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97 of Top 100 Classified Sites Are Craigslist 193

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the newspapers-still-dying dept.
According to a recent report, 97 of the top 100 classified sites are just localized versions of Craigslist, up from 88 just last year. Combine that with a massive rise in traffic to classified sites in general and you have a recipe for one raging behemoth. "Craigslist isn't just crushing the newspaper industry and crowding out other classified sites. It's also taking an increasing slice of total U.S Internet traffic: the site's market share in February was up 90% year over year, accounting for about 2.5% of total US Web site visits."
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97 of Top 100 Classified Sites Are Craigslist

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @04:56PM (#27481073) Journal
    The article correctly noted that craigslist's staggering success is not the real story here. Craigslist has been growing quite nicely for sometime. Also, it is not Craigslist that has grown drastically but Craigslist Cities custom category's number of visits went up 90% between Feb '08 and Feb '09 and all other classifieds grew 22 percent. Craigslist cities is below all other classifieds in the graph on their blog [hitwise.com] which contradicts what the article is saying. So that 90% figure is a bit misleading and I think it is a particular custom division of Craigslist.

    The news is that they think the recession is causing this thrift explosion. From the article:

    So it seems the recession is more or less rescuing some classifieds sites while acting as a rocket booster for Craigslist. This meshes well with last week's info about Craigslist replacing MySpace as the top U.S. search term.

    And from Hitwise's blog:

    Market share of US Internet Visits increased 90% to the Craigslist Cities custom category year over year in February 2009 while visits to All Other Classifieds grew 22%.Visits to All Other Classifieds had been declining for most of 2008 with visits starting to increase in January and February. This suggests that the worsening US economy may be boosting visits to classifieds websites, and contributing to the recent up tick in visits to both Craigslist Cities and All Other Classifieds.

    I'm not sold on their evidence. I don't see a huge jump [google.com] since February of '08 in search popularity. Why do we do this with percentages? We break them down into categories and play the telephone game to distort them for the sole purpose of shock-and-awe reporting leading to ad revenue?

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:04PM (#27481179) Journal

      I'm not sold on their evidence. I don't see a huge jump since February of '08 in search popularity

      What? Did you even look at the graph you linked to? Sure, it's fairly steady growth, but even just a quick eyeing of the graph shows at least a 50% growth (and that's a VERY conservative estimate -- looks more like 75% to me, but I didn't want to push it).

      I don't know about you, but that's pretty damn significant to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cube Steak (1520237)

      I'm not sold on their evidence. I don't see a huge jump [google.com] since February of '08 in search popularity.

      You don't? It went from around .75 to at least 1.25 which is at least a gain of around 67%

    • by cymen (8178)

      By "Craigslist Cities custom category" do you mean visits to individual cities on craiglist.org (like chicago.craigslist.org)? Or is there some other feature there? I mean, that seems kind of obvious if that is what you mean because the whole point of Craiglist is localized classifieds.

      I also don't think most people are going to use Google to search the local Craigslist site. That would be kind of worthless as the Google hits are often out of date (just try searching for some "odd yet valuable but can sell

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lord Grey (463613) *
      Going along with the general traffic statistics are some supposed demographics [exct.net]:

      Craigslist attracts wealthier households, but recent growth is visible from lower-income groups. Analysis of demographics of the Craigslist audience reveals that those earning a household income of $150,000 a year or more were 68 percent more likely to visit a Craigslist Cities Web site than All Other Classifieds Web sites in the four weeks ending Feb. 28, 2009. However, the siteâ(TM)s recent growth is being fueled by lower-

      • by PachmanP (881352)

        Exactly how do they "anonymously capture" data and determine an average household income?

        If your ip resolves to Detroit, you fall in the lower-income group. If your ip resolves to Georgetown or Alexandria (wealthy DC suburbs), then you fall in the high-income group.

    • by Zakabog (603757) <john@NOSpAm.jmaug.com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:17PM (#27481349)

      Did anyone else notice the largest drop on that graph occurred right after this article -

      Craigslist to crack down on prostitution ads [whdh.com]

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      How big is CL outside the US?

      Here in NZ so few have even heard of it.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

        Virtually nonexistant in the UK as well.

        I don't see the attraction. There are no controls - it seems to be a mixture of sex services, stolen goods and plain ripoffs. The genuine stuff is just buried. There's no payment system, no ratings system.. if you use it you're just asking to be ripped off.

        It's not popular at all.. the local site has only 12 items in the computer section since February. ebay probably sells that much in an hour.

        Maybe they like being ripped off in the US or something. It seems to m

        • Maybe they like being ripped off in the US or something. It seems to me using a system like that you might as well set fire to your money

          you don't get it.

          Craigslist isn't a place to buy stuff. It's a place to FIND stuff. You don't trust the #@$#!ing craigslist ad; you make a contact with a real person, and go from there.

          ebay's kinda a joke --> used electronics, scams, and crap, all peddled by folks who only care about thin numbers that give themselves a veneer of respectability.

          Craigslist tosses that, and the fees, and just connects the buyers and the sellers. It's the internet in its purest, and most open, form.

          • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @04:16AM (#27486269)

            Unfortunately, on London craigslist at least, you are more likely to get responses from Africa trying to scam you than real responses to your ad. From a recent ad I got three responses from Abuja, Nigeria (according to IP), and none from genuine buyers, in spite of an instruction saying 'local buyers only' and requiring pickup.

            This sort of site requires a critical mass of genuine people to be using it, and in certain places a lot of the traffic is probably caused more by scams than real items for sale. As you say, it's the internet it its purest, most open, form, and like email and web discussions, it's been taken over by scammers, spammers and blow-hards.

  • I wonder how much of this increase in "traffic" is just Nigerian scammers trying to get you to ship your item overseas.

  • In other news: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday April 06, 2009 @04:59PM (#27481119)

    As Prostitutes Turn to Craigslist, Law Takes Notice [nytimes.com]. Given how much of the web is devoted to porn, why is anyone surprised that the best site for marketing prostitution is doing so well?

    Note to sarcasm impaired: This is (mostly) a joke.

    • Re:In other news: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by linzeal (197905) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:31PM (#27481531) Homepage Journal

      Yeah and this is the problem as I see it.

      Craigslist made the economics of prostitution more decentralized so cops were busting fewer hookers even though the sex industry in a lot of towns was thriving with Craigslist. So the cops started to take notice when their revenue dropped off. In some towns over 50% of the revenue comes from fines levied against the citizens for non-violent crimes and anything that disrupts that will make politicians poke their local county sheriffs and police departments to do something about it. Look at your county coffers and see how much comes in from traffic tickets and criminal fines for my county it is nearly 30% of the revenue. Making so much of county and city budgets dependent on vice and traffic crimes has made it profitable to exacerbate problems that will encourage it while not directly encouraging it. -- See drug war, cheap alcohol and 1 second yellow lights.

      We also had a massive decrease in violence against prostitutes and charges filed for pimping because craigslist made it far easier to go solo and be safe from crazies by filtering out them by email and phone before meeting. Sort of like speed dating, now these women are back out working for pimps and working the streets. This sort of action by the police community against sex workers is abhorrent and is bringing back old problems that were going away with Craigslist being used by escorts.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:00PM (#27481131) Journal
    While it lasted.

    Seriously, though, Craigslist now seems to be an unstoppable testament to the power of network effects and general benevolence. The site feels like it was dragged out of 1993, stripped of all the animated .gif flaming skulls and starfield backgrounds, and dumped on the present. However, it is fast, even on devices without the chops for horrible flash and javascript monsters, unobtrusive, no in-your-face ads, and if it exists, you can find it.

    I'm not at all surprised that it has terminated the traditional classifieds, since they all sucked; but I am mildly surprised that that it seems to be crushing its online competitors so absolutely. I would have expected at least a few me-too outfits with gmail-styled "Web 2.0" interfaces to be doing OK somewhere. Network effects, I suppose. Like ebay; but without the evil.
    • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:13PM (#27481295)
      "...the site feels like it was dragged out of 1993, stripped of all the animated .gif flaming skulls and starfield backgrounds..." which is EXACTLY why it's so successful and demonstrates nicely why other sites fail. It's straightforward, to the point, and not so junked up with marketing S**T that you can't find what you want.
      • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:29PM (#27481509)
        Seriously. Very few sites are as easy to navigate as Craigslist. They don't force unnecessary pagination for increased ad views. They don't base their entire layout around cramming ads into the middle of content that you're trying to read. The search is helpful and effective. The community around flagging / cleaning up garbage posts is pretty good. It's a tough site to beat. I hope they never jump on the idiotic web 2.0 bandwagon.
        • by sootman (158191)

          I like Craigslist as much as anyone, but #$%&#$ I wish they'd database-ize their listings. They could make it optional when placing an ad, but if people WANTED to use dropdowns for specific things, they could, and they'd probably sell more because people could search better and find them more. I'd LOVE to be able to search for four-door cars with manual transmissions, or G5 PowerMacs with 1 GB RAM or more, or tablet PCs with screen > 11 inches, or rooms for rent for less than $750 a month, etc.

          Also,

      • by corsec67 (627446)

        Exactly, a simple interface with good, useful information is pretty much the best kind of website.

      • by Vellmont (569020)


        It's straightforward, to the point, and not so junked up with marketing S**T that you can't find what you want.

        The other reason I think the simple design wins is simply because it's cheaper. Text is SMALL bandwidth and storage wise, easy to search, and doesn't require a lot of processing. The UI is simple, and really doesn't change much so do you don't need a team of programmers to support it. Craigslist has such a small operating cost, there's really no chance they'll go out of business.

        I think the reas

        • by Quothz (683368)

          I think the reason you don't see a lot of "me too" sites competing isn't because the UI is so great for the end user, it's really how could you possibly compete with a site as popular as craiglist? Some things tend to create natural monopolies because there's an advantage to everyone using one resource. Ebay is one of those kinds of things, craigslist is another. It's a feedback loop where both parties benefit.

          I agree somewhat, but I think craigslist got popular, in part, because of the easy interface. After some critical point, it became a household word and a standard resource for many people, which cements it into its niche pretty tightly.

          It is in no way a natural monopoly, tho'; nor is eBay. For one thing, the cost to enter the market as a competitor is not exceptionally high. For another, natural monopolies are industries, not companies. I daresay both companies are monopolies, for what it's worth.

    • by blhack (921171) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:19PM (#27481363)

      The surprising thing is that all that "web 2.0" crap? Yeah, not that many people actually like it very much, especially not nerds (from what I've seen).

      Craigslist is so popular because it just works there are no stupid buttons or widgets are anything that doesn't work on anything other than IE6 running on windows XP.

      This is just my own experience, so bear with me here.
      I remember when digg first came out, I was on that site all day, every day reading stories, posting stories, commenting on stories etc. etc. etc.
      Then...well, then they changed the layout, added all kinds of gradients and 50 billion buttons that have no discernible purpose. I think I continued trying to use the site before I gave it up and migrated back to fark.
      Then...and this one made me really sad, Slashdot jumped on the web 2.0 bandwagon. What was once a clean, obvious, straight-forward website was transformed into a disgusting mess of collapse/expand buttons (wtf, guys...really?), buttons, more buttons, buttons here and buttons freaking everywhere. slashdot.org/~$username/ no longer took me to my comment history, but rather to some mess of a page with no sort of explanation and, you guessed it, more fucking buttons. Also, some sort of a speech bubble with a number in it next to my latest one? What the hell is that?

      So I've decreased my usage of slashdot but don't know where to turn to? There is my own website [gibsonandlily.com] which i tried to make as clean as I could. There is reddit, which is an ungodly clusterfuck of conspiracy theorist whackjobs who think that the government is out to get them and post stories like "How can I hack a satelite?" which gets rocketed on to the front page.

      It seems like the only place left, really, is hackernews. Their confusing policy of not having their name be the same as their URL has kept MOST of the retards away, but I fear that they're going to discover bookmarks soon. /rant over.

      What we're experience is what I call "designers designing for designers". Its what happens when a designer (or a coder in this case) changes something because it looks really cool to people in-the-know, but fucking hideous to the people actually doing the consumption. Craigslist seems to be immune to this syndrome. I have no idea why, but I suggest that if they ever hire a graphic designer we take a flamethrower to their wacom tablet and CSS manual immediately.

      • by dltaylor (7510) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:38PM (#27481625)

        Change your /. prefs. Other than the sometimes lame colors they use, I don't see any of that silliness, once I'm logged in.

        • by dkf (304284)

          Change your /. prefs. Other than the sometimes lame colors they use, I don't see any of that silliness, once I'm logged in.

          Alas, it still sometimes slips through. The firehose and metamoderation interfaces are particularly lame that way.

      • by Luyseyal (3154)

        Then...and this one made me really sad, Slashdot jumped on the web 2.0 bandwagon. What was once a clean, obvious, straight-forward website was transformed into a disgusting mess...

        Yep. Lite mode, FTW!

        -l

      • One thing I hate is when the "visited" color on a link is disabled or set to the same as the "unvisited" color. That way you can't tell at a glance which links you've visited already. Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more common to do that, because the designers feel it upsets the color balance of the page or something; to heck with user friendliness, their "artistic sensibility" is more important.

        I see you've disabled it on your website, which you made "as clean as I could". Please read Jacob Nie

      • by mgblst (80109)

        Change to slashdot lite in your preferences. A much cleaner site. Just wish they didn't have these big black bars separating posts.

    • by eltonito (910528) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:20PM (#27481385)

      I recently overheard a web developer raving about this new online classifieds website he was launching in a few months. From what I could tell, it was solely focused on competing with Cragislist and they were going to achieve this by having very slick, graphical interface and unlimited sub-categorization. They were spending big money on this website and it was going to show!

      Right then and there I knew their website, whatever it was called, was doomed to fail because they had missed the point. People neither need nor want a graphically slick, over-produced, banner-ad infested place to trade their toaster for a case of panty hose.

      To boil your post (and maybe mine) down to a Han Solo quote "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."

      • That's not to say his site will fail. The problem with so many bad web sites is that the UI is BAD. Craigslist has a very good UI, though it's incredibly simple. If someone designed a great graphical UI, then they could blow away Craigslist. The problem with so much UI development is that the assumption is that more is more without regard for the mechanics of the UI.

        I like Craiglist and I'm a regular visitor, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Craigslist's UI is very underrated. It isn't pretty to look at- so people don't realize what an effective UI it is. It doesn't constantly foist the trendiest UI gimmick of the week on everybody. It's ugly. But it doesn't needlessly confuse you or piss you off. And the ugliness sort of goes along with the message- if you wanted pretty style sheets you'd be getting less good deals elsewhere- that's what those drab colors are telling you. Ebay is butt ugly for the same reason. You really feel like you're suffe

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
          "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
          —Antoine de St. Exupery
    • by GPLDAN (732269)
      Like ebay; but without the evil.

      It's also fascinating to watch Ebay implode. They alienated the seller groups, and then they started alienating the rank and file once they slipped on allowing fraudsters through the net.

      It's as if Craiglist flourished because of the need for the direct deal. Not everyone wants to auction their stuff, people want looser, directly negotiated deals without the bullshit of 'Buy It now' and holdback auctions with reserves ("I know what I will let this go for, but I'm not te
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonbryce (703250)

      Gumtree is a lot more popular than Craigslist in Britain.

      I guess it is the network effect again. Gumtree has a lot more British ads, so more Brits visit it. People put their ads their because more people see them.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

        Never heard of that one before...

        Its search sucks though. I searched for 'ipod' and it recommend half a dozen cars, some hifis, a number of rooms to rent (!), and a pair of underwear (!!!).

    • by demachina (71715)

      The only problem, in the unintended consequences category, is Craigslist is destroying one of the first bastions of democracy, newspapers and journalists whose full time job it was to root out corruption in government and business, and expose it. That is something we sure could be using more of now instead of less, and we are getting less as nearly every newspaper is cutting to the bone, for folding all together.

      You could argue that bloggers and websites will fill the void but I'm skeptical. The main prob

      • I've missed the WaPo and the NYT since they turned into eviscerated shadows of their former selves - no future tense is required to describe a done deed.

        That there was a second term of the Bush administration at all is a quite damning indictment of the "serious" mainstream media outlets like the Post and the Times. If that's the level of journalism we can expect from these outfits in the 21st century, then fuck 'em.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715)

          "If that's the level of journalism we can expect from these outfits in the 21st century, then fuck 'em."

          So you are advocating no journalism at all, or do think Huffington Post is the answer to our problem? Tyrants and despots will certainly like your point of view.

          One problem main stream media had in the first term of the Bush administration was 9/11 and the frenzy that followed which pretty much muzzled all dissenting view points until the chinks started showing in their armor with Katrina and the wheels

  • by Experiment 626 (698257) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:01PM (#27481145)

    97 of Top 100 Classified Sites are Craigslist

    So THAT's the top secret info Uncle Sam puts on SIPRnet hmm? People going through the trouble get get a government security clearance must be really disappointed.

  • Classified? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Baranovich (522871)
    Did anyone else see 'Classified' and think something else entirely?
  • when the adult section is removed.

    It's nothing new folks, everyone knows the most popular search word on the Internet.

    • by Wildclaw (15718)

      "It's nothing new folks, everyone knows the most popular search word on the Internet."

      What everyone "knows" is usually wrong [google.com].

  • Finally indexed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imajinarie (1057148) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:09PM (#27481245)
    I may be off here, but part of the reason of the reason Craigslist may be gaining popularity is because its listings are finally well indexed by search engines, where as of a year or so ago, they weren't [searchenginejournal.com]- now when I search for an item or service, Craigslist actually shows up in the relevant hits! The more users who see Craigslist in google results, the more likely they maybe are to list with it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by imajinarie (1057148)

      I may be off here, but part of the reason of the reason Craigslist may be gaining popularity is because its listings are finally well indexed by search engines, where as of a year or so ago, they weren't [searchenginejournal.com]- now when I search for an item or service, Craigslist actually shows up in the relevant hits! The more users who see Craigslist in google results, the more likely they maybe are to list with it.

      Sorry - SearchEngineJournal.com link here [searchenginejournal.com]

    • by corsec67 (627446)

      As of a year ago they were indexed pretty well. Google at least seems to crawl craigslist very well.

      I was selling a stove, with some triple-wall duct. After I posted the ad, I wanted to find out more about triple-wall duct, and my ad was the first hit for something I just mentioned in the ad once.

  • Post links to a blog which links to a PDF "report" that's basically a press release. None of which do anything other than fawn over Craigslist.

    So what are the remaining three sites?

  • One thing that has always baffled me is that they don't put up any web advertisements for the purposes of bringing in income. They are pretty low budget in terms of operating and only really charge for certain [commercial] listings. Why not put up some ads though? Even if you want to be modest and don't need the money, you could at least donate it to charity or build a big stack of 100 dollar bills, put two eyes on them, and tell people this is the money you could be saving with Geico. Come on!
    • by pileated (53605) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:28PM (#27481505)

      Well maybe,just maybe, that's the very reason that they're so popular! They give users what they want, not what someone in marketing/advertising thinks users ought to want, or what will give them a few more ad dollars but drive users off. They're old cliches but it seems silly to argue with success or fix what's not broken.

      I'm going to make a very broad statement here: the most successful parts of the internet give users content, not advertising. Advertising revenue is a byproduct and it's a mistake to make it the priority as many sites have done, all the while arguing of course that they haven't.

      • by madsheep (984404)
        Maybe but I don't think advertising ruins everything. Look at all of the sites that are more popular than Craigslist. Show me which ones don't have ads. Hell look at the top of the screen as you read this.. what's that? An ad! Just make it small/low key and do more with it. Not might site, so who cares but it would be nice with their amount of traffic.
        • by dAzED1 (33635)

          people don't come to /. to do a quick search for a toaster. Instead, they come to chastise those who can't see the difference between a discussion forum, and a classified ad site ;) /. also doesn't (as far as they admit, at least) charge for making postings in any areas.

          Want a comparison? www.google.com [google.com]. Go on, look at it. pretty simple and to the point, isn't it. Compare it to www.yahoo.com [yahoo.com]. All that busy-junk, wall-of-text crap on yahoo's site? Yup, that's why they aren't doing as well as google.

        • There is an ad at the top of the screen?

        • by bit01 (644603)

          Just make it small/low key and do more with it.

          An unobtrusive ad is a non-functioning ad. It is a non-sustainable business model.

          ---

          "Advertising supported" just means you're paying twice over, once in time to watch/avoid the ad and twice in the increased price of the product to pay for the ad.

    • Because ads are annoying as all get out and they'll reduce traffic. I've enjoyed using craigslist almost since the day it was started for my city. Half of the reason for that is the simplicity of its interface and the lack of garbage. Will you greedy people please stay quiet and let craigslist continue to be awesome? We don't need another flash menu / ad / web 2.0 / rss / twitter filled pile of junk.
  • ... on that news story and the Hitwise report it links to.
  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:26PM (#27481477)
    Top scams I've had to deal with on Craigslist:
    1. Bogus job postings to get personal info for identity theft (This is also happening on Monster, CareerBulder, etc...)
    2. The overpaying for items and asking for balance to be sent back via Western Union
    3. Bogus checks
    4. Folks overseas saying they have homes for rent.

    The old Western Union trick:

    You're selling an item for $1,000. Someone wanting to buy it sends you $2,000. They say "Oops!" could you send me the balance back to me via Western Union and I'll pick up the item later. You do so. Their original $2,000 check bounces and they have your $1,000. You're out $3,000 and YOU OWE IT, baby!

    The scam works many ways but it usually involves you sending a Western Union money gram or some other method where, once you send the money, it's gone. The renting overseas homes works similar to this.

    Jobs. Do not give personal information, DOB or SSN, until you've met them and you have verified they are actually an employer.

    Some employers, such as governments, insist on a SSN so they run you through Choicepoint, the credit bureaus and other Big Brother corporate entities before they will consider you for employment. I only get those forms when I'm on the interview. I wouldn't give the information to them unless you get an interview.

    You need to be very careful on Craigslist.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You need to be very careful when answering any ad from just about anywhere.

      FTFY.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:42PM (#27481677) Journal

      You need to be very careful on Craigslist.

      You need to be very careful online.

      The problem is that Joe User doesn't understand infosec, and trusts too much. Period.

    • by sexconker (1179573) on Monday April 06, 2009 @06:23PM (#27482141)

      NEVER use Western Union.
      NEVER accept cashier's checks as payment.
      ALWAYS wait a week after the payment has "cleared" before processing any refunds or "oops I paid too much!".

      The trick you describe is more commonly done with cashier's checks. The bank you take it to will say it's valid and give you the money. But all they're really doing is checking to see if it points to a real bank. Once that bank receives it for processing, they look at it and say "what the fuck is this shit you're trying to pull" and demand the money back from your bank.

      Your bank then thinks you're a counterfeiter. You face not only the debt of the original check, the loss of the sent back "over paid" money, the loss of the item (if you've sent it), but you also face criminal charges if you can't cough up the original amount in a couple weeks.

      Yes the bank knows about the scam.
      No, they don't believe you - they think you're in on it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RincewindTVD (1011435)
        I thought cashier's cheques were guaranteed by the originating bank?
        Last time I made one they took the money out of my account, then handed me the cheque. I no longer had the money, I had a note guaranteed by the bank. I could hand this to someone else and they would get the money from the bank, not from me.

        Does anyone know if NZ banks have this issue?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by maxume (22995)

          They are. That doesn't help you much if I give you a forgery.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          and if the originating bank was a color laser printer that don't mean shit.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phoebe (196531)

          I thought cashier's cheques were guaranteed by the originating bank? Last time I made one they took the money out of my account, then handed me the cheque. I no longer had the money, I had a note guaranteed by the bank. I could hand this to someone else and they would get the money from the bank, not from me. Does anyone know if NZ banks have this issue?

          It's a fallacy with US banking, both cashiers cheques and bankers drafts are as useless as regular cheques for guaranteeing payment. Both can be bounced by the originating bank for a variety of reasons. Cashiers cheque are generally more dangerous as your account can be credited earlier, as required by federal law, than when the clearance occurs so you account can appear in credit but later in debit.

    • by pz (113803)

      The most common scam on Craigslist I've seen is that someone responds to a for-sale listing with a request to ship the item because they are indisposed in another country / on business / on assignment, and want to buy the item for their sister / nephew / cousin, and they will send you a substantial extra amount of money for your trouble to ship the item, if you give them your PayPal information.

      I get these scam offers at least once for every item posted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      You're selling an item for $1,000. Someone wanting to buy it sends you $2,000. They say "Oops!" could you send me the balance back to me via Western Union and I'll pick up the item later. You do so. Their original $2,000 check bounces and they have your $1,000. You're out $3,000 and YOU OWE IT, baby! I hate to question your math, but it seems to me like you're out $1000 if you haven't shipped the item yet, or $2000 if you have shipped it.
    • by Eil (82413) on Monday April 06, 2009 @07:11PM (#27482621) Homepage Journal

      The problem that I have with craigslist is that they're refusing to scale their staff and procedures in accordance with their popularity. In some categories, the spam/scam level is as high as 90% so clearly whatever they've been doing for the last few years isn't working. If you're a legitimate user whose IP has been marked on their system as suspicious and try to post an ad, they tell you to jump through a bunch of hoops (including creating an account, verifying the account, etc) that lead absolutely nowhere. They have no technical support and do not respond to emails.

      I like the idea of craigslist, but I fear that the site is going to collapse under the weight of its own success unless they start engineering some practical, scalable solutions to the problems of spammers, scammers, as well as legitimate users.

    • by drew (2081)

      Interesting. I've never looked for a job on Craigslist, so I wouldn't know about that aspect of it, but every single item I've bought or sold on Craigslist was paid for in cash. I thought that was the whole draw of Craigslist - by dealing with people face to face and exchanging cash, you don't have to worry about any of the crap.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      I find it hard to believe that you actually experienced all of these yourself, unless you are very unlucky/stupid.

  • It's Ebay from... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ceiynt (993620)
    the year 2000. Everybody had to be on it. It will explode into this huge mass, consuming everything, for the next 5-6 years. It will be bought for over $2 billion(USD). It will turn to crap shortly there after, and by 2016, a new online overlord will rise from the IPv6 pit of doom to consume the next generation of online users.
  • Something is very fishy about all these Craigslist success stories. Everyone knows you can't have a successful web site without lots of blinking flash ads staring you right in the face. I mean, look at Craigslist, it hasn't even had a bit of Search Engine Optimization added. Just think about how much more money they could be making if they replaced every <a> tag with a Javascript function.

  • A CEO's quote upon firing one of the salesmen:

    "It takes no particular talent to sell a dollar for fifty cents."

    When craigslist starts charging for all of its ads, not just a handful, then its high rankings will impress me.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      that's the point. CL makes plenty of money on their charged ads and gathers a large enough crowd with the rest.
  • by qpawn (1507885) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:50PM (#27481769)

    Where else can I tell that short, brunette woman in the purple shirt who barely made eye contact with me in the bookstore that I would like to see her again?

  • Hooray (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Monday April 06, 2009 @06:05PM (#27481925)

    I'm happy for Craigslist to destroy the newspaper industry (at least in the English speaking world), so long as it takes Rupert Murdoch and his empire with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Small and medium sized newspapers are rarely owned by what you perceive as "big media", and are one of the last remaining sources for local news. Don't go wishing for their death too quickly (unless you're just trying to sound cool by hatin' on the media).

  • Newspapers want lots and lots of money. Who doesn't? But, newspapers want you to re-arrange your life in order to try and post online (register for an account, go through 10 screens to try and post something, talk to a representative, etc) and charge you for the privilege. They will charge you even more if you want it in newsprint. Craigslist on the other hand is easy, does not fight the user, and is not greedy. Craigslist makes lots and lots of money. News at 11.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      That's true for all industries. Some will charge you a lot because they only got a few customers and want to get their return on investment by the time the next quarter turns around. They usually grow very quickly, gain investment capital, get some customers and then disappear. Why: because there are few customers that can afford their services and they can't afford to lose a customer. If they do (either because they make a mistake and the customers leave or other alternatives are cheaper), it's usually the

    • by Zerth (26112)

      Newspaper classifieds are a feature to attract readers, not a profit center.

      My regional newspaper makes maybe 1.5-2 million/year on classifieds. After the cost of the newsprint, facilities, office space, and the dozen or so employees, they'd barely break even if the paper considered them as anything other than a means to increase readership.

      They've decided to focus on local features and metro area online forums. They'd probably be happy if craiglist took their lunch, it'd give them the excuse to can the un

      • by nelsonal (549144)
        That's because your paper is a regional. Classified is the highest margin business for local papers. They essentially had a local monopoly on small scale local trade advertising. Craigslist showed them that the marginal cost of such ads in the internet age was near 0.
  • Not exactly true (Score:3, Informative)

    by Percy_Blakeney (542178) on Monday April 06, 2009 @06:50PM (#27482445) Homepage

    I think this report is misleading. It should be titled "97 of top 100 pure-play classifieds sites are craigslist".

    Hitwise assigns every web site to a single category, like "classifieds" or "news". If your site spans multiple categories, then you have to choose the one that defines you best. Since many traditional classifieds providers are also large news sites, you'll find that there are a lot of major sites that are missing from this list of "classifieds" sites.

    I'm not saying that craigslist isn't the powerhouse of online classifieds, but to simply ignore a wide range of classifieds providers because they also provide news is kind of silly.

  • I tried using the local Craigslist to look for apartment rentals. However the results were probably 1 real post for every 5 or 6 fake posts. Most were pointing you to another website that requires a membership fee, pointing you towards a housing broker, or flat out scam to get personal information.
  • in 75 comments and 2 linked articles do we learn the other 3 sites :(

    in fact it seems only 1 person asked

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday April 06, 2009 @07:06PM (#27482593)

    Rather than making themselves community sites to attract the eyeballs that would generate revenue, so many online sites treat the internet like a cash register. On-line advertisements should have been as dirt cheap (or free) as Craigslist since printing costs don't warrant what most charge for on-line ads.

    Also, so many on-line newspapers haven't figured out how to create a good front page. Check out my home paper's site [kcstar.com]. You're bombarded by so much data and links that you simply can't take in everything you're seeing (thus you ignore most of it).

    Newspapers just failed to figure out the internet which is why so many are disappearing.

  • the site's market share in February was up 90% year over year, accounting for about 2.5% of total US Web site visits.

    It's amazing what you can do when you put functionality ahead of everything -- design, cashflow, tracking -- everything on Craig's List is second to plain functionality.

  • by poached (1123673) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:26PM (#27483655)

    I never had a bad experience buying from Craigslist. At first, I wasn't very sure about sending sellers emails using my personal email, but to this day, I have not had any massive spam increases (gmail filters them out anyway), nor any crazy stalkers bothering me. I've furnished my entire studio with craigslist, for about maybe $400 and that's because I decided to spend a little money. For that I got:

    a. a super heavy and sturdy office desk with 3 drawers. It supports 2 21" CRT monitors and computer and receiver. Looks like it could take a lot more too. The seller offered to help me assemble it for free, which I took on his offer but decided to give him $10 extra for it. Total cost: $60.
    b. a recliner. I was looking for a recliner to put my feet up. All recliners I saw for new were like lazyboy ugly craps, or some designer stuff that costs about $900 at least. I found an old school leather recliner for $30.
    c. a dinner room table with 2 chairs. Fits my space perfectly. Cost $50.
    d. a bed side table with 3 drawers. Nice looking dark wood and not some assemble it crap. Cost: $90?
    e. two designer lamps. I springed for these and paid I think $200. These were brand new.

    I also purchased:
    a. 21" sweet CRT monitor for $10.
    b. a nice road bike that fits me well for $600. The seller was really cool and gave me a whole bunch of stuff for free and even gave me some technical support after.
    c. old clicky keyboard. New would've cost $85 but I got this one for $25. Turned out I couldn't use it and so I returned it. The seller gladly refunded my money.
    d. nikon lenses.

    I sold some computer memory through it and some other stuff. But generally I buy more than sell.

    Some things I wouldn't use craigslist for:
    1. personals. They are interesting/voyeuristic to browse, but you never know who is on the other side.
    2. cars. too expensive to bring cash. I watched on this tv show this murder happened because the seller knew the buyer was going to bring lots of cash so they arranged to meet at a secluded place and murdered the buyer.

    Some tips:
    1. You know what they say: if it's too good, it probably is.
    2. Don't meet at a deserted place late at night. Meet at a place that you are comfortable with and with lots of people around.
    3. Don't give out personal information, ever.

    Craigslist is also more useful in larger metropolitan areas. I used to live in a small town and hardly used it. But now I live in a larger city I use it a lot.
    Craigslist + RSS is also a major win.

  • People like fast, informative, easily accessible tools. Who would have thought.

    Craigslist works because one of the huge strengths of being an American is how flexible we are. We'll go down the road to Bestbuy if they have a good deal on item X. We'll go further down the road to Joe's Appliance Shack if he's got a better deal. But we'll even barter, trade, and pay cash money for goods if we can meet someone in person that has the best deal.

    When dealing online we get detached from who we are dealing with

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