I was pondering on the impact of craigslist and realized how revolutionary that site is. It’s a million sites together and it’s nowhere near overwhelming with a sleek and intuitive simple interface and a wealth of products. Fifty different users can use it in their own manner and it works.
- It’s a B2B platform among small local businesses.
- It’s an advertising platform for services
- It’s a marketplace buy/sell, sorted by dealers or individuals
- it’s a jobs board.
- it’s a freelancer platform for gigs of all kinds from photoshoots, to programming, to writing, to manual labor
- it’s a dating site.
- It’s a hardcore dating site for people with all kinds of fetishes
- It’s a friends network for people wanting to meet new people
- It’s a community lost+found network
- It’s a meetup/events place
- It’s a baby sitter hiring service
- An orphan pet adoption service
- It’s an apartment hunter
- It’s an office/real estate finder
- It’s a discussion forum
- It’s a place to be greener by doing carpools
All of that and more. It’s a site that looks like it was built in the 90s and functions perfectly. It’s user interface is so dead simple that you’ll find dead-simple people posting all over Craigslist. It’s an amazing, and enormous source of information.
What’s amazing is that while traversing the web, I haven’t found a site like this one as large as this one. I found one alternative through an unfortunate source: Change.org, I’m subscribed to their newsletter and got an email about human trafficking and this site was riddled with it (beyond riddled). And so I left it. I remember seeing smaller sites that do similar stuff but only a portion.
On top of that, it’s a common word in the language now. The same way you want to “google” something, you’ll “put it up on craigslist”. And people in the middle class or lower class will most likely know what it is.
So my question is, why did no one replicate this model more thoroughly and publicly? Why did no one create a copy and a skinjob with all the latest bells and whistles? Or with a better user system? I mean, I’m sure someone can find a way to create a nicer and simpler interface, with faster loading, and better searching, driven by ads or (like craigslist) driven by people paying to have their services posted (it’s like $15 an ad, I think).
So I applaud craigslist because no matter what my income was and probably will be, I still check it out. And no matter what I’m in the mood for, be it finding new friends, selling my furniture, or hiring a freelancer for a gig, it’s all there under a single unified UI without a true competitor anywhere near the horizon.
I personally used craigslist for all kinds of things so let me just tell you about them:
- found my favorite puppy
- adopted a rescue dog
- bought my first futons
- hired someone to deliver said futons
- sold said futons (with profit)
- bought HUGE couches
- sold said couches (with profit)
- got hired for a myriad of strange gigs
- found a job as a go-to freelance developer for a pretty cool media company
- found some really cool people in Houston. One of them who stuck with me as a really good friend
- posted about a dog I found
- bought a couple of xbox games at cutthroat prices
- tutored a guy on Oracle SQL, made some good cash that way and learned a lot about Oracle in the process
- did several photoshoot gigs with my roommate for extra cash
- got scammed…
- sold a phone
- sold a coffee table
- ALMOST sold a car
- sold a Wii for huge profit. It was at a time when Wii’s were out of stock. I marked it up by a couple hundred
- Bought&Sold college books
- bought and sold a table
Long list right? But it goes on. I took advantage of almost every feature craigslist had. I made money, I made friends, and yeah I got scammed once or twice but that happens. It’s just something to watch out for.
My friends and family did all kinds of other things on there like get an apartment, a place to stay, find a ton of other friends, date, develop websites, and so on. It’s a pretty cool place.
The Tech Behind CG
So, BuiltWith didn’t really tell me what CG is made up of server-side-wise. But here’s the quick overview:
- It’s html4.0
- Built with TABLES so no responsive layout or mobile site
- uses jquery for some things
If you’re any good with PHP and can use a framework (like Laravel), you’ll have a great working model within a week. Which is really awesome.
Share Your Stories In Comments
And let me know what you think. Is there another Craigslist-like site with such an enormous user base? Why do you think there isn’t or why is it not as known?