Saturday, December 30, 2006

Just *how* wild...

EVEN MORE: cleaned-up that comment (also deleted my follow-up comments to it): I'll try to keep everything not relevant to the topic off this blog (thanks for your pacience!) D.

MORE: you may want to skip the comment to this entry of my blog (a bit on the odd side...) D.


my follow-up comment:

yeah, you'd *have* to read...; hint: the first post is a good starting point:)-- tells you what it's all about (I couldn't believe there wasn't hardly *any* earnest craigslist criticism in the MSM or the blogosphere when I started this...)


P.S. Happy New Year!

I think sellsius will post my comment, they are probably just taking their time but here is my recreation from memory (I'm usually not bad at remembering things)

my comment (I *think*...)

Hi! (to whoever is writing this blog -- couldn't quite figure it out).

I think it remains to be seen just how "wild" Craig really is...


P.S. spooky picture, BTW

Rethink again!


my follow-up comment:


I’m suggesting it doesn’t work… (users' needs aren’t being met).

re: the *combination* of human-intensive customer service AND severely understaffed “customer service team” a la craigslist


a comment on Jon Udell's blog (sounds like a nice guy: most people honestly writing enthusiastically re: craigslist do... it's just hard to understand why the facts of the issue -- assuming they know them -- don't seem to make them at least wonder...)

re: "Although human-intensive customer service is usually regarded as costly and inefficient, operations like craigslist — where Craig Newmark’s title is, famously, customer service representative and founder — invite us to rethink that conventional wisdom"

well... I'd rethink again! (especially the *combination* of human-intensive customer service AND severely understaffed "customer service team" a la craigslist)


Friday, December 29, 2006

Larry&Sergei versus Craig

a comment to a Google related entry on Dan Gillmor's blog:

re: “For now, Google is taking no commission for brokering ad sales, though it intends to do so later. Such finer points of how a business relationship might work between newspapers and Google have yet to be worked out.”


This is what I was talking about… Larry and Sergei are upfront about it (this is a business move and the players’ expectation is that Google will look after its financial interest, not necessarily nickel and dime everything but even if they don’t start by charging there is no suggestion that Google is not in it for the money).

Now, it *seems* to me that if this would have been one of Craig’s enterprises it would have STARTED something like this:

“We just want to help folks out, ok? How much money does a guy need, anyways?” (“just trust our fabulous moral compass and … no! I’m not gonna tell you how much I will *profit* from this down the road — that just confuses me silly!” – well… It should! It certainly doesn’t make any sense to me, either…)


Craig's own press...

almost nobody seems to do their own research when writing craigslist related articles... they seem to just adopt without question whatever craigslist (Craig/Jim) says... no wonder Craig keeps saying that he doesn't believe his own press; a BBC interviewer told him that it *wasn't* his own press (unless he's orchestrated it all...) -- may not be far from the truth at all... if you can get people to just print what you say without questioning it... isn't that your own press?

anyways... here's my comment (the site moderates comments, I don't see any good reason for them not to post it but...just in case)

Hi, Joe! As to pretty much anybody else writing craigslist related articles, I suggest you check the facts...

e.g. “So I do think that's an advantage to be able to respond first and foremost to user wants and needs.”
(one of Jim's statements you quoted)

in order to respond to user *needs* (let's not even worry about their wants for now), you need enough people employed in customers service; craigslist is severely understaffed in this respect and appears to have no intention to hire the number of people that would be needed.


Friday, December 22, 2006

too much for the New York Times?

MORE: so at least some people must be still reading this stuff

my comment (pre-posting to the site, so this time it should be identical):

Tasha & whoever else is still listening...

I don't see anything wrong with for profits that are upfront about it (people know what they are getting themselves into -- there is no deceit).

I'd like to see a law that prevents a company from starting as a NON-PROFIT, garnering huge support as such (donations, expertise, word of mouth etc.) and THEN turning for profit...

Also, if you *claim* to be for profit but with a "philanthropic mindset" (which means you will get rewarded if people believe you)... you should be REQUIRED to disclose your profits so people could see what you are made of... If the numbers add-up...again! I don't see any problem...


UPDATE: Eileen West (according to her own post, "girlfriend of Craig") volunteers some info off the craigslist site re: craigslist being a for profit since 1999 and the fact that they don't *have* to disclose their profits... nothing new there...

my response (I had to recreate it again) not sure if New York Times will post it this time either... -- oh, well...) :

hi Eileen! Here is may intended response to Jay, above (it somehow didn’t get posted):

it (together with the rest of my craigslist criticism blog) should clarify to you why I believe that although craigslist turned for profit in 1999, from the ethical stand point, they should have voluntarily disclosed their profits

anyways, best of luck! D.

or are they just slow to post it for some reason? or did it get lost somehow? (don't know, nor do I care too much... -- definitely not going to look into it; I just wish I wouldn't have to recreate it from memory, wasn't at home when I posted it...well... *attempted to*...)

it was a response to comment 214

I was basically saying that:

-- it *seems* to me that keeping people in the dark as to how much they profit from what was supposed to be a non-profit is the "key (hidden) reason" for craigslist's continually increasing financial success

-- if people would know the cold basic facts re:CL (especially people *new* to craigslist) it appears that they wouldn't be willing to do much enthusiastic word of mouth -- it may be still worth giving it a try if you need a job etc. -- but it would be very unlikely to continue to have the "cult" following that results in huge growth rates

--that information (how much they make in *pure profit*) would be in the open if it would have stayed a NON-profit (legally, they can get away with not disclosing that info because they are now set up as a FOR profit; morally... it's a different issue...)

-- meanwhile, the places and things they charge for are increasing... and they keep talking about their fabulous moral compass and the great customer service (you should try going in the feedback forum sometimes and see how frustrated people in need of help get -- craigslist doesn't have nearly enough people to handle the customer service needs and appears to have no intention to hire the number of people that would be needed)

there! was that so bad? I don't see how...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Craig's *salary*?

Who cares...

and here's my comment:

the relevant question in Craig's case is how much he *profits* from CL -- salary (which I would expect to be relatively low doesn't really matter, he certainly appears to be in the position to volunteer...)


Late to the party! (almost didn't go...)

New York Times article: pleased to see some good points ... still they don't seem to go to the *core* of the issue... D.

P.S. just in case it will require registration at some point, here is my comment:

I’d reserve judgment until Jim and Craig disclose how much they *profit* from what was supposed to be a non-profit… As to now, they *refuse* to do that — I wonder why…


P.S. Oh..and… looks like a great publicity stunt to me!(

Sunday, December 17, 2006

did the people at LIME change their mind?

re: craigslist being a "good company" (this would explain removing the podcast itself and then... of course... my comment to it would be gone too... it was the only comment as far as I know)

why "customers"?

If Craig only intends to charge in a few categories (and places?), why call all craigslist users "customers"? You'd think "community member" would be more appropriate? Does his calling everyone "customer" betray his long term plans?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My comment re: craigslist goes Kaboom?

not to worry... I keep my comments in document form... so nothing really lost

UPDATE: this was the (now seemingly defunct) link to the LIME inteview

Is he a straight face lier?

Was he never in it for the "community" (is this and has it always been a way of making money and achieving power and influence)?

Here are some facts that might be relevant (I'll keep adding them as they come to me, feel free to point out others or comment on mine either through comments or email).

-- the earliest archived page for craigslist had a *commercial* extension

-- as of today (December 16, 2006) returns NO pages for either or (neither for or

craigslist publicity stunts?

”No users have been requesting we run text ads so that’s the end of the story”

I'd love it if someone who knows what I'm talking about would let me know what the link is (assuming the stuff is still on the internet: I'm looking for one of Craig's speeches where he says craigslist might consider text ads -- I remember it as being in an academic setting of some sorts, Berkeley School of Journalism seems the most probable to me but haven't been able to find it; so if you have the link or know it was there but is no longer available... please let me know! thanks!)


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

what's the reference point? (for judging craigslist)

what *should* it be?

a non-profit that covers it's "normal" expenses and uses whatever exceeds to make improvements and such? (in this case it seems to fall short by a whole lot) or the "evilest" of for profits (monetize, monetize, monetize...)

given craigslist's history and claims, I don't see how it could possibly be the latter (yet, mistakengly, this seems to be the standard it gets judged by)

what's worse: it could only be accurately judged by the second standard *in the long run* (we don't have enough info at this point and the info we *do* have doesn't look good... if you look at what seems to be the trend)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

something to cheer about!

Trevor Smith was a lot more of what I was looking for... (somebody willing to look at the facts)

always look a craigslist critic under the hood!

Sweet Chris Abraham just wants to sell his wares... now... isn't that *sweet*? (Nothing wrong with that, of course... just not what I was looking for...) D.

Craig *knows* what I'm talking about...(yet he prentends not to...)

UPDATE: well... thekaran's link still works but the LIME link (referred to in one of my comments on thekaran's blog... doesn't seem to work anymore: now it asks people to register even to *view* stuff and I don't want you to have to do that... so here is my comment to what was a podcast interview done by somebody called "Chris" something -- community manager at LIME, if I remember right -- Craig Newmark was being interviewed in the context of craigslist being a "good company" (weirder still, I can't find the podcast and my comment to it when *logged in* to their site -- I had to register to post that comment so I can search now).

Oh well... here you go:

Hi Chris! Interesting interview… doesn’t seem to square off very well with the facts, though…..

The cold basic facts re: CL seem to be that it started as a NON-PROFIT (and people donated a whole lot resources – time, expertise, word of mouth etc.) under the assumption that it was going to stay that way… Then it asked people what they could charge for to *pay for the bills* (it had previously had sponsored ads) and turned FOR profit (meaning that profits, big or small, were no longer going to stay within the company and pay for things like improvements, as it would have happened if it had stayed a non-profit – from now on, all profits were going to go straight into the pockets of the shareholders).

They refuse to disclose how much they make in *pure profit* but by all accounts is has been a WHOLE lot more that what they asked the community for (to *pay for the bills*). Meanwhile, the places and things they charge for are increasing…

Yes, they could charge for a lot more things (or at least *attempt* to do so) but that doesn’t seem to make financial sense *for the long run* (because the list propagates organically by NOT charging…). So the trick seems to be to figure out what is the “critical mass” (level of usage for a particular category in a particular place) where even if you charge a “modest fee” (at least, *initially* modest) you wouldn’t lose much of the potential growth. As far as I can see, the pattern of charging in new cities follows this strategy: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, San Diego… etc.


what's this all about?

The purpose of this blog is to ask good questions about craigslist that are just not being asked (or are merely alluded to) not only in the main stream media but also in the blogosphere. I'm planning to do this through a combination of stand alone entries and comments I may post on other blogs or other online media.