Craigslist’s Success

Hi my readers, I need some help for you. I am thinking hard about the success of craigslist in San Francisco and other cities in U.S. I just read an article on Craigslist written by a reporter from 21st Century Econoics Report. He visited SFO and interviewed Craigslist and created the nice report. (It is one of my favorite newspaper that I will buy at the news stand twice everyweek).

For those who has used Craigslist or highly rely on it, would you please help me to list top 5 most attractive things in Craigslist or the top 5 reasons why Craigslist is so successful? Thanks.

28 thoughts on “Craigslist’s Success

  1. 1st and the only one: Craigslist does not require an account. Most users only want to try it once, and after the first business completed, they start to love it.

    This is actually a double-sided sword, Craig has to manually find and delete spam and other junks.

    One comment: maybe you need to ask the top 5 reasons people do *not* love craigslist as well?

    –eraera: someone who was born from a city near the one you were born, graduated from the same univ., know MVM, isaac mao and Paul Denlinger, being your wife’s co-worker for sometime and still reading your blog to learn about Shanghai from the other end of the tiny flat world…

  2. Craig’slist is great for so many reasons, but the feature I value most is how easy it is to sort the listings geographically. I live about an hour south of San Francisco, and the Bay Area is really very spread-out. If I want to find volunteer opportunities, or activities close to home, I can sort by neighborhood and not have to scroll through listings that would be too far to drive. But, if I’m going to be in another location on a particular day, I can sort for that neighborhood and find out if there is anything especially interesting going on. Or, if I need to buy something and would not mind going farther afield to acquire the right item (something like a car, or a musical instrument, or a dog :-) I can look through all the listings for the entire area.

    So far from Craig’slist I have found our dog, a person to take care of our dog when we are away traveling, a job for my good friend’s son, a young woman from Korea who needed help proof-reading an academic essay which I was able to provide, the crew of workers who are repairing our roof this very minute, people to paint the outside of our house, people to do some concrete work for us, volunteers to help drive cancer patients to medical appointments, and a free place to store a large amount of building materials for a community project.

    Craig’slist is absolutely amazing!

    I will be eagerly following the development of Kijiji, Jian Shuo. If you can do for your community, even a fraction of what Craig’slist has done for ours, you will have made a huge difference in life!

    Personal note: I still did not receive that message back from you about your San Jose plans, Jian Shuo. Do you still have my “real” e-mail address (not the hotmail one)? I’ll send you another test message so you can capture it from there if you want to.


  3. Even though I am not a regular on craig’slist. I am impressed by its simplicity and easy reach to mass audiances. Besides selling 2rd hand products, Craig’slist offers a varity of services, which target different ppl. Its platform setup differently from Ebay’s and other trading websites, which became more and more focused on professional buyers and sellers. Many ppl on such sites are purely profit driven. Ebay is an extraordinary company with a great business model, but it is unlike Ebay 10 years ago based on the personal feeling. The layout of causual community is the most appealing selling point for Craig’slist, which has personal touches and connections that Ebay lacks. Clicking into Ebay, you will find youself in a formal business structure more like walking in a department store. On the other hand, Craig’slist just like a Mom/Pop shop around the corner. Put this way, if Ebay is a business entity, then I would say Craig’slist is a nonprofit organization. As someone mentioned above it is a double edged sword. Just a note, A great entity has to have both business and social conciousness. Really wish Kijiji finds its own way to serve the needs of both business and society.

  4. Craigslist is wonderful. I like it because it is:

    1) easy to use

    2) no need to register

    3) allow me to list my request in detail at no cost, except if you are posting a job.

    4) stay anonymous if you want to or let the whole world know who you are.

    5) find out what’s going on in the city just by reading the posting.

    I am a photographer and I find many of my model on craigslist. I located my studio on craigslist. I advetise my showing on cragislist. Others finds me on craigslist.

    I love using it.

  5. Carroll, sorry for the late reply – there are some problem with my hotmail that I could not open your previous emails. Let me try again. I am also using jianshuo at gmail dot com.

  6. Craigslist started out as somebody’s hobby. It didn’t set on itself to make money.

    Only that much later, it happened to become a lot of people’s favorite market place.

    That’s why it remains so simple. You can’t feel a corporation behind it. Entering Craigslist makes you feel that you joined your community’s bulletin board.

    So, right now, when you wanted to emulate Craigslist’s success, you have to realize that your psychology may be different as an owner.

  7. Just in the last few months on craigslist I found a new apartment, a cleaning service, a lawnmower, a couple of pieces of furniture, and a place to accept donations of things I didn’t need when I moved.

    Some other good things about craigslist: it doesn’t require much in the way of technical skill from users; it’s easy to post; it’s easy to use. This means that a very wide range of people can offer goods and services on it, such as landlords who only have one or two units to rent, and an equally wide range of people can shop for things on it.

    The site isn’t jazzed up with a lot of animation, frames, ads, and other fancy stuff, which means that it loads quickly and displays well even on old computers with outdated browsers (like the one I use at home).

    Because each user posts the information directly, instead of going through some central point, information is posted (and can be deleted) very quickly. If a landlord posts an apartment, they can take the information off craigslist as soon as they find a tenant. With other rental services (some of which have gone out of business as a result of craigslist) listings would sometimes be up for two or three weeks after the apartment was rented, either because the staff was too busy or because it looked better to prospective subscribers to have more listings available than there really were.

  8. What Craigs list has going for it is that it was started at a time when there was a need and picked up a lot of community support. It was a combination of filling a need, providing the right tools, and luck. Especially, with things like classifieds, the more participation there is, the more it attracts. Eventually, Craigslist became the 800 lb Gorilla of classifieds because they had developed a large, active community.

    Not requiring registration is a big plus also, in terms of attracting posts, but as mentioned, there ends up being a lot of crap to wade through to find the info, as well as, having some consistent moderation.

    Personally I think Cl has outgrown its seedy interface. WHile I am fine with UI being simple, there is alot I think it could do to make it easier to organize and find info. Then again, who am I to pick apart such an astounding success.

  9. Ask Craig how he is handling the government censorship on daily basis, or how Bush administration is harassing him and how he fights back.

    It’s the censorship, stupid!


  10. Ask Craig how he is handling the government censorship on daily basis, or how Bush administration is harassing him and how he fights back.

    It’s the censorship, stupid!


  11. Ask Craig how he is handling the government censorship on daily basis, or how Bush administration is harassing him and how he fights back.

    It’s the censorship, stupid!


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  13. I used to live in SF for 4 years, left the city about 2 yrs ago or so. Most people use craigslist mainly to find a place or a room to stay, and also to look for a roommate. The great advantage of craigslist is that it so popular in the bay area and it that it is free to post an entry except for job entry i believe. Almost if not all of my friends know what is. I also use craigslist when buying my secondhand TV and laptop, as well as looking for jobs available. Some of my friends tried the dating section, which i frequently read though never tried.

  14. How do I get my posting off Craigs List. My apartment was rented and now I am really frustrated my the constant calls. I dont know why I am unable to delete my posting.Any one have suggestions?

  15. craigslist is a success only for those who can post without being ban or deleted….craigslist flagging system is not fair….they trace the ip of people posting ads but they dont trace the people flagging the ads…they flag commercial site ads but they allow women to sell sex on line….they even allowed a 14 year old to prostitue herself in the bay area…of all places….craigslist will either be sued bigtime or will fizzile out like napster one of these days….there are 4 other sites who are competing heavily with craigslist and they are more ad friendly than craigslist…..i am not a fan of craigs even though i am in the bay area….i hope craigslist go down in the future

  16. oh yes mr know it alllll!!

    here censorship does not exist! no? thats what you think?!??!!

    fuck all of you!

    I hate this kind of people… really

  17. Hey,

    I was referred by a car salesman believe it or not in Anaheim. I live in Riverside, CA and I was wandering if this org can assist me with furnishing a couple of my sober livings that my boss and I are putting together for people on parole and NA/AA people. We are the parole employment program for the Riverside Parole office and we help parolees transition back into society as well as people who want to stay clean and sober. We have 2 already but we are struggling in making them a home with things a regular home needs, so I am requesting anyone who’s willing, we are asking for donations for furniture, houseware, yard things, bedding, dishes, towels,

    EVERYTHING!!! If you can help we would really appreciate it.

    if you need more info…email me back.


    Michelle Montoya

  18. hello.Jian Shuo.

    i am a super latecomer to your blog.

    looks like very good stuff you got here. hope you do great in years to come.

    i am just wondering…maybe these are a silly questions (reply to me personally if you prefer):

    what is the room for growth for kijiji right now, 2 years since its start? is there any revenue model to it? i only see these things survive only without any revenue model. is that true?


    is there room for survival for OTHER community classified website out there? is there room for new ones still?

  19. I love that you can find every shape, size, color, specialty prostitute in the Erotic section. Oh, man it’s great, like going to the candy store. Thousands of them in every city I travel to on business. I love you craigslist.

  20. anyone can take down an ad on craigs. If you have dial up you just log into different numbers and flag the ad from each connection. I rarely post there anymore

  21. There are groups of people that are ganging up on posters and flagging off anyone’s ad they want – they flag rescues, shelters, community information ads, unspayed or unneutered dogs, people who misspell, people who write in capitols, free dogs, all pit bulls, free cats, all ferrets, all services, too high fee, no fee, supplies and much much more. They also regularly “google” people’s phone numbers and email addresses to post more personal information about breeders, “sellers” and who ever else they deem stalk worthy.

    I, personally, am more interested in the pet section because these are live animals needing homes, but please know that there are general flaggers also that gang up and target people. Competition flagging is another problem on Craigslist. If you are experiencing problems outside of the pet section – please refer to the general flagging forum link below. Also, be sure to contact if you are being harassed, targeted or slandered in any way. This is their site and they should do a better job of maintaining/moderating and supporting loyal users.

    This site is community based, so it is important that we quit letting these people decide how things work around here. Whenever I’ve emailed staff they’ve responded with “I need to hear that from more people.”

    Ask for an increase in the number of flags in your local area to remove an ad and ask that a Term be added addressing Abusive or Team Flagging in their Craigslist Terms of Use.

    Some of these flaggers are also known to hack the flagging system by using IP proxies to ensure the ads they want are removed.

    If you visit the forum below you will see that the forum has been recently semi-overtook by unhappy targeted pet posters – help out by joining in the conversations and discussions. Remember to protect your personal information by using an anonymous email through yahoo, hotmail or lycos. Have fun and try not to take any of it too seriously, although animal’s lives are at stake so it can get heated at any time. – For Pet Flagging – help out! Join in! – For General Flagging – No longer available to the public – ASKED BY CRAIGSLIST TO SHUT DOWN. – The Flag Help Forum ran by vicious anonymous flaggers. Fun to Argue with. – Tips and Tricks to posting on Craigslist, most important tip – REPOST often. is another group that is fighting the pet flaggers, they have put together a great website related to pet flaggers – contact them for more in depth information or to be added to their mailing list.

    if you’d like to complain privately – email one or all of them @

    Talk soon and keep your emails and forum posts as clean and as short as possible – gets the best response. Feel free to repost this in your community.

  22. I’ve had it with Craigslist, and here’s why:

    “If you have posted and been flagged three times just today, so now it doesn’t matter what changes you make as soon as the writing community sees you repost they will just flag you down again.

    Also. I really don’t know if a open call for story submissions is really a writing gig. That is really up for the community to decide, so if you take a break, repost and are flagged again you need to take the hint that your community doesn’t want your type of ad in their category.”

    The above is quoted from the response of a moderator to someone (not me) who requested submissions of children’s stories for audio book publication. Numerous similar ads are published on CL every day and never flagged. And for good reason. As the moderator acknowledges, there is NOTHING IN THIS AD THAT VIOLATES THE TERMS OF USE. Instead, it has been removed for arbitrary reasons, in his or her words, because the “community doesn’t want your type of ad.”

    Therein lies the problem with CL. I can think of no other service that allows a small minority of users (just six, in fact, out of the thousands who visit every day) to control all the other users AT THEIR WHIM, making decisions that are based not on set guidelines but because THEY FEEL LIKE IT. That is not right.

    And whether or not CL is free is irrelevant. CL is “free” in the same way basic TV or radio are free. There are advertisers paying for that content, but I still expect that when I turn on a given station, it should be broadcasting what it’s supposed to when it’s supposed to. The same goes for any web site. It’s free for me to read and use millions of web sites, but if they don’t provide the quality they promise, I have the right to complain and review them negatively just like anyone else.

    Why the person in the above example was targeted is beyond me. As a writer, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to see and answer this ad, and I’m sure many other writers would feel the same. Instead, I get to wade through clear bait-and-switches in the real estate section, porn ads in personals, and stay-at-home scams in the help wanteds, while legitimate ads are removed by teenagers sitting up at night with nothing to do but remove content that rubs them the wrong way for whatever reason.

    I’m not going to take the self-defeating attitude that if it’s broke, I might as well ditch it instead of fix it. That doesn’t improve anything or help anyone. Instead, whenever I see an opportunity to negatively review CL, I’m going to take it. I’ve noticed a lot of discontent and grumbling on this subject around the Internet lately. Eventually, as more and more users get fed up with CL, they may start to feel the loss of business. I hope they do.

  23. can you send different types of proxy or proxy server that changes every hour on

  24. For those of you out there use craiglist. This you have to know. It is not in the interest of us using it to have craiglist to be controlled by ebay which is nothing but a monopoly of commerce on the internet. If craiglist fall totally under ebay then all of us will be oppressed like the sellers of ebay. Ebay was a fun site to have both the sellers and buyers do business until the money monger Meg Whitman got into the picture and turned that fun site into a coin operating machine taking almost every cent from its sellers. Just search the internet to find the numbers of complaints against ebay really against Meg Whitman. KEEP EBAY INTEREST OUT OF CRAIGLIST!

  25. Hi,

    I am trying to post my ad on craiglist but all ads goes in ghosting.I tried to find what is problem but till no trace ,but I have doubt over IP.How can I delete all the traces of craiglist except deleting cookies and history in browser.

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