Craigslist founder talks about open source, banner ads

Speaking at the WebGuild Web 2.0 Conference, Craig Newmark discussed the technological aspects of his famed site and downplayed its effect on newspapers

In a candid discussion of his classified ads site and its business model, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said Tuesday he has considered open-sourcing some Craiglist technology, frowns upon banner ads, and believes the site's impact on newspaper ad sales is exaggerated.

Speaking at the WebGuild Web 2.0 Conference & Expo in California. Tuesday morning, Newmark detailed how the site began as a simple events list in 1995 and evolved into a real company in 1999. Now, the site has grown to one that experienced 9 billion hits per month prior to the recent holiday season. Craigslist is run on Suse Linux, Apache, and MySQL, Newmark said.

Pondering Craigslist's open-source plans, Newmark said the company has considered open-sourcing some of its caching technology but said staffing issues have prevented this from happening; the company has 25 employees.

Asked the benefit of such a contribution, Newmark cited benevolence. "I don't know [the specific benefits], but it feels in the right neighborly spirit," he said.

Craigslist, he said, has been successful because it has built a culture of trust working with people. The company makes money by charging for job postings in 11 cities and for apartment listings in one city. But the company has declined to do banner ads, said Newmark. He added he already makes enough money.

"Banner ads are often kind of dumb, and they slow the site down. I'm not interested," he said.

Newmark recognized that the site has affected newspaper classified advertising, but he stressed that the impact has been greatly exaggerated. "I figure the biggest problems newspapers have these days have to do with fact-checking," said Newmark.

Craigslist is growing, he said. "We are helping out lots of people, probably in the tens of millions. We need to be prepared for that growth," Newmark said. The company must improve its software and get new servers, he said.

Newmark's own role has evolved from being the founder writing code to doing customer service, he said. "I haven't written code since the end of 1999. It makes me sad," said Newmark.

Also at the conference, Gil Penchina, CEO of Wikia.com, which is community site supporting development of wikis, cited the company's open source search efforts with its Wikia Search project. The project currently is in an alpha stage of development.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?