It must be hard being CEO of Craig's List, the online listings service that by several accounts is one of the ten-most trafficked Web property.
You've got to fend off curious academics, pushy Realtors and co-location services that think you're being a bandwidth and power hog.
Craig's List CEO Jim Buckmaster described some of these issues yesterday at the Sixth Annual O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention) in Portland.
Jim was talking about user feedback documenting cases of complete lifestyle construction via Craig's List ad utilization- a job, an automobile, a dwelling, a signficant other. Apparently, that ultimate life requirement mash-up has drawn the interest of social scientists who study this sort of thing, and who are literally licking their chops at the mere possibility of getting at this data.
"We have been approached by academics over the years wanting access to our data," said Buckmaster, who actually runs the company while founder Craig Newmark concentrates on customer service and visioneering. "We look at huge data files, and see personal information sprinkled through 11 million ads a month, (but) "we're not savvy enough to know how to remove people's information."
So for now, that means the sociologists,the cultural anthropologists, and others have to be told no. Politely.
Of course 11 million ads a month means a lot of posted data, and hopefully, lots of page views. Yet all of this traffic creates demand that not all of the operation's server farms are cool with.
"We do worry about how to maximize page views for kilowatt hours," Jim said. "We're up to 150,000 pages per kilowatt hour, and got out of a co-lo (co-located facility) because of that."
Jim said that paid listings in certain markets (such as New York City, where Realtors are generally charged to advertising) will prevent clutter. He explains that these charges will somewhat moderate the practice of Realtors persistent phantom listings just to acquire visibility on Craig's List and outshout their competition.