People are always looking for newer and faster ways to sell unwanted junk, hire the perfect employee, find the apartment of their dreams and the perfect mate to match. Sadly, the search for the promised land, employee or limited edition Saved by the Bell mug is easier said than found. But that hasn’t stopped millions of people from trying to find the ideal method of selling and finding.
To all those people, look no further than craigslist.
Since its creation in 1995, www.craigslist.org, an online bulletin board with the feel of a newspaper classifieds section, has been a growing force to be reckoned with on the Internet. Part of its appeal lies in its accessibility. There are craigslist Web sites for cities in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. and 34 countries globally. As a result, millions of people post listings every day for all things imaginable. There are categories for selling and buying items, jobs (both paying and non-paying), housing and without a doubt the most popular section of the site, personals.
Like the nation’s biggest job Web sites – Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and HotJobs.com – craigslist gives both employers and jobseekers the opportunity to post listings and resumes online for people all around the world to access.
What sets the humble craigslist apart from these gargantuan organizations is cost. While Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs offer limited free accounts that access only parts of their sites and a smaller portion of their overall job listings, craigslist offers completely free listings for jobseekers and employers alike.
The exceptions to the free posting policy are businesses that post help-wanted ads in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City sections of the Web site. The money earned from these sites helps keep craigslist in operation.
The job listings may be the most viewed part of craigslist, but this online bulletin board features a discussion board and perhaps the most enjoyable part of the Web site, the personals section. Ranging from subheadings like “Strictly Platonic” to “Rants and Raves,” the personals give men and women from all backgrounds the opportunity to look for a partner or simply to vent their dating frustrations.
One of the most interesting subheadings for readers is the “Missed Connection” personals. There, individuals who met briefly on the subway or while jogging on their morning route can make one last attempt to make contact with the other person. The result can turn a missed connection into a successful relationship, or become a fun story for the other individual to share with family and friends.
Relationships and job listings aside, the craigslist Web site also manages to lend a hand in times of crisis. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, craigslist has put up links to the American Red Cross and other relief efforts as well as links to local volunteer services and missing persons hotlines for families and friends.
A decade after its creation by San Francisco programmer Craig Newmark, craigslist has been the source of countless opportunities for millions of people across the United States and the world.
So much so, there have been countless imitations that lift everything, from the format to the exact names of the categories listed on the site.
But Internet users aren’t buying the other sites. According to the facts and figures on craigslist.org, traffic for the site exceeds 2.5 billion listing views each month from more than 10 million users.
There are millions of Web sites on the Internet that offer users the opportunity to find a spouse, buy and sell just about anything and post a resume. But only craigslist does all three in addition to offering real estate listings, more than 26 categories for job listings and plenty of opportunities to discuss the extraordinary events that occur in users’ day-to-day lives.
And only craigslist will beam designated listings into outer space for any intergalactic species looking for a good place to live or a way to vent their dating frustrations.
Marta Rusek can be reached at MRusek@temple.edu.