Why Craigslist Search Is Gonna Stay
The way it is. I've received lots of input that I should put adwords in there or other possibilities for exploring revenue streams. One of my better friends who happens to roll in obscenely rich circles ran into a leader from Craigslist and he told him that they will not tolerate those who try to use their site in ways they don't approve. Very utopian mantra from these cats.
But here is a snippet about how Craigslist dealt with some people who were scraping their site in the past from this weeks Wired Magazine:
Buckmaster's dispassionate protest reflects his cast of mind. Emotional appeals are more likely to provoke his skepticism than his sympathy, and when the complaints come from aspiring Internet entrepreneurs he is especially prone to sarcasm. He hears many such complaints, because one of the most curious things about craigslist is that a company designed and run entirely by programmers is so hostile to outsiders who want to pull neat technical tricks to improve the site. A few years ago, independent programmer Jeff Atwood created a service that would allow people to search multiple cities at once or even search craigslist globally. Buckmaster arranged some technical interference to kill it off. Another programmer named Ryan Sit created a service called Listpic, which scraped images from craigslist and dumped them into an interface for browsing: You could scan through all the photos from the apartment listings or see pictures of all the dogs up for adoption. Buckmaster banished Listpic, too.
He had specific objections to both. Listpic ran ads, it put a high burden on craigslist servers, and when he looked at traffic records he noticed that Listpic was being used mainly to enhance enjoyment of the sexy images people posted in their erotic-services ads. Universal search subverts craigslist's mission to enable local, face-to-face transactions; it increases the risk of scams and can be exploited to snatch up bargains, giving technically sophisticated users an advantage over casual browsers. But the very surfeit of these practical objections—many of which probably have technical solutions—hints that the real explanation lies elsewhere, and with a minimum of pressure Buckmaster will state it plainly. It is the same reason that craigslist has never done any of the things that would win approval among Web entrepreneurs, the same reason he has never updated its 1999-era Web design. The reason is that craigslist's users are not asking for such changes.