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The Start Up Story Of Craiglist.org And Its Founder Craig Newmark

 

Craigslist.org is the biggest classifieds site in the world today, receiving millions of visits per day and more than 20 billion page views per month. It’s in the group of the top 10 most popular sites in the US and number 35 in the world. Every single month, more than 70 million new classifieds are published there. The site is used for almost anything, from buying and selling stuff to personal ads and offers. This online empire was started with no money, no experience, by a single guy as his hobby. Here is how all happened…

The History of Craigslist

Craigslist's founder - Craig Newmark

Craigslist’s founder – Craig Newmark. Pic by Sierra Communications (smugmug.com) Attribution

Craig Newmark was an ordinary guy, born in New Jersey. He had a pretty ordinary life, he graduated from college and began working for IBM. After 17 years there, he realized that he had to move on, so he decided to quit this job and find another, more challenging one. In 1995, he moved to San Francisco, where he worked for Charles Schwab and where the idea about Craigslist was actually born. Having only a few friends there, he was feeling lonely, so he decided to start a mailing list for local happenings and eventually meet new people online. Initially, he started posting about local events, in the field of web and software development. Soon he built a community of people, who enjoyed the information provided via the mailing list. They told their friends, and the latter told their friends… This is how the first version of Craigslist began gaining some pretty good popularity. People were even able to post their own messages, which were published immediately. Many companies started posting job offers, considering the mailing list as a good place, where they could find IT professionals. At some point in time, the number of these post exploded, and here is how the first category “Jobs” was created. This is how the rapid growth of Craigslist started… People began demanding a web interface, where the classifieds could be well organized and structured. So in 1996, Craig registered the domain name craigslist.org and launched the first version of the site the same year. By that time, the portal was still a hobby for Newmark, and this continued for the next couple of years. In 1999, the site was growing so fast, that he finally decided to incorporate it and leave his ambitions to be someone else’s software engineer. By the year 2000, he already had hired several employees, who were working for him, from his apartment in San Francisco.

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After having discovered a good business model, Craig started the expansion of the site in other cities in The United States. A couple of years later, Craigslist.org was operating in many major towns in the country. Hungry for some cash to finance its daily operations, in 2004, the site began charging $25 for posting jobs offers on its pages for New York. This is still the main revenue source of the portal today. According to Craigslist’s CEO – Jim Buckmaster, the main priority for them is to help people find what they need, not big profits. That’s why it’s still free for anyone to post a classified ad in most of the categories of the site.

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