Craigslist has finally decided to roll out pictures as a part of search. Started in 1995 as a mailing list and launched in 1996 as a website, Craigslist is one of the oldest sites to sell, swap, trade and hire people. It’s right up there with Ebay…except for this “feature” which was 16 years overdue. I wonder if the next thing will be an API *gasp* – Then sites like PadMapper could give people the data they want about finding apartments without getting sued.
As you can see though, even with this new “feature”, the design still appears to be done in a 1990’s style of primitive HTML with no use of CSS. I wonder how beautiful Craigslist would look with just a simple stylesheet.
This feature has been needed for years. You can see from this Google search people have tried all sorts of workarounds including creating browser scripts with Greasemonkey to simply view inline images, something that Ebay implemented as early as 2000. I mean, you obviously were beta testing in certain markets but why not pay attention to this years ago simply by monitoring search volume for keywords and phrases like, “craigslist pic view”?
But wait, it doesn’t stop there. After suing PadMapper, you started building your own little clone to providing users with visual map of items posted on Craigslist. Wakeup call – PadMapper started doing that THREE YEARS AGO. Think of how much you could have collected in tidy and convenient licensing fees by providing an API plus start building a network of great partnerships. Oh wait, that would have required you to read websites like ProgrammableWeb that talk about API Billionaires like Ebay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, NPR, Salesforce Amazon and more…plus how to monetize data — oh wait, I forgot, that’s something you’re obviously not interested in because spending money on lawyers is much more logical. Now instead of just PadMapper, there are a TON of sites building visual maps to assist in apartment searching. I used it in 2009 to look at places when I was still living in Minneapolis with hopes and dreams of moving to the Bay Area.
And WTF Craigslist? Why did you do this to 3Taps? I went to their website today and they have this posted up:
Going back to getting sued, Craigslist decided not only to sue companies like Padmapper and 3Taps, they set out to
destroy annoy the competition. I love Padmapper because it helped me find a place to live in San Francisco by alerting me via email when new listings were posted on Craigslist. The CEO of 3Taps, Greg Kidd, gave an amazing talk at Mashery’s Business of API’s conference here in San Francisco last year and you should watch it here (and attend the conference next year!):
I’ve been a Craigslist user since 2004. I’ve bought and sold furniture and cars, landed jobs, adopted animals and even met my good friend Ed from connecting on Craigslist about some 1U rack mount servers I was looking to buy. That said, Craigslist has really let me down as a user, a technologist and as someone who values freedom, cooperation and providing information to people who need it.
Craigslist, you should be hanging your head in shame. The goal of Craigslist is to help people connect yet you are doing everything you can to prevent this through your actions.