Archive for the ‘Metrics’ Category

CL presents: Bay To Breakers

April 3, 2013

craigslist is excited to serve as this year’s top sponsor for the legendary Bay to Breakers footrace, a fellow San Francisco original.

b2b.dd

Granted some of us are a little out of shape, but we’re limbering up, tracking down our running shoes, and pounding carbs.

We hope to see some of you along the way (probably from the rear).

From the Bay to Breakers press release:

(April 1, 2013) Bay to Breakers, one of the world’s largest and longest running footraces, today announced San Francisco based craigslist as presenting sponsor. This partnership brings together two Bay Area classics – San Francisco born and bred craigslist, now the world’s leading classified ad service, and Bay to Breakers, the legendary 102-year-old San Francisco running race

“We’re tickled pink to sponsor Bay to Breakers,” said craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster. “A fellow San Francisco institution, this storied footrace celebrates the unique character of our colorful city, drawing fans and participants from around the world.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Bay to Breakers to partner with one of the world’s most visited websites and another San Francisco original, craigslist,” said Bay to Breakers Race Director Angela Fang. “We are thrilled to add them as presenting sponsor. As the event moves into its second century, we can’t imagine a better addition to the Bay to Breakers community.”

http://www.examiner.com/article/bay-to-breakers-announces-craigslist-as-sponsor

http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2013/04/03/craigslist-to-sponsor-2013-bay-to-breakers/

Legonaut, eh?

January 25, 2012

Enterprising Toronto teens launch Lego Man into near-space via weather balloon purchased from craigslist:

CL-wannabe-sponsored “research” backfires

February 24, 2011

Site-scraper seeks to undermine Internet safety by instructing users to ignore safety guidelines

Classified listings scraper/aggregator and CL wannabe Oodle has paid AIM Group to falsely portray craigslist as fraught with criminal activity.

If you strip away the false (and defamatory) paid-for editorial however, and look at the numbers AIM uses, a very different story emerges.

AIM group “documents” 330 crimes that it says occurred in connection with use of CL in the US over a 12 month period. Sounds scary until you compare that  number to the 570 million classified ads posted by 100 million or more US craigslist users during that same time span, generating literally BILLIONS of human interactions, many involving face-to-face meetings between users who do not know one another.

AIM Group facetiously writes “we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados.”

THOUSANDS??? Shame on you AIM Group (and Oodle). You know better. Try hundreds of millions or billions of safe transactions. How does the self-proclaimed “bible of the classifieds industry” arrive at a range that underestimates the transaction volume of CL by 5 or more orders of magnitude (and declines to correct it) ? Well, when you’re paid to reach false conclusions about crime incidence, you’ve got little choice. If you accurately describe the transaction volume, you then have to admit that the incidence of crime is extremely low, and that’s not what those sponsor dollars were about.  As Techdirt has noted, this “research” calls into question AIM Group’s entire value proposition:

As for the actual “research,” it seems laughable, at best, and should immediately raise questions about any AIM Group research. The “research” basically scoured news reports and found a grand total of 330 “crimes” in the past year that have some sort of loose connection to Craigslist. I have a hard time seeing how that makes it a “cesspool” of crime. That’s a very small number, especially considering the hundreds of millions of posts and transactions that take place via Craigslist.

James Temple at the SF Chronicle is reporting that, in terms of crime rate,  or incidence of crime, craigslist is roughly 11,000 times safer than the city of Oakland. And as he has now updated, there is no reason to pick on his hometown of Oakland, the 11,000x incidence ratio would likely apply to any major city in the US. The point he is making is not the dangerousness of any given city, but the relative safety of craigslist.

Crime is rare on craigslist in part because criminals know that the electronic trail they leave there helps ensure their capture, and CL is unusually helpful and cooperative with law enforcement. The risk is not zero of course, andcommon sense precautions are in order when using craigslist, just as you would do at other venues or offline (where risks are arguably higher).

Since few have heard of it, its worth mentioning that Oodle is a classified ad scraper or aggregator, meaning it acquires its listings by  scraping them or aggregating them from other sites. In fact we had to send them a cease-and-desist notice when they started scraping listings from craigslist in 2005.

AIM omits to mention craigslist is likely also safer than Oodle in terms of crime rate, or incidence of crime, when you compare the usage between the two sites. Spot checking of categories such as furniture,  roommates, collectibles, baby/kid stuff, and bicycles for January showed craigslist having roughly 1000x times Oodle’s listings (and CL listings are posted by its users, not scraped from other sites). Some Oodle categories have more listings, but those are dominated by data feeds from a few large commercial entities.

Compete.com web traffic stats show CL with 550x Oodle’s page views.

Such that if so much as ONE (1) crime was connected with an Oodle listing over the past 12 months, the crime rate for Oodle would exceed by almost two times the crime rate that AIM Group claims for CL.

It’s kind of like comparing Pine Bluff Arkansas (pop 100,000) to the state of California (population 30 million) — yeah, California has far more TOTAL crime, but the INCIDENCE of crime (crimes per 100,000 people) is actually lower in California (522) than in Pine Bluff (946).

But of course, you don’t include such findings or perspective when your “research” is being bought and paid for by a client looking to tar an industry leader whose position it covets and envies.

Not content with defaming craigslist, AIM/Oodle recklessly misadvises that “the old rules — “meet in public;” “always tell someone where you’re going;” “know who you’re dealing with” — often don’t work on Craigslist.” This wildly false and irresponsible guidance is reinforced in a related press release, which says that “the old rules of ‘meeting in public’ and ‘knowing whom you’re dealing with’ no longer apply.”

Kind of like advising motorists that, because accidents are happening despite precautions, that the old rules about “observing speed limits” and “wearing your seat belt” and “don’t drink and drive” no longer apply.

[2] Billions Served

October 11, 2010

The 2 billionth CL classified ad is for a guitar, $20 in Lancaster, PA. Needs new strings

Manual Screening Matters

August 18, 2010

craigslist is committed to being socially responsible, and when it comes to adult services ads, that includes aggressively combating violent crime and human rights violations, including human trafficking and the exploitation of minors. We are working intensively as I write this with experts and thought leaders at leading non-profits and among law enforcement on further substantive measures we can take. We are profoundly grateful to those offering us their expert assistance in this regard.

One of the many recommendations we hear from experts at NGOs, in law enforcement, and from politicians and regulators, is that craigslist is uniquely positioned to lead by example, and to exert influence over other advertising venues to follow in its footsteps. Indeed, as we intensify our efforts to make further forward progress, we continue to be hopeful that other companies will take an interest in adopting measures we have had in place for years.

craigslist implemented manual screening of adult services ads in May of 2009. Since that time, before being posted each individual ad is reviewed by an attorney licensed to practice law in the US, trained to enforce craigslist’s posting guidelines, which are stricter than those typically used by yellow pages, newspapers, or any other company that we are aware of. More than 700,000 ads were rejected by those attorneys in the year following implementation of manual screening, for falling short of our guidelines. Our uniquely intensive manual screening process has resulted in a mass exodus of those unwilling to abide by craigslist’s standards, manually enforced on an ad-by-ad basis.

Manual screening matters. We are proud of the difference it has made, along with the other measures we have taken. However, there is no shortage of US companies that have not yet implemented manual screening for this ad category, or any other of the steps that craigslist has taken, and that have not yet exhibited any interest in combating human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, and other forms of violence and human rights violations.

One of those companies, interestingly, is eBay — despite their touting their sites as a “family friendly” alternatives to craigslist. In response to criticismabout their management of one such site, LOQUO.com, where eBay offers tens of thousands of exceptionally hardcore pornographic ads explicitly offering sex for sale, yesterday eBay blocked access to all US IP addresses, presumably so that eBay investors, journalists, and other interested parties could not see. All the ads are still up, and can be viewed via proxy IPs.

Techcrunch has further coverage on these developments, and notes that eBay plans to eventually take down these types of listings as part of its “process of ensuring all of its sites are in alignment with its family-friendly values.” I’ll make a friendly wager that rather than taking down such listings, which eBay has aggressively marketed over the years to a very high level of profitability, upselling their users to higher and higher fees, eBay will instead soon sell their “non family friendly” sites such as this one to the highest bidder.

Back in the US, another company that does not manually screen adult ads, or take any of the other preventative measures that craigslist takes, is Village Voice Media’s backpage.com. When craigslist implemented manual screening of adult ads in May 2009, adult ads on backpage spiked by a factor of 5-10x, and you can see from the graph below that their page view traffic, which was flat until we implemented manual screening, more than quadrupled in the year following.

In addition to public nudges such as this blog entry, we’d like to offer our help to companies such as eBay and Backpage that may be interested in developing best practices. CEOs of such companies can email me directly, or you can drop us an email at legal@craigslist.org.

Mere Happenstance?

May 18, 2010

Here are the top 5 search providers, as ranked by Comscore for March 2010. Just for fun I’ve added % growth since January 2009, when Jeremy Zawodny(formerly at Yahoo) replaced craigslist’s old search architecture:

1. Google 13,996,000,000 19%
2. Yahoo 2,839,000,000 -5%
3. Microsoft 1,883,000,000 58%
4. Ask 719,000,000 11%
5. craigslist 685,000,000 38%

Wonder how CL would rank if we were actually in the search business?

Deja Blumenthal

May 3, 2010

True to form, CT AG Blumenthal is once again indulging in self-serving publicity at the expense of the truth and his constituents — touting a subpoena on television and telling whoppers about craigslist “reneging” on promises — even before craigslist had been served with a subpoena.

As AG Blumenthal knows full well, craigslist has gone beyond fulfilling its legal obligations, far beyond classifieds industry norms, has more than lived up to any promises it made, and working together with its partners is in fact a leader in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation.

With his senatorial race in full swing however, AG Blumenthal won’t let the facts get in the way of a good photo op. Or as I heard while in his offices 2 years ago — “The most dangerous place on earth is getting caught between Dick Blumenthal and a television camera.”

 

Shutting down CL personals

April 29, 2010

There is a “campaign” on twitter currently demanding that all of craigslist personals be shut down.

If you follow links supplied by the twitterers echoing this demand, you’ll find a couple of themes:

  1. They recognize that “declassifying” adult services ads would simply push them back into the personals categories, therefore you need to eliminate all personals.
  2. They believe casual sex, and sex outside of marriage, is happening in CL personals. Such sex is evil. Therefore CL personals are evil. Shut down CL personals.

This twitter campaign echos reasoning we have previously heard from Attorneys General, at least one of whom also essentially demanded that all of craigslist personals be shut down.

As reported in Wired, craigslist personals are the most used personals site in the US, dwarfing the total combined usage of match.com and eharmony.com and yahoo personals. CL personals are highly valued by craigslist users (and by the general public) who use them to find friendship, love, romance, companionship, entertainment, and yes, “casual encounters.”

The twitterers do have a point – declassifying “adult services” on a free classifieds board likely necessitates removing all personals categories (and probably services categories as well). Some of them point to eBay’s kijiji.com, kijiji.ca, and gumtree.com sites, which recently eliminated all personals categories, as a model to be followed in this regard.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we embrace all criticism as useful in improving our approach. But cynical misuse of a cause as important as human trafficking as a pretense for imposing one’s own flavor of religious morality (”casual sex is evil”) strikes me as wrong on so many levels.

We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement and advocacy groups, and reach out to potential new ones, as we strive to do the best job we can in combating human trafficking, while preserving the full-fledged classifieds (complete with all of the free personals categories) that CL users (and the general public) want and deserve.

 

Earthquake relief in Haiti

January 13, 2010

Trying to ascertain the relative scale of the various relief efforts ongoing in Haiti, with an eye toward directing charitable contributions.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) already has 800 personnel on the ground in Haiti, including many physicians, with 70 more staffers en route.

Oxfam has deployed 100 staff in Haiti thus far.

Care also has 100 in Haiti, with more on way.

Red Cross has 15 personnel in Haiti, with 6 more on the way.

 

Seek and Ye Shall Find

June 18, 2009

From Internet News, “Who’s Really Winning the Search Race“:

Yet, as it turns out, the big players aren’t the ones seeing the most growth in search. Instead, it’s Craigslist that leads in percent growth according to comScore. The online classifieds site posting a 12 percent jump in queries from 583 million to 651 million from April to May.

Here’s the data, with search queries denominated in millions:

Entities Apr-09 May-09 Growth
Google Sites 13,041 13,035 0%
Yahoo Sites 3,161 3,021 -4%
Microsoft Sites 1,250 1,194 -4%
AOL LLC 795 721 -9%
Ask Network 705 691 -2%
craigslist 583 651 12%
MySpace Sites 658 636 -3%
eBay 654 634 -3%
Amazon Sites 188 185 -2%
Facebook 176 184 5%

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