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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rich Skrenta On The Beauty Of Craiglist

Rich Skrenta analyzes the craiglist site and comes with an excellent assessment of where it stands, how it compares with others and how it may pan out in the future. Like the Drudge Report, this is a site that looks like it has a simple design, but there's actually a lot going on. The apparently-simplistic layout is like a stealth coating that keeps competitors from paying attention until it's too late.There was another company that used this trick, not so long ago. He compares the brilliance of craig newmark with that of the Google founders and predicts that Craig would in future end up like the Google dup. The hardest part of starting a community or usergen site is booting up the activity. Community is a network effect - posters only come if there are readers, and readers only come if there are posters. Craigslist is brilliant because its main activity is something that posters are inherently promiscuous with - personal spamming. In any other context, the bulk of the material on Craigslist would be considered spam. Craigslist is the UI polar opposite of Google. If you were to make the click-browse vs. search-box extreme that is not-Google it would be Craigslist. Just a home page stuffed with a sea of flat tag links. Craigslist is more Yahoo than Yahoo. It focuses on just what's important, without distractions and legacy constraints and compromises. Decimating newspaper classified advertising will just be footnote along this march. Look at the rest of the verticals that Craigslist so effectively covers. A cuddly, socially-responsible PR story helped Google's founders avoid suspicion of being merely clever, pragmatic capitalists that wanted to take over a bunch of markets with a monstrously successful business.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"