Is Craigslist Our Freakin Business?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

I ran into Tom Bashe’s Craigslist hits another low.. Charging for job posts in this economy!?

From the get go it was obvious that Craigslist did something terribly wrong, and, also obviously (see “another”) not for the first time.

So, what is that they did so wrong and why is that they hit “another” low? When the author tried to post an ad under “Jobs” category, he was asked to pay $25.

We may want to pay, or not want to pay, we may be happy that it is only $25 (less than in the newspaper, which, obviously, have not yet hit another low), or angry that it is $25, which is too much… but can we dictate to a private business what to do with their money?

How come we charge Craigslist with caring for the economy? Are they our President? Our government? And if they are a private business, how come we don't hesitate to blame them?

As real estate professionals, shouldn't we reconsider our fees in this economy and start charging 50% of what we were charging 5-6 years ago? Do you do that?

I don’t but then I am not against what Craigslist or any other private business is charging. It is their money (or lack thereof), it is their business decision. I can vote with my dollar. But it ends with my dollar. Socialism is not only when you take forcefully the money from one group and redistribute it, it starts with allowing to think that we can tell businesses what and when to charge.

I think it is important to adopt a self-policy to do what we preach. We want Craigslist not to charge, let's chip in. If they should, why not us? If we think that it is OK to take taxpayer's money and offer discount purchasing homes, than why not get the checkbook out of the pocket and write the check for $8,000 to the Buyer right at closing table?

Or it is only fair when it is done with someone’s money but bad, bad, bad, when it is done with our?

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  1. Gail C. Harris 10/30/2010 10:18 PM
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Mel - neither am I. But we should not be lawyers to see that something is wrong with this logic

Oct 31, 2010 12:56 PM #26
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Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
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Jon, you go find the socialists, I'll bring the beer, we will make it a party.  I will advertise it on Craigslist, well worth the 25 bucks.

Oct 31, 2010 01:11 PM #27
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Gail C. Harris
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Okay, I went back and re-read Jon's post about 5 times.  It's a no brainer.  Jon is saying, it's up to the company if they want to charge, and should we dictate what they do?  It was a bit confusing to me, I don't know why but I finally got it.  Sorry, Jon... if you want to delete my last comment, please feel free.  I get it now!! :) 

Oct 31, 2010 01:45 PM #28
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Virginia - OK.

Hey, socialists!

Get out of the bushes, Virginia is bringing beer. Bashing is postponed; first we will have a party, sponsored by Craigslist

RSVP. Sponsorship is unlimited, but beer is always limited

Oct 31, 2010 03:08 PM #29
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Gail - we are cool. With so much going on there is nothing unusual to get a bit lost. Happens to me more than it should (LOL)

Oct 31, 2010 03:10 PM #30
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Chris Dugger
Real Estate Marketplace - Louisville KY - Louisville, KY
Louisville REALTOR

Jon ~ You said it...Vote with your wallet!Just like in real estate, someone will always offer a more 'economical' solution...so if Craigslist is charging too much, someone will come along and charge less to take advantage of volume. A free market will take care of itself as long as it's allowed to without intervention. That said...I will give Tom the benefit of the doubt that he wassounding the alarm to others so we can be aware that maybe Craigslist isn't worthy of our dollars.

Oct 31, 2010 03:30 PM #31
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Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
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Jon, I like your thinking.

It's always so much easier to spend someone else's money. 

My pet peeve is government charity.  We just can't let individuals decide how much and to whom they want to help out.  The government needs to step in and decide who gets our charitable donations.  I guess they can't let the stupid, stingy masses do it by themselves.  The concept is bad enough, but it's really disturbing being that there's nothing in the Constitution that allows for it.

Nov 01, 2010 04:53 AM #32
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Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Craig Newmark started Craigslist exactly as the name states. It was a free list for his friends. He emailed them a list of things for sale. It was a local list just in San Fransisco. Anyone could post anything for sale. It became one of the most popular sites in the world. All of the revenue from Craigslist comes from employer paid help wanted ads. He is very wealthy but could be worth billions more if he charged for all listings. He doesn't.

The only other category that there is a fee for is for rental broker ads in NYC. The only reason they are charged is because when Craigslist started in NYC there were so many unscrupulous sleazy bait and swith no fee brokers scamming Craiglist that he started charging $10. He couldn't control them any other way.

One of my first posts on activerain was about bait and switch rental broker ads on Craigslist. 15 minutes after I wrote the blog Craig himself left a comment and told me he is working on it. (comment #5)

He calls the sleazy brokers himself and Says: "Hi It's Craig from Craigslist" and the brokers respond "Yeah and I'm the Easter Bunny." IMO Craig Newmark is one of the good guys. Unfortunately there are scammers that abuse his website.

Nov 01, 2010 10:28 AM #33
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Chris - we always do it, and so far it proved to be the best market tool in the world. It is useless to tell people to be nice. But it is easy to achieve if being nice is economically beneficial.

Nov 01, 2010 12:34 PM #34
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Tim - it is a dangerous trned to take care of other people. It  is a great ntent, but people quickly adjust and now, that they lose the ability to provide for themmselves, the government now can't let them provide for themselves.

Ideal socialism. And of course, our President is a Socialist at heart, no matter what liberals would tell you

Nov 01, 2010 12:37 PM #35
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Mitchell, this is the most fascinating comment. So interesting...

I remember first time a friend of mine told me about Craigslist, and I went there. I was appalled. There were thousands of much nicer sites. he told me that this was on purpose, this was Craigslist, simple to simplicity

Nov 01, 2010 12:40 PM #36
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Jark Krysinski *PREC (Personal Real Estate Corporation)
REMAX CREST REALTY WESTSIDE - Vancouver, BC
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Jon, thank for sharing.  I think it's still a great deal compared to print papers.  We can follow it like an economic formula: 1. users of the site can get upset and get off for a while, then 2. those who post will notice there is a higher success rate because there is less "competition" on the site, and then 3. those who originally left will very quickly come back because they want to tap into the market which (because of a MEESLY 25 bucks) they've been missing out on.  In the end it all comes to a calculated cost which we've come to "expect" to be free which, let's face it, was and still IS indeed very valuable to us as professionals.  Cheers, Jark.

Nov 02, 2010 07:09 PM #37
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Jark - and excellent analysis.

However, what was important for me - the wrong notion that we can turn to any company and frown at them because we think they are not taking the economy into consideration.

The notion that we all should be thinking about common good.

Nov 03, 2010 02:54 AM #38
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Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

Jon - I think $25 might be a tad high, but I'm ok with Craigslist charging for the service.  I'm going to add on to Mitchell's comment (#33) with my own CL communications.  I believe it was the very end of 2004 or early 2005 that the Miami Herald ran an article about CL and how agents were using it to advertise.  That was the beginning of the demise of the real estate section down here.  I used to see 40-60 ads per day, it jumped to hundreds within a few months.  But it was just new agents advertising (which is good), but it was largely agents posting all their listings (good if you have a few, bad if you have many).  Some agents listed other people's listings and because posts quickly went to the bottom, they'd delete and repost.  Again and again.  That sort of changed them from 'legit' posts to spam.  So I wrote CL and Craig responded.  He informed me of a nominal charge in NYC (I think he said they were getting 6000 per day) and I begged him to charge a nominal fee for Miami - even if $2 - because it would significantly reduce the spam.  But apparently Miami wasn't bad enough (at least when compared to NYC).  I'm thinking that perhaps the delete and repost stuff was going on and this is a means to cleaning it up. 

BTW, Craig was actually one of the customer service guys responding to emails.  Pretty cool.

Nov 03, 2010 04:29 AM #39
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Tchaka, proces that everything is unusual with CL. I am sure the number of people participating and rushing through CL is staggering.

Nov 03, 2010 11:24 AM #40
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Dan Rochon
Greetings Virginia - Keller Williams Realty - Alexandria, VA
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Let's just hope that they do not charge for real estate listing postings :)

Nov 04, 2010 03:44 PM #41
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Virginia - so far they don't (LOL)

Nov 04, 2010 04:07 PM #42
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Debra Harbaruk
Re/Max City Realty, Commercial Dr Condos - Vancouver, BC
Vancouver BC Realtor

Very well said.....they are a business ... I was always under the impression that Craigslist would charge a fee for posting when they had a certain number of users in each category. So charges would start at different times in different cities depending on public usage. That way you know you are hitting your audience, otherwise it is free. I think it's brilliant.

Nov 10, 2010 04:29 AM #43
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Debra,

I think many people underestimated them. They look not cool, but they do it on purpose. And where are those many cool sites now?

Nov 10, 2010 08:00 AM #44
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Debra,

I think many people underestimated them. They look not cool, but they do it on purpose. And where are those many cool sites now?

Nov 10, 2010 08:00 AM #45
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