. The first city to join the network was Boston in 2000. A couple of months later, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C. followed suit. Today, more than 450 cities have a craigslist community site.
Because community members largely moderate the sites, craigslist employees can focus their attention on coordinating transactions for job and housing posts, helping members troubleshoot problems and responding to reports of abuse or illegal behavior. Without communal moderation, the craigslist staff would be severely overworked.
According to craigslist’s fact sheet, every month craigslist has:
- more than 25 million new classified ads
- more than 1.5 million job postings
- more than 75 million user postings in the forums section
- more than 30 million user visits, most of which are from the United States
- more than 8 billion page views, putting craigslist in the top 10 English-language sites
The executive team at craigslist maintains that the reason for the site’s success is the user community. The team believes that craigslist gives users a place to communicate and help one another, fostering community spirit. The site’s emphasis on community reflects its founder’s and CEO’s values — Craig Newmark and Jim Buckmaster try to avoid commercialism and corporate culture in their company.
Craigslist communities appeal to a broad range of users. The simple, organized layout and helpful search engine makes navigation easy. Craigslist members range from teenagers to senior citizens. They post on the forums, shop online, trade tips and make new friends. While the site itself may not be the most visually interesting Internet destination, there’s no denying its effectiveness. Users often report that it’s easy to find what they are searching for within a few minutes of logging on to the site.
Craigslist started as a pet project but blossomed into a full-fledged company. In 1999, craigslist incorporated as a for-profit organization. The company also purchased the domain craigslist.com to prevent anyone from buying it and misleading craigslist members. Each year since then, craigslist has expanded to cover more cities and communities, becoming a powerful financial force in the process.
Craig Newmark and Jim Buckmaster aren’t your typical corporate bigwigs. Even though Newmark is the founder and chairman of craigslist, he states his title as customer service representative. Buckmaster is not only the CEO but also a lead developer for the site. He helped design the homepage, Web architecture, forums, community moderation system, personals category and search engine.
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