Friday, June 17, 2005


Craig Newmark: Craigslist Offers a 'Culture of Trust'


Craig Newmark: Craigslist Offers a 'Culture of Trust'

Newspapers could retain readers by adding blogs, says the founder of the
community site Craigslist

By Laura Pennace Spring 2005 : Profiles

Photo/Gene Hwang

The name Craig Newmark may not be familiar to many
people, but his Web site Craigslist is known by almost every young adult
with a computer.

That.s because Craigslist is a virtual smorgasbord of online
offerings.thousands of listings organized by city and category. If you
want to find a date in Chicago, you can do that as easily as finding a job
in Houston, or an apartment share in Atlanta.

Newmark, Craigslist.s founder, began the site 10 years ago to help form an
online community and share news of local events with people living in the
San Francisco area. The site quickly grew in popularity, and local
versions launched in dozens of other cities in America and abroad. Today
every continent has at least one Craigslist, and more cities are
frequently added.

Craigslist, remarkably, established its worldwide presence mostly through
word of mouth. And while the site was established as a technical
for-profit organization in 1999, according to Newmark less than 5 percent
of Craigslist charges a fee. Only job ads in its leading markets of New
York, San Francisco and Los Angeles require payments of $25 to $75 for
posting. All other postings remain free.

.I.d like to see a Helen Thomas blog; we.d get some real reporting out of
the White House..Newmark says he spends much of his time on customer
service for the site. He also works with the Craigslist Foundation, a
nonprofit he started to help other nonprofits find success.

While Craigslist.s popularity is increasing, Newmark does not perceive his
site as a threat to newspapers, as some in the industry contend. .We may
be vaporizing many ads that would be placed in newspapers, but there is a
lot of potential classified business that remains untapped,. he claims.

Many young people are turning to Craigslist because .fewer and fewer
people trust the mainstream press,. he says, citing news bias and a lack
of coverage of some stories by major newspapers. .There is a culture of
trust on the site. We are simple, effective, honest..

While admitting that many blogs are not professionally produced, he sees
blogs as .a new type of publishing. and predicts that .amateur journalism
and professional journalism will blend together..

He also sees blogs as potentially valuable to newspapers. .Reporters could
really report the news that otherwise gets unreported,. he says. .I.d like
to see a Helen Thomas blog; we.d get some real reporting out of the White

If done well, newspaper blogs would improve news quality, customer
retention and trust, he says.

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