For months, Craigslist had been held up as the poster child for what can happen in a world without Net Neutrality. That poster child status expired last month when we found out what really happened was a simple technical glitch in a personal firewall from Authentium that Cox offered its customers. The story that started it all which accused Cox Communications of deliberately blocking Craigslist to bolster their own classified has since been corrected yet the original conspiracy theory had long enough legs to reach the US Senate.
Throughout the ordeal, I tried in vain to get Craigslist to acknowledge their part in this because of the fact that their website was not conforming to best practices which triggered the glitch in Authentium's personal firewall. The Craigslist website was behaving in an unusual way where it would tell the whole world it was too busy all the time. Craig Newmark's (founder of Craigslist) position was that the responsibility for the glitch fell solely on the shoulders of Cox Communications and Authentium and that it was up to them to fix the problem.
Authentium had provided a beta fix within days of the original complaint in February but spent the next few months testing the software before it could be released to the general public. Had Craigslist fixed their servers to behave according to best practice like everyone else on the web, the problem could have been universally fixed for all users with or without updated software from Authentium. Last month when the final update for Authentium was released, the story finally died down but the actual problem didn't go away since it takes a long time for software updates to propagate to end users.
Yesterday when I was testing a new free network analyzer from WildPackets called OmniPeek Personal, I took a quick look at Craigslist.org and to my surprise it was fixed. I checked with a few of my colleagues and they verified the results. What surprised me was the fact that Craigslist never acknowledged any issues on their end yet they fixed it silently after all the smoke had cleared. This is certainly good for Craigslist because anyone who wants to go to their website regardless of any problems with their Authentium personal firewall will be able to do so. But it still leaves one wondering why they fixed it now and not sooner when all the accusations of conspiracy were flying about.