25 July 2006

Jim Buckmaster at OSCON

At OSCON, Tim O'Reilly interviews Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist CEO. Some highlights: Craigslist only charges for job listings in three markets, and for apartment listings in NYC. Why? Not to make money, but to cut down on the spam and so improve the quality of the listings. The suggestion to charge came from the Craigstlist community.

They felt that these categories were out of control, and that a small fee would bring some rationality to the listings. Tim pointed out that Craigslist makes money because they decided to deal with spam. I wonder if that's a first?

Tim asked Jim if they had any open source lessons to share. Jim's main, simple point is to focus on the things that matter to your users, and block out everything else.

On the issue of Craigslist taking money from the traditional news media (Craigslist is killing classified ads, a traditional cash cow for newspapers), John pointed out that newspapers still have profit margins twice as great as the average business, and what's happening is that shareholders expect high and growing margins. So while the papers aren't hurting for money, they are cutting staff to meet these shareholder expectations. It's either that or get taken over by someone who will.

No comments: