A few days ago, I read of Rohit's speculation about an "open source" craigslist. At the time I wanted to shake my head and write something about how he's completely missing the point. But I was lazy and they had comments disabled (excuses, excuses).

Luckily Tony Gentile has already done it.

Craigslist isn't about the software; that's easily replicated. It's about:
a) Community; and
b) "Capital" that allows them to (comparitvely) reach marketplace inflection points (the point at which a market becomes self sustaining) in different verticals in different geographies more efficiently than their competitors (to date).


Rohit, craigslist is a communal product of Craig Newmark and those who've been active in the craisglist community ever since he unleashed the service. Please explain what source code has to do with any of this.

This reminds me, I need to write my post about the eventual downfall of eBay one of these days.

Posted by jzawodn at February 20, 2005 10:08 PM

Reader Comments
# jr said:

I'm amazed by the singlemindedness of some folks. To them there is absolutely nothing that can't be replicated by some algorythm or chunk of code.

Kind of sad, really.

on February 20, 2005 10:45 PM
# Mike said:

Uh, YOU'RE missing the point dude. Never heard of slashdot and slashcode? People could create their own communities and don't need no bald gay guy to run it.

on February 21, 2005 12:58 AM
# kasia said:

Mike, if you think all you need to create a community website is code then you're very mistaken.

on February 21, 2005 07:02 AM
# A not so distant relative... said:

On your last comment about FeeBay/SleezeBay:

By all means, write about how feeBay (a.k.a. SleezeBay) is no longer the fun place it used to be, before the sharks moved in and have taken it over...

My last rant about SleezeBay (about 14 months ago) ran 64+ pages.

Putting it in writing was good therapy for me and I finally got it/them (SleezeBay) completely out of my system.

But, don't get me started... Again! I could have a relapse;-)

on February 21, 2005 08:24 AM
# Mike said:

kasia, I hope you don't think that a community needs a sysadmin with a super-high opinion of themself who belittles users in their blog, like at dslreports.

on February 21, 2005 11:28 AM
# kasia said:

No, Mike, it needs a lot of dedication and work from mostly volunteers who are constantly abused and almost never thanked.

on February 21, 2005 02:40 PM
# jr said:


Communities are organic, and yes, take on the personalities of those that use it the most and those that run it. Personally, I have no taste for Slashdot since I find the noise level FAR exceeds any worthwhile signal, but that's my opinion.

Fact is, any community needs to have advocates and moderators. Slashdot has lots and lots of those, as does Craigslist or any other successful forum. If just creating code were the singular means of creating valuable communities, than the world would never have needed anything other than USENET.

on February 21, 2005 02:42 PM
# d said:

That concept applies everywhere.

Theme parks..you can't just put up a duplicate in the middle of nowehere and expect it to have the same traffic as the original.

Some people will always be with the 'if you build it, they will come' concept. Hopefully they'll come to terms someday.

Jeremy: Lets hear the downfall of eBay. :-)

on February 21, 2005 03:15 PM
# Steve said:

what makes Craigs list unique for me is the way you can buy sell or barter things with others in your realative community.

EBAY has been run over by countless retailers posing as private sellers.

When searching to buy a used car, I immediately skip the dealer ads in favor of the private seller - it's a way to cut out the middle man who thinks he can demand a premium for telling you his car is "certified".

The content of Craigs list to me feels much more owner to seller than EBAY.

on February 24, 2005 11:08 AM
# Jonathan said:

I was talking with some friends about the level of trust that various web companies inspire, and I came up with this question:

If you were going to leave all of your posessions with someone for the weekend - house, car, credit cards, social security number, cash and precious jewels - who would it be? What if it had to be a for-profit corporation?

We thought microsoft, google, yahoo, ebay, and the rest couldn't be trusted (even though I work for yahoo) but we all agreed that Craig Newmark could be trusted. We've never met the guy, but each of us had a story about why he could be trusted. We though that he could be trusted, and that, if we asked really nicely, he would actually take care of our stuff for us.

This is part of what makes craigslist a good community. It has nothing the do with the website that hosts the community.

on February 28, 2005 05:00 PM
# Ubaldo said:

You're right Jeremy, code is the least of your problems while creating a community, although you have to design for community, that is, make sure some things are taken care of such as rating a post, email anonymization to avoid spam, etc. The hard part is earning the trust of the community by making things as fair as possible.

I wrote the code and started a similar community in barcelona called loquo [ http://www.loquo.com ] but, unlike cl, I don't pretend to run it myself in every possible city. We've basically created an "internal community" of moderators, each runs it's own loquo, we share experiences, etc. Time will tell if this decentralization is the right way to do it, I think so. If nothing else, it makes me concentrate in one community (barcelona). So, no open source (yet) but open enrolment of moderators

on March 4, 2005 01:54 AM
# Toneloc said:

Craigslist seems to have two advantages going for it over eBay. First, it's SUPER fast to create an ad. No BS, no signon, no nothing... you are on in 2 minutes. Second, apparently huge readership. I got people responding to my ad within a few hours (ad to sell a S class Mercedes) and I sold the car within 2 days. Ads placed in Merc/Chron performed very poorly.

I'll never know what sort of price concession I accepted by not having the eBay auction mechanism working for me. Who cares - maybe another $1000, but at what cost and hassle factor if the winner didn't like this or that.

on March 7, 2005 04:51 PM
# whats wrong with you ppl? said:

I'm a bit late to this thread, but what the H*** is wrong with you people? Technology DOES take time and effort does it not?

So if a broke a$$ org like us wanted to create a craigslist type community site, there's noway we could do it. So stop with your pontifications about "what really makes a website great"

Show me the CODE! Slashcode allows people to create their own sites.. who the F. cares what kind of morons are on slashdot per se?


on January 2, 2006 12:30 PM
# David Decker said:

Craigslist has sure filled a void that was lost with Ebay but I would like to see other such community boards exist on the web in a similar fashion.

David in Vegas

on February 28, 2006 06:08 AM
# Brice said:

I checked out that slashdot stuff and it seems to be different from craigslist. It appears to just be a weblog which is similar but very different.

How difficult would it be to create a copy of craigslist, and I am talking strictly code? I want the website to send emails to people to confirm their post before it goes live...how hard is that to do?

Is slashdot what I am looking for, could I create a website identical to craigslist if I wanted to?

Check out www.supost.com. How did they create their site, was it done with slashdot? What is the best way to go about building a site like that.

Thanks everyone

on December 17, 2006 05:17 AM
# said:

I create one at chaimex.com a free classified site therefore It can be done, with a little coding its possible to replicate or create your own classified online.

on February 22, 2007 10:00 AM
# tony said:

I use to love CL community, but it seems lately they are so many spam people that try to sell you some thing in that communty.

on January 24, 2010 08:38 AM
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