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C'Mon Craigslist, You Can Do Better

Sep 21, 2009

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Sarah Handel

Have you ever tried to search your local Craigslist? It's only got the most basic sort of search capabilities, and it can be incredibly frustrating. I've never had luck buying over Craigslist, but I have sold a few things, and I think my success on that front is a direct result of my consternation with the rudimentary search — its inadequacies forced me to streamline my listings. So, it worked. Sort of. But every time I try to use Craigslist, I'm left with the feeling that it could be so much better.

Farhad Manjoo knows it could be better. In his piece for Slate, "How To Fix Craigslist," he directed my browser to Wired's profile of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Farhad's takeaway?

In essence, it's management by neglect. They seem to be opposed to making any changes to the site on the grounds that people love it the way it is — which is true, but people have loved a lot of things that were later improved, including, most pertinently, the Yellow Pages and newspaper classifieds. Craigslist isn't broken, but that's no reason not to fix it.

Craigslist isn't broken, so Newmark & Co. don't fix it. Come on, guys! But Manjoo is hopeful Craigslist challengers — especially Redbeacon — will force them to come around. He makes three concise recommendations for improving Craigslist, including my favorite, improve the search. Check them out here.

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