Sunday, February 20, 2005

How Craigslist Got Bangalored

How Craigslist Got Bangalored
Bangalore has arrived. It now has its own spoor on the world's most popular web resource.
Business Today

We'll say that again. Craigslist has got Bangalored and the city now boasts its own pages on the world's most popular web resource. Craigslist ( is where anyone who knows how to use a computer and the internet goes when they want to look for something, like say, cheap digs (or fancy ones for that matter). The California-based listing was founded by self-confessed geek and introvert Craig Newmark a decade ago; the irony that a person like Newmark should found a vibrant online community hasn't been lost on anyone, with most reports on the man focussing on his lack of social skills (one report quotes his hairdresser as saying that Craig is more comfortable with machines than people). Since its founding, Craigslist has grown to include listings of 92 cities, across 12 countries, attracts 7.5 million unique visitors and 1.5 billion page views a month, hosts 4 million new classified ads every month and attracts some 100,000 job listings in the same period, and is 25 per cent owned by eBay.

The business model is simple: people are allowed to post ads for free; advertisers pay around $70 (Rs 3,080) per listing to list their stuff. Executives (there are some 18 of them) at Craigslist remain tight-lipped on revenues, but this writer learns that they could be in the range of $7 million to $10 million (Rs 30.8 crore to Rs 44 crore).

So, why Bangalore? "It was purely based on demand," says Newmark, the company's head of customer services (its CEO is Jim Buckmaster). "Bangalore got the most votes, ahead of any other city in India." The Bangalore listing, which opened late last year, gets around 450,000 page views and 32,000 unique visitors a month. "I posted on it because it was quick, free and easy," says Dawn Hayes. "Posting in more mainstream resources would have been costly, not very instantaneous and hit or miss in terms of audience reach as I am unfamiliar with media sources in India; posting directly to a location thousands of miles away at the click of a mouse is pretty convenient."

That it is, and the sheer range of listings (as captured in the three that follow) is proof enough of Craigslist's popularity.

Residential flat available on third floor for rent. It's fully furnished. It has a three-bedroom penthouse. Built-up area: 2,475 sq. ft. with attached bathrooms, north-east facing, Italian modular kitchen with electric chimney, vitrified tiles, private terrace of 690 sq. ft. with all other modern amenities. This is in or around Bannerghatta, Bangalore.

PhD in organic synthesis and must have 10 years R&D industrial experience. Should be ready to change location to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Job location is Bangalore General.

I am looking to meet, fall in love with and marry a handsome Indian man. I love your culture, beauty and charm, will be travelling to India soon and would like to meet you! If you are interested, please write and send a photo and I will send mine in return.

"What the public want is genuine service," says Newmark, adding that the listing remains moored in its community roots despite the eBay connection. Thus, a decision on charging real estate brokers will soon be made after everyone airs their opinions in a debate.


At Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 6:57:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the kind words, we'll keep the faith!


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