Friday, January 12, 2007

All right! let's recap (or Rick's part 1)


All right! I'll stop reviewing this entry... (it should be good enough)

Rick's reply gives the perfect opportunity!

#1 "I agree with you that Lime removing the podcast probably means nothing."

I said nothing of the kind, I'm afraid...

here's what I said:

"I would consider that (removing the podcast from their site) as highly "negative," but I could be wrong, of course..."

in *my* book, removing the podcast that was presenting craigslist as a "good company" after I posted a comment questioning that... MEANS *something* and NOT a good thing ;) --> it means they changed their mind...

I try not to push my conclusions on other people so... that's what the "I could be wrong" phrase was intended to do (let you draw your own conclusion based on logic or whatever else you may prefer...)

#2 "The only significant criticism I could find you reference to is that Craig's List charges money. So?"

nope! my criticism wasn't that they charge money... following the link to my comment on the online New York Times would have clarified that:

"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…"

#3 "They asked their community for what services they should charge and how much."

according to what Craig was saying in that podcast (and in plenty of *others*) they asked the community what could they charge for *to pay the bills* (not to get rich themselves!)

-- they appear to have done this -- made in the millions for years-- while continuing to tell people to trust their moral compass, "philanthropic mind set" and what not... and REFUSING to disclose their profits...

-- the extent to which Craig &Jim have *profited* for years was only apparent when the 25% sale to ebay occurred in August of 2004 -- at the point there was finally a valuation of craigslist and a way to estimate profits; before that I doubt many suspected it -- people just trusted them... many still do -- I suspect because they don't know what's really going on, they continue to be kept in the dark as to how much Craig&Jim have been and are profiting from craigslist)

#4 "other orgs would have just charged all over the place. They didn't."

would they have STARTED as a *for profit* they could have charged whatever they wanted!... All over the place, as you say:)...

although, it appears that even in that case, charging all over the place, at this stage, would be a BAD *financial* move *for the long run* (because the list grows by NOT charging...)

they certainly appear to charge for jobs once a critical mass is reached in a particular location; yes they are still "asking"...if you can call it that -- there was no *choice* in the matter when the newer cities were added (plenty of people said *don't* charge!... -- that was just not under discussion...)

it seems to me that craigslist was trying to figure out what fee would keep most people there (as paying customers this time) and gave people a chance to complain (on *their* site instead of elsewhere -- good thinking!) if they found that helpful... (that was all it was going to accomplish)

#5 "Further there are bills to pay to maintain the operation sustainable."

there has never been a problem with paying the bills... (they could spend as much as they would like on those -- nobody in their right mind would find fault with that; in fact, they should be spending a whole lot more on customer service and improvements -- but that would cut into the *profits* the appear to be pocketing...)

#6 "If Craig & co. make money off of it so what?"

given their history and claims, that money should go towards customer service and improvements... funny thing: Craig keeps asking the rhetorical question :"how much money does a guy need, anyways?" (he would do well to answer it... keeping in my how much he profits from craigslist)

again, it would have been no problem whatsoever would they have been *upfront* about wanting to make money: that *wasn't* the deal when they started out -- for a very long time, plenty of people ended-up *donating* all sorts of resources (money, expertise, word of mouth) under the assumption that is was going to *stay* a non-profit (they had no idea Craig had commercial ambitions -- if that's what's going on -- he didn't tell them! on *the contrary*, he did everything to make them believe he didn't!) sounds like deceit to me...

and people are *still* donating resources (mostly time and good will, nowadays) believing Craig&Jim are NOT deceiving them... that they are NOT getting rich off of this... (yet, it doesn't seem to add-up...)

#7 "He is no Bob Nardelli pulling in $400M + over the last 6 years."

How do you know if they refuse to disclose their profits? I wouldn't be so sure :) ... craigslist is *very* profitable and has been for a long time... yet they continue to operate on a shoe string... bad, bad idea! (may well be the result of greed -- keeping profits as high as possible...).

#8 "Unless you can point to some skeletons in their backyard"

I did! Everything from starting as a non-profit, garnering huge support as such and THEN turning for profit (highly unethical if the point of doing that is to make money -- there should be a law against that!) to refusing to disclose their profits and continuing to get free work and word of mouth (aka. huge growth) as a consequence. And let's not forget being very thin on the very customer service they rave about...

It has deceit spelled all over it! It certainly looks like it, walks like it... etc.

#9 "I think that what they are doing is providing way more value than they are getting in return."

you *think*... (but you don't *know*...) we need to know how much they are "getting in return" and how does it play out *in the long run* (giving away "free stuff" now may be a good financial decision in the long run because you get growth as a result).

#10 " I may be wrong but I do not think Craig's List is a non-profit. I think it is a corporation. If it is a non-profit then there are filing & disclosure rules that it has to follow which would answer many of your concerns."

you are NOT wrong at all... actually that was one of my main points: that craigslist *started* non-profit and after garnering huge support as such...THEN turned for profit!

I also pointed out that that info (how much they make in *pure profit* would be out in the open would they have *stayed* non-profit -- well, in the sense that there would be NO profit, just covering normal expenses such as salaries etc. and using whatever was over for things like customer service and improvements and... we would know that for sure! (not be put in the position to merely *think* it... or hope it... or wish for it... )

That's why I was saying that, since they claim to have a "philanthropic mindset" (and continue to derive benefits from that claim), they should have voluntarily disclosed their profits so we could see what they are made of... (it should be legally required -- hopefully people wake up and a law like this is implemented to prevent deceit in the future)

OK... ( hope this helped...) Need a break from all this! Have a nice weekend everyone! :)


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