Craig Newmark serving customers at Craigslist

I chatted with Craig Newmark today, of his namesake Craigslist.

I chatted with Craig Newmark today, of his namesake Craigslist, over coffee at a sun-drenched sidewalk café, steps from the Corner of Haight & Ashbury, or so it seemed to me. Craig, in any event, was indeed at a quintessential San Francisco Café, while I was in a humid, unairconditioned Manhattan office, a quintessential summer in NYC experience. I overheard through the phone, however, pedestrians walking past the cafe, as well as an occasional bird (Craig revealed he is looking for some birding equipment, I suggested he look for it at Craigslist), and my New York experience was less bleak, at least for a few moments. Craig’s sense of humor also helped, a trait he seems almost as proud of as the Craigslist community he created, and aims to protect, as Customer Service Representative.

The themes put forth by Craig will be familiar to those who have been following the Craigslist adventure:


moral compass, compassion, trust…. It is tempting to dismiss such talk as quaint, naïve, or even insincere, but, I must admit, Craig Newmark’s trademark pontifications seemed heartfelt.

Despite our brief bonding, however, Craig remained close to the vest regarding one of the key issues we all are curious about: What are Craigslist’s annual revenues? “I honestly don’t know…but we are doing well”

Craig was more forthright, but still vague, regarding possible future trajectories the always slow to evolve Craigslist may be embarking on:

  • Development of some type of trusted moderator system (see note below)
  • Reducing homepage “clutter”
  • Integration of more functionality

We also discussed “Craigslist to begin charging for NYC real estate listings and launches RSS bulk posting interface” and Craig’s relentless efforts to reduce “bad behaviour” at Craigslist, all of which I will discuss in part II of my interview with Craig…stay tuned to this Digital Micro-Markets Blog.

In the meantime, I leave you with one of Craig’s reflections, on the value some might put on Craigslist: “hundreds of millions.” Craig did not express any interest, however, in taking anyone up on any offer. To be continued…

What will the future of Craigslist be? Join the conversation, “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

NOTE UPDATE, CRAIG NEWMARK "Talks Back": "no trusted moderator system in the usual sense, but we need to give away more control over our site, maybe to people who've been really good at policing the site. there's someone in Manhattan who's been great at dealing with less ethical apartment brokers, need to empower that individual more, for example."

UPDATE: Part II of Interview