Twas just a week ago that the NY Times argued that Craigslist was virtually bulletproof. Not because it’s anything special, but because they cultivate a false image of doing good while simultaneously bullying competitors with their lawyers:
So why hasn’t anyone managed to unseat Craigslist, a site that has barely changed in close to two decades?
It has dug an effective moat by cultivating an exaggerated image of “doing good” that keeps its customers loyal, while behind the scenes, it bullies any rivals that come near and it stifles innovation.
So everyone understood how naive that was. Even the NY Times: Craigslist is undefeatable no longer they say now.
They retreat all the way on why Craigslist is successful. Nothing mentioned about legal bullying or accusations of exaggerating their image of doing good. Here’s what they say now:
Craigslist appeals to people all around the country, and world, because of its simplicity and accessibility
So, ok. That’s not what the other NY Times guy said. But let’s move on.
So Craigslist is now somewhat appealing to users, and may have some attraction beyond legal bullying and image propaganda.
But it’s not gonna last. Because in a meandering argument the NY Times says that social stuff, and mobile stuff, and/or a “distributed network” of such stuff, may “soon…be giving Craigslist a run for its money.”
So first off they talk about Highlight as a threat to Craigslist. Highlight is a wonderful mobile social network and we’re investors. But it’s not what’s going to bring down Craigslist.
The writer, and I’m not kidding, saw someone trying to sell something on Highlight, and decided it’s a threat. “A few days ago an incoming alert caught my eye,” she says.
And that was that. Because oh my gosh, for the first time ever there’s something competing with Craigslist. Nevermind doing a web search, to the presses!
They’ve all failed. Or are in the process of trying to figure out a way to survive in a Craigslist world.
It’s not that Craigslist can’t be beaten. But they’ve put up a pretty good barrier to entry – a simple service that charges way less than they could for what they offer. All the demand is there, and no one wants to bother listing stuff on services that have no eyeballs.
Craigslist can eventually be disrupted, and perhaps it will. But almost certainly not by any of the services listed in the NY Times article.
But what I’m most annoyed with: I don’t understand why the NY Times wants so badly for Craigslist to be beaten.
Do they really have no sense of history or the other attempts that have been made to take market share from Craigslist? Do they really think that for the first time ever someone’s trying to take them down?
It’s sloppy, naive reporting built on a foundation of questionable motive, and I don’t like it. At some point shame needs to overcome arrogance and condescension. I thought we hit that point last week, but obviously not.