Craigslist Founder Won’t Sell Out



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Craig NewmarkCraigslist.org owner Craig Newmark isn’t tempted to sell off his popular community classifieds site any time soon. Even if it means billions of dollars are sitting on the table. He seems keen to stay true to the not-for-profit-but-for-community “not-solely-for-profit-but-for-community” model he has used with the site. I love Craigslist. I haven’t paid for a classified ad in the past two years. You can read his comments below or go to the original article link.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — The founder of Craigslist.org, the free social networking and classifieds Web site, said on Thursday he is not interested in selling out, a few hours after social networking site MySpace was valued at $15 billion.

“Who needs the money? We don’t really care,” Craig Newmark said in an interview at the Picnic ’06 Cross Media Week conference here. “If you’re living comfortably, what’s the point of having more?” Newmark said.

Just a few hours earlier, RBC Capital analyst Jordan Rohan said MySpace could be worth around $15 billion within three years, measured in terms of the value created for shareholders of its parent company, News Corp. MySpace was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for $580 million less than a year ago. It now boasts more than 90 million active users, against 10 million monthly users of craigslist.

Craigslist, despite its no-frills layout, gets more than four billion page views per month with just 22 employees. Measured as a proportion of the number of employees, it claims to rank seventh amongst English language sites, behind Yahoo, AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Google, eBay and News Corp.

Newmark said raising the money to subsequently give it away to good causes also did not interest him. “Finding a good cause is incredibly hard and time-consuming,” he said, adding that he and Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster agree on not cashing in.

“We both know some people who own more than a billion (dollars) and they’re not any the happier. They also need bodyguards,” he said. Craigslist is 25 percent owned by eBay after one of the shareholders who helped to set up the site in the 1990s sold his stake in 2004. Newmark declines to specify exactly who owns the remaining shares.

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33 Comments

Filed under Branding, Business, Internet, marketing

33 responses to “Craigslist Founder Won’t Sell Out

  1. If the rich don’t start giving away money the lower class will take it with a heady stew of Democracy, progressive taxation, and the thread of Federal prison. But when the government takes the money you get wars and bridges to nowhere.

    Funny thing here is that Mr. Newmark is taking the open source approach of “why charge if it’s unnecessary?” The stance crushes industry reliant on distribution and technological monopolies which result from a lack of standards.

    Schumpeter was a capitalist that beleived in creative destruction. A lot of people that call themselves capitalists believe in creative monopolies. Newmark’s stance encourages Meritocracy which shortens capitalisms life.

    In other words, charge a little bit more, donate the money to the poor, even though it’s hard, and keep the government away for a little while longer lest we some day find ourselves logging on to Craigslist.gov.

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  3. my question is this…. can a Craigs list type site be as successful as the original, done in a different part of the country, or is that a one time deal, as far as the popularity?

  4. I think I had posted this weeks ago on my site. Very cool though to see it again.

    Rex

  5. I find it very funny that people call it “selling out,” as if it’s a bad thing. Newmark is doing whatever he wants, which currently consists of running craigslist with 22 employees and living comfortably off whatever money it makes.

    But God forbid he had decided to cash in on his hard work, the headline would be “Craigslist sells out” and people might be up in arms about what an evil guy he is. What is it that makes some people think money is bad? Or is it the fact that someone else is making that money?

  6. Thank heavens he isn’t selling his company to Google or whatever, like Youtube did. (I’m greatful at least, for Google is allowing the original workers to stay on the job for that business [subsidary].) Sometimes I think people try to start a fad to sell it for a good fortune if the project works out…

  7. David:

    Good point. It’s not selling out, it’s just business. And the business model right now seems to be working for Craigslist, and, with time they could be worth more than now. Perhaps Craig doesn’t want to pull a MySpace.

  8. Richard

    Daij: Sometimes I think people try to start a fad to sell it for a good fortune if the project works out…

    You have obviously never read Paul Graham. If it’s working out, that means it’s a product of value which someone wants. It’s called business.

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  13. I’ve met Craig Newmark on several occasions, one of which was, oddly enough, at a world science fiction convention down in Los Angeles. What he said about not selling out was great.

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  15. Jo

    Craig is now officially the coolest CEO on the face of the planet. Score one for integrity against the legions of soulless Newscorps and parasitic Clearchannels of the world.

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  17. I refuse to learn more as my brain is just melting. I am looking forward to the holidays ending this year. Seems outr industry has slowed a lot this year.

  18. Craigslist began with a great original idea of offering the visitors a place without ads and membership requirements. There is only a few sites out there that can honestly say the same. Take http://www.keyfess.com for an example. This is a confess site that has no advertising, no sign-up, no requirements for the readers. Perhaps it looked up to craigslist. Is this the beginning of a new concept?

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  20. Hi. I have a report of the demographics of each of the 289 Craigslist websites in the US. It is important to understand who you are potentially selling to at each site, especially if you are not going to spam all the websites. If you have the demographic data like I do, you can pinpoint and focus your efforts. My website is http://www.aMillionPlaces.com , and I have a free google map of all the sites there too.

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  23. I’ve begun using http://www.everythingtolive.com because it’s as simple as Craigslist but less commercial posters and more variety. I think Craigslist has hit its peak and too many real estate agents and commerical firms are listing items rather than normal people.

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  26. Saw “Download” on Discovery other night and am in awe of Craig’s humble MO. This is what we all should strive for if we aren’t already. Craig is “The Man”!

  27. I feel craglist founder would sell Out. Because, I think now a day’s enterprenuers are thinking about trading businesses also. They are just developing a good business..or Buy a good business.. Develop it..& Sell the business.

  28. Tony Had enough of CL

    I for one a long time poster on CL, am now walking away and going to backpage.

    CL has made it so much of a problem to post ads Its just not worth it.

    In craigs own words he is there so people can rent an apt or buy a used car.

    Well he forgot who his real customer is and who built CL up… the advertisers. Not the person posting one ad a year to sell and old car or give away a crib.

    Wake up craig .

    Its not worth the phone verification, the ghoasting my time is worth much much more.

    Same as ebay and paypal these companies forgot who their customers are.

    The old saying free you get what you pay for.

    Charge me that;s fine with me but let me post with out sending in a DNA sample. Combine that with the flaggers that have no life but worry about someone else ad. Waste of time

    I can’t wait until someone comes along and knocks them out and put out business, and someone will. they are walking around with a god complex.

    I for one will cheer when CL falls.

    So to all the tree huggers in the CL office Adios I hope many more follow my lead.

    But like most of the sheep in this country most will do like they are told.

  29. Odertoro Obumja

    Craig Newmark is worthless. Until he manages to get craigslist to regulate the ads for prostitutes on his pages he is supporting an illegal industry.

  30. I wish I owned craigslist. I would sell for a billion, its a good discount, cmon.

  31. Craig

    Craigslist is the biggest sellout on the Internet. Run by thugs and people that think they are untouchable through flagging and putting your personal information online. Craigslist needs to be abolished.

  32. Craig Newmark, we all love you! Thank you for Craigslist.

  33. Ernie Bland

    I think eBay is forgetting the major draw for Craigslist was that is was free. Making CL not free won’t send people to eBay be default, it will send them to the next free site and they lose out on both properties.

    Ernie Bland
    Free Classifieds

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