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eBay Buys Stake in Online Network Craigslist

 6:06 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Any theories as to why?




 6:26 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

My guess is that the want to leverage Craigslist's local presence. Ebay has been moving in the direction of sales by location for years, but Craigslist would give them a strong shove in some major markets.


 6:44 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

As someone who uses Craigslist on pretty much a daily basis, I find this really sad.

As to reasons why - one of the posters on Craigslist forum stated craiglist is eBay's biggest competitor. While Craigslist is like a flea to eBay's dog, this statement is probably true - at least in particular areas.

Craigslist has a much more local focus which helps for things like event tickets and cars (which they are already very strong in).

Craig in his blog mentioned eBay's strengths in "trustworthiness and reputation." This may be an indication of using eBay's user id's and ratings on Craigslist. Ebay would obviously benefit from such a move.


 7:17 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Saw this. Good for craigslist I guess :P


 8:20 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Craig in his blog mentioned eBay's strengths in "trustworthiness and reputation." This may be an indication of using eBay's user id's and ratings on Craigslist. Ebay would obviously benefit from such a move.

Also, I can see how craigslist would benefit from this considering that Craig has said that he spends a lot of his time weeding out "evil doers".

Speaking of local stuff, I read one pundit's opinion that the Village Voice is doing poorly, in part, because of craigslist's free advertising.


 6:34 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

(My first post here :o)

Interesting that in the Craigslist FAQ, they make it seem like such a community oriented drive and that they have been approached with money deals but they didnt want to go that route....funny! How much more commercial can you get? Ebay?

Besides, AskJeeves has myway.com which is about the same thing as craigslist in terms of "no banner ads and no popups" and reverting to old school Internet.


 7:10 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Any theories as to why?

I think it indicates an interest by Ebay in Classified ads and how to maximize income from them (this is how Craigslist makes it $).


 11:54 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have to echo figments comments. I can't see any good coming from this from the user's perspective. I've always thought craigslist was about the perfect site.


 7:22 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I love(d) CraigsList and use it often, but I think more and more, watching them cash in, first with paid employment ads and now this affliation with eBay, they're totally selling out.

It is ONLY their user base's goodwill, and their formerly free, open source-ish ethical independence which built them and which gives them every iota of their value, and absolutely nothing else. So they're not only selling CraigsList out, they're selling out their user base, the users who created and continually replenish them...

It's like the church saying they're doing a little sideline into the Satan business, ie: total contradiction in terms.

And it's a little personal for me...here's why:

A year or so back, I decided to place a modest ad about my website. I am a wholesaler of a popular physical product. I market it as a great way people can get started in their own businesses, without MLM, franchise fees and scams. It really does sell well, and our repeat order rate is astronomical. The quality is high, the prices low, we're honest and one of the best in the trade.

So, OK, I place a simple CraigsList ad, no hype, just a picture of some products with a few basic description / 'Check out our site' sentences.

My ad was reported, then pulled, because it violated CraigsList's TOS or whatever. If you think that's going to happen to the legitimized spammers over at eBay, you have another think coming.

Kindly read the writing on the wall. They drove a truck full of money over to Craig's house. He realized he not getting any younger, so **** -- anything goes. I don't fault him for it, just harbor no illusions that's what's really going on here. Now that the gate's open, watch for the banner ads (and maybe even popUps- jeez) coming soon.

To continue the church analogy above (and mix in a little of Google's 'do no evil' rhetoric too) I think the temptation was just too strong not to give in.


 8:22 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW, I am guessing that ebay also gets the email address of every user who ever placed an ad on craigslist. That's an awful lot of email addresses with an upscale demographic. Then, if you match the email address to the content of the ad placed or replied to ...

I wonder what the TOS says about the site using email addresses in its database.


 9:01 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

You mean you used a real email address when posting to CL? :-)


 9:13 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

craigslist's free advertising.

Craigslist originated as a community driven website but currently charges for employment listings, and I believe for commercial car listings.

Craigslist plays a huge role in the way people buy and sell stuff in the SF Bay Area. I have purchased everything from Windows software to an automobile off of Craigslist. I have sold an automobile, a dining room set, carpets, as well as a high end double stroller jogger. All for free. No registration, no bidding. In this regard Craigslist is a direct competitor to eBay. When I'm in the market to buy certain stuff, I'll turn to Craigslist way before going to eBay.

In the SF Bay Area, Craigslist plays role and is a major player in

  • job search
  • rental search
  • roommate search
  • product search

In terms of local search, Craigslist has been far more useful to me than CitySearch, AJ, Google, Froogle, Yahoo, and eBay put together.

Craigslist is a major local search entity whose formula can be ported into every major market and cause grief to the classifieds and local search entities. Considering that even Google advertises on Craigslist, I'm shocked that Google hadn't stepped in first.

I don't see eBay bringing any value to the table. If anything, they will ruin it just like they ruined Butterfield and Butterfield. The Butterfield fiasco is a case study of eBay's clumsy vision and management style.
So what's in it for eBay?

  • A chance to kill off a competitor
  • A slice of the profits in a competing market- which will necessitate user registrations and fees, which will ruin the user experience and lead back to
  • A chance to kill off a competitor

What is in it for eBay?

What is in it for Craigslist?

What is in it for the users of Craigslist?


 9:46 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Even in terms of simply research and development, Ebay's investment in Craigslist could be considered worth it. They've got the inside scoop. It doesn't have to be about "how is Ebay going to affect Craigslist"...it can simply be "what can Ebay LEARN from Craigslist".


 11:42 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

dreamshop: it seems like you're cheerful about it, like it's a good thing..or am misreading you?

(I'm enjoying my little religious analogy, so here's some more--)
Pimps have just taken over the nunnery.


 8:06 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

You mean you used a real email address when posting to CL? :-)

nope. but i bet there are a lot who did. i don't mean the munged aliases, but the destination email address used for forwarding replies received at the munged alias.


 8:32 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lookout on the horizon for required registration


 2:35 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

You guys are cracking me up.

Here, on a site dedicated COMPLETELY to the minutia of getting as rich as possible using the internet, you are offended that Craigs list would do the same?

Silly rabbit!


 2:40 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

saddened is not the same as offended.


 6:11 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not sure what they are going to do. They only own 25%, so I'm not sure what kind of pull they would have for wholesale changes.

I think they will slowly implement an Ebay like structure with rating system just like Ebay. Craigslist is what Ebay wants to be like. A community of people buying and selling things on a local level. I think the biggest problem Ebay has is being able to have a localized presence. It's not so easy to sell an old fridge or car on Ebay.

On a side note, has anyone else noticed how well Craigslist ads rank on Google?


 6:37 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here, on a site dedicated COMPLETELY to the minutia of getting as rich as possible using the internet, you are offended that Craigs list would do the same?

All I care about are the business decisions behind the news.


 1:08 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is sad. I loved hearing about all the VCs that Craig had turned down, and how this killer, community site that made people's lives better, and did a BILLION page views last month, was run by twelve guys working out of the fog of the Richmond District.

I can see tons of reasons why eBay wants a piece. I can see only green reasons why Craig would do this.

I don't fault him one bit, but that doesn't make it any less sad.


 1:48 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm sure they'll borrow some of the technology like double-blind e-mails, so they can implement it on the main eBay.com site. eBay is cracking down on revenue leaks such as linking out to your own web store and direct e-mail communication. They are making it very difficult to use eBay as a branding tool and are pushing towards anonymization of sellers.

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