I wanted to briefly respond to a few of the comments I've read on this issue...
I think it’s important to keep in mind what's best for consumers. And I think being open is good for consumers.
People tell us they want to see all their options. This is especially important for classifieds:
- the market is fragmented – lots of listings, in lots of places, always changing
- listings are perishable inventories of one – the items are generally unique and will be gone quickly (a job opening, available apartment, used car)
If I'm looking for an apartment and don't see the listing for my dream place, it's gone and I never even knew about it. If I am looking for a used Volvo, I want to see all the listings available as soon as possible to maximize the potential for finding what I want. If I collect rare coins, I want to be alerted on listings across as many places to buy as possible.
Comparatively, this is much less of an issue when I'm shopping for a new digital camera (where I can go into any one of ten stores and buy what I want). In this situation, search still has value to empower users in price comparison -- causing retailers to further differentiate in service, convenience and support (all benefits to users as well).
A similar argument can be made for consumers trying to sell items. They want to reach the biggest audience so they can get the best deal. Services like Oodle, that help bring prospects to a consumer's listing, are helping them not hurting them.
Craigslist certainly has a right to not be included in Oodle. That said, we believe that by helping consumers find listings on Craigslist, we positively contribute to their service.