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October 14, 2005



So can I assume that you are happy for me to scrape your content/republish your RSS feeds?


sure, as you appropriately link them back to us. google, yahoo crawl us extensively every day.

Craig Ogg

I am not sure why you feel you aren't competitive with craiglist. You are trying to move loyalty from them to you -- to change craigslist from a destination to simply a transaction (in a sense, a new form of "embrace and extend"). If you succeed at this, the craigslist community loses its commons.

I do see the value of your service and think that sites that view themselves fundamentally about the transaction will appreciate the traffic. I also understand why craigslist may not want to participate.


I'm not sure I totally understand. What do you mean by Craiglist community loses its commons?

We only deliver users to the listing (in the commons). The rules, etiquette and mechanics of interacting are still defined by the commons.

Moreover, I've heard Craig Newmark describe Craiglist as a public commons. I take that mean that everyone is invited.


What you are saying is logical and appropriate - from one issolated-specific point of view - yours. There are, however, lots of other possible interests involved and all -or most- of those interests which/who actually create content - as opposed to what you do - (basically rip off others content) - will ultimately suffer as viewers/users of the content gravitate -do not pass go or stop off at craigslist or anyone else's- to your site - which you obviously understand. Why even go through this charade? Just do your business and don't apologize or be dishonest about it. It will be wrong of you to believe however, that most or even a minority of the owners of the content you are pirating will roll over and let you do it. Surely you don't believe that your play is a welcome to most providers? How good are your attorneys?

Craig Ogg

If you are sending people directly to a specific job listing, how do they get a sense of "place" or of belonging to a community? By focusing just on the transaction, you are bypassing the commons and just sending people directly to the cash register.

craigslist is classifieds, but it is also a place people go to interact with their geographically local community. It might give you some insight into this if you read some of the coverage of the role craigslist has played in helping the residents of New Orleans after Katrina.

Unlike Ray I do think that some classified sites will love what you are doing. Those that are able to monetize the actual contact (IOW, those that have an "Apply for Job" or other action button instead of having phone #s or email addresses for the person who placed the listing) have the greatest likelihood of welcoming the extra traffic.



People who want to participate in the commons still can. Out of principle, you don't ever have to visit oodle in your lifetime. People like me who don't care about or believe in the "commons" can use a site like oodle to at least end up buying your damn apartment. And if you want to talk about commons, why give Craig the monopoly? There are plenty of other listing sites out there that are getting listings, too. Why not let me find what I want, where I want. Now that is my vision of the "commons."

Maybe the day won't come, but when craig sells the remainder of his share to ebay, I hope you will be satisfied as a commoner.


Craig Ogg - I see what you're saying about what you call "the commons", but it doesn't entirely make sense to me why what Oodle is doing should hurt the Craigslist commons. Few examples:
1. Oodle doesn't index the Craigslist personals, forums, or most of the funny/odd/interesting/random posts etc., which are the backbone of the Craigslist community. You have to go to CL for that.
2. You still have to go to CL to post (if you choose to post there and not somewhere else).
3. If you're someplace where craigslist doesn't have that many users and want to sell something, you may not want to go through the effort of posting if you're not sure enough people will see what you're selling. If it gets indexed by a site like Oodle, more people will see your posting -> more people posting on craigslist -> craigslist growing -> craigslist happy...
4. If I want the community feel (what you call "the commons") of craiglist, I go to their site, if I want to find something i'm looking for quick and see all my options, I go to Oodle (If I want to feel like i'm reading a whole newspaper, I go to my newspaper's site, if I want a quick glance at what's going on in the world, i browse through headlines in my RSS feed). Nobody is locking us in anywhere.

Lastly, it sounds like Craigslist is (a) having self-confidence issues (if people like it for the community feel, they will keep on using it) or (b) thinks that it should be the only classifieds website in the whole wide world because "it's the best".


Ray, do you also think Google are "pirates" who "rip off others content"

Like Google, Oodle offers a valuable service of aggregating classifieds and adds value with features such as mapping and alerts.

Craig Ogg, you have an interesting point, but if Craigslist's intent is blocking Oodle because of your concerns about community than why do they allow Google, Indeed, HousingMaps, and others.

They say everything they do is driven by their users. Don't you think most of their users who post goods, services, and jobs want as many people as possible buying their goods and services or filling their job openings


One important distinction: Craigslist asks their users. For example, there was issue of whether Craigslist should display banner ads. Newmark prominently posted on the site a link to a forum where it was openly debated. Craigslist interacted with the users and adhered to the decision.

Craigslist ask users want they want. Oodle presumes to know.


I'm shocked. Craigslist is such a community-oriented site, that they normally ask their users before taking any significant action. How could their users be in favor of not having their listings available to whomsoever wants to view them? Were they really asked? If they want to be excluded, do they want to be excluded from Google and Yahoo! also? Notice that Google and Yahoo! don't really seem to mind the meta-search engines themselves.

It seems that following Craigslist's tremendous rise in traffic and their victory over the newspapers, they are shifting from a community-board into a full-scale for-profit enterprise. As someone above pointed out, once Craig has sold more of his stake, the company will complete that shift. At that point, it'll be like EBay - raising prices at will, blocking scrapers, and consolidating its monopoly wherever possible.

That transformation is probably inevitable, but if that's what's happening, then drop the "it's all for the community" charade. It sounds like how communist dictatorships justify their actions with the "for the people" or "the people demanded it" propaganda.



You and Craig Newmark, along with everyone else on this blog, will continue to debate this issue without any resolution. Why not ask Mr. Newmark if he's willing to enter into a partnership with Oodle.com so everyone wins? At the end of the day, Mr. Newmark owns the listings and you want access to those listings. Why not meet him halfway? You owe him that much given all the years he's worked to get Craigslist where it is today.


Well it's fairly obvious that CL has created a monopoly in the free classified ads game and they are going to protect that at all costs. I think the original mission of CL has fallen apart and has failed in the grand scheme of things, as ego as gotten the better of them. Oh well, good run while it lasted.


I agree, the "all for the community" line is definitely a charade and has been for sometime... come to think of it, the whole use of the ".org" domain name extension is a bit of a masqerade as well. As far as all the "community" stuff, well that's a played out marketing throwback to the 90's. The "community moderated" forums have become less so as CL staff has taken a more active role in moderating the posts themselves. I'm glad to see that some of CL's more contradictory practices and corporate behavior are finally coming to public light. It's about time - they are definitely not the wholesome, grassroots company they make themselves out to be. Far from it.

Craig Donato

I would love to talk with Craig Newmark or Jim Buckmaster about this issue. To date, we have been unsuccessful in our efforts to do so but I'll continue to try. We are absolutely interested and willing to work with them to address any issues they might have.


Don't give in to Newmark or the Buck. Scrape them anyway. Offer your own ad submissions. Your site is superior in every way, and they are a dying giant.

I hope you are getting a good salary from the company, because I know that CL is making plenty of profit. Newmark preaches about community, but he wants all the community for himself. He's a joker.

I run a company that has the ability to really enhance his offering, and he has blocked it as well. It doesn't affect our bottom line, but it sucks for our users.

This is your business, just like CL is his--you are going to have to fight... not everything can be happy. You've got a lot more support than you think, and he has a lot less than he thinks.


All rhetoric aside, my guess is that this issue is very cut-and-dried for Mr. Newmark.

I suspect he allowed Paul Rademacher's Housingmaps site to operate because Paul was very careful NOT to exploit CL lisitng data to make a buck. Paul designed a uselful tool for the community - for free. You will find no advertising on housing maps.

This is not the case with Oodle. Oodle is making reveunue off the back of CL data through AdSense. A different scenario entirely.

Craig Newmark gets to decide how and when money is made from CL content. End of story.

It might be just that simple for Craig...


Oodle is a disruptive, back-stabbing yet necessary business model. The end-user only half-wins -why? Because the disruptive effect happens to them all throughout the process of the longer story-arch of Oodle... while all the postings are conviently aggregated for the user from divergent sources, it eliminates the community participation that these users would otherwise engage-in --it's a one-way street of finding what you want from these communities (eBay, CL, etc.) but not giving back.. really, if people find what they want , buy it or not - where's the day-to-day habit of surfing eBay or CL that gets people, ordinary real-life folks across the land to go "hey, I could jump-in and sell my stuff too", or write a rant, or find a new home for a neighbor's pet, etc. --real-world, small-time classified advertising just like it has been since the earliest newspapers. Oodle is a stainless-steel, soul-less, yes, scraper. There is no community, no 'hood --like on CL or eBay. I know my fellow CL'rs and many eBay'ers. So Oodle thinks they are doing a service to CL - think again --they admit above to possibly creating an "Architecture of Particpation" - smarmy 2.0 words (yes, I was at the Argent last week, too) for allowing peeps to post their own content. So if CL allowed scraping - what happens when Oodle creates users that can post? - Then what is the need to go to CL? I can see eBay not objecting- the global auction platform is near impossible to replicate, but CL can be annexed.. by design it's just a low-tech neighborhood party - that's what has kept it vibrant and real for so many years.
To even name it "Oodle" - so close to "Google" speaks volumes about the type of techie-wanna-be rich people we are dealing with.
The key CL has and Oodle doesn't (and many other wannabe startups that are thinking of themselves first) is real people. Not just surfers looking for a washer/dryer. They are two different things. Thanks to Craig N. for keeping it tight. Having circles of communities is good. I don't need to see every listing for something in my area - I would rather see a select listing from trusted sources. Oodle's plan for world-domination is flawed, but then isn't every plan which aspires thus flawed from the start?


Sorry to hear that Craig/Jim are not responding to you, but again, I'm not surprised. They don't respond to their own users, and they're definitely "too good" to respond to you. It's the arrogance thing I mentioned earlier... Or either that, or Jim has been spending way too much time deleting CL posts, one by one. (yes, sad but true) lol ;-)



I'm currently having an online classifieds website developed at www.southland.la which will be solely dedicated to The Southland, e.g. the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. At the present time, traffic to www.southland.la is redirected to www.webnames.la.

Would you allow my website to crawl Oodle's website so long as my website appropriately links my visitors back to your website?


Raymond Marshall


its pointless for me to respond again, but this is directed at HipTrigger mentality:

you are clearly swept up in this participatory culture: BUT NOT EVERYONE ELSE IS. you can live your life how you want to, and contribute to the community. I don't give a sh$t about the CL community of losers. I just want to buy something from you guys. So let me find it the way I want to find it. I don't harm your way of thinking, but don't you want me to support you with my money?

Sun Tzu

I've heard Craig Newmark speak quite a bit, and respected his focus on the community at all costs. His mantra is that he does what is "best for the community". Well if some of your community wants to find their listings via the Oodle UI, isn't that what is best for that portion of the community? And how does an alternate search/navigation mechanism harm your community? It appears to me that a more honest mantra would now be "what is best for Craigslist the company". That's fine, I understand, but don't continue your creative commons and "what's best for the community" shtick. At least be intellectually honest and admit that like every other corporation, you are looking out for your OWN self-interests, not just those of "the community".


Ok, I checked out the Oodle site, had never heard of it until now, thanks to CL for giving you some free publicity, lol.

I don't understand what Craig/Jim's problem is exactly... Oodle just links to the orginal ads which are on the CL site - no different from what Google, Yahoo, or any other search engine does... So... what's the big problem then?? You'd think most sites would *want* the free traffic! Unreal.

I don't suggest that you go against Craig's wishes, but does he even have any legal right to say who can and cannot link to his site? This is still the internet, right? Phhffttt, big thumbs down to Craig.

Gregg H.

Mr. Newmark gets alot of press about how he's the one .com guy that refused to sell out and how he's the only one that isn't about the money. After ebay bought a 25% stake in CL and then bought rent.com and Kijiji.com I posted about my concerns in the user feedback section of CL that ebay is likely to seek to buy the rest of CL or pressure it to change its business model and listing fees since CL directly competes with ebay in areas where they charge fees (rent.com for apartment listings). There was a heated discussion about the possibilities with many people defending Craig and insisting that he would never bow to pressure from ebay or sell the site. Craig Newmark eventually posted in the thread himself, simply stating "don't feed the troll" and immediately terminated my Craigslist account. So there's your wonderful "all for the people" Mr. Craig Newmark.


Gregg - not surprised at all. I have also once been banned from the CL feedback forum for constructively criticizing some rules of the CL site. I was really shocked that they would ban someone for simply speaking out and offering suggestions to fix problems they refuse to publicly acknowledge. I have also had my threads deleted as well. So much for the "open journalism" thing, eh?

The CL Feedback and Help forums are waste of time, anyone that has a difference of opinion and goes against the staus quo is labelled as a "troll".

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