craigslist Let’s begin by defining terms. Craigslist is awesome in many respects–free, comprehensive, simple, and massive–but in other respects it sucks. The crappy elements include:
- Design (none)
- Tons of Garbage listings
- Poor organisation (listings organised by date instead of function)
- Inability to find only what you are looking for
But here’s why Craig, Jim, and co. don’t do anything about it:
- Craig clearly grooves on the fact that Craigslist sucks. Every day is an inside joke on all those bozos who spend millions building super-sexy graphic-intensive sites. Those sites have no users and big losses. Craigslist has millions of users and huge profits.
- Craig understands the same secret that Plenty of Fish proprietor Marcus Frind does: Sites that look like they suck are often a hundred times more useful and popular that sites that actually suck). Why? Because the key to Craigslist and Plenty of Fish is their ability to connect users to useful user-generated content, and vice versa. Everything else, as Frind says, is “trivial.”
Craigslist could be made more useful and pleasant if it eliminated more garbage listings and improved the search/find interface, and, hopefully, it will eventually get around to doing that. (If it doesn’t, it will eventually run into the same problem as eBay: bad “buying” experience send users elsewhere). But even if Craigslist spruces up listings and navigation, it will still look like it sucks.
Web designers take note!
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