from Daily Trojan, January 27, 2004
Find it all in one place
By Grace Choe
Craig's List provides users with a number of classified ads in various categories.
These words describe it all: "one-stop shopping center." It beats Target, malls and the classified section of the Los Angeles Times.
Welcome to Craig's List (craigslist.org), where viewers can find anything ranging from jobs, apartments and appliances to lawyers, hiking partners and one-night stands.
"Quirky" and "convenient" are the words to describe Craig's List, which is a Web site that has classified ads divided into six sections, including housing and personals, which are then divided into anywhere from 13 to 26 subcategories.
"The format is really easy to access," said Meredith Brooks, a USC student who double majors in public relations and political science.
"There are items and jobs on there that you can't normally find in a regular newspaper."
The mastermind behind this phenomenon is a self-professed "geek" named Craig Newmark, who studied computer science at Case Tech in Cleveland.
"It started off with a simple e-mail list with a dozen friends, where I would send them information about art and technology events in the San Francisco area," Newmark said.
"People began saying that they wanted more, so over time I added jobs, stuff for sale, apartment listings and the site just started to grow."
Newmark said that in mid-1995, the e-mail list started growing so long that he had to switch to using a listserv.
"I was going to call it 'SF events,' but people already called it 'Craig's List,'" Newmark said. "In a way, the Web site wasn't my idea -- it was the community's idea."
Shortly after the startup, the site was the rage in San Francisco, spreading only through word-of-mouth. The Web site did not have any press for the first three years, and now, the San Francisco Web site alone gets an estimated 4 million hits each month.
"I think what makes us different is that our site has genuine personality and we have built a culture of trust," Newmark said, who works about 60 hours a week to maintain the site with his team. "Our future plans are to expand it to more cities and provide a better way where people can connect to each other."
Craig's List is already available in 33 major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego, as well as internationally; London, Toronto and Vancouver each have one, and there are future plans to create lists for Sydney, Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris.
"People who are planning to move to another city can scout out the market beforehand through the site," Brooks said. "I plan on moving to Hawaii after graduation, and they have a Craig's List there so I've been able to scout out the market, checking apartments and job listings."
The site is funded entirely by a San Francisco job-posting fee. Anyone who wants to post job listings on the San Francisco site has to pay $75, which funds the maintenance of all the Web sites and the employees who run them.Each city's site is formatted similarly, and the sections include community, housing jobs, personal, for sale and services.
"Community" has categories such as activity partners, events, volunteers and rideshare. Jessica Amador, 28, who studied religion and philosophy at UC Berkeley, grew up in the USC area and frequently travels back and forth from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where her mother lives.
"I'm living in San Francisco right now and need to get down to L.A. once in a while so I use the site to find rides," Amador said. "The people I get rides from are nice and usually young guys, who I end up keeping in touch with."
She uses the rideshare category to post her offer and said that paying for the drive is a lot cheaper than flying back and forth."It's a great site, and I've found my apartment and my job through Craig's List," Amador said.
Under "Housing," some of the subcategories include rooms/shared, sublets/temporary and housing swaps, where, for example, one man is offering to temporarily swap his Northern Italy three-bedroom home for a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles.
In the "For Sale" section, there are listings for computers, collectibles and event tickets, among others. There is even a barter category where people offer such things as personal training lessons for a laptop, free photography for massages and housecleaning in exchange for PowerPoint lessons.
"Personals" has subcategories such as women seeking men, men seeking men, casual encounters and rants and raves. Rants and raves which is a subcategory where people can post whatever is on their mind regarding politics, racism, romance, life and everything in between. A recent listing was titled, "Has anyone had the new McNuggets?"
"Check out the 'Best-of' section," Newmark said. "You'll find lots of entertaining stuff there."
The section lists postings that were selected by readers, and most of the reads are a guaranteed laugh. For example, there's "Um, Body? May I Have a Word?" or "My First Trip Through Craigsland."
Craig's List is convenient and a great tool for anyone to use, thanks to the layout and the content matter. It was originally created for the community and is now controlled by the community. First-time users should spare at least a couple hours on the first visit because it gets addicting fast.