I’m disillusioned with craigslist. What I once viewed as a free online classified advertising site that helped put a stake in the hearts of the major newspapers, is nothing more than a den of anti-business vipers.
I know that this bears a little explanation, so here it is. I have after all been taking advantage of the site for quite some time. I’ve advertised and sold items, I’ve bought items and I’ve assisted friends with web sites by posting ads that would drive traffic to them. Craigslist is a gold mine of web traffic, just not for businesses. I have also posted regularly for the business I work for over a period of many months and just recently have been restricted from posting by being “flagged”.
After asking for help about the flagging from their online chat-style forums, the true insidious nature of Craigslist became clear for the first time. Their comments bespoke an undercurrent of anti business sentiment. They have afterall already successfully undermined newspapers with their free online classified ads. I will show you evidence of their true motives.
Brace yourselves, it’s more than a little ugly. After two years of posting hundreds of ads for various purposes – all legitimate – all of my posts for the company I am working for are being flagged and removed. I thought, OK, fair enough, it’s probably because I have been posting too much so I let it be for a month thinking surely that would be enough time for the flag police to allow me to post again. So I posted one ad today.
I was immediately flagged again today. So I logged in and posted a question about it on their flag help forum. This is where you can supposedly ask questions and get help with why your ads were flagged. Below is a sample of some of the responses I received from the Craigslist staff to my request for help.
The “helpers” made it very clear that Craigslist was never made for business use to advertise their services. And yet, I was posting for a construction company in a section called “Services” under “Skill’d Trades” where businesses are encouraged by craigslist to post their ads.
I don’t know about craigslist but I would not want anyone doing “Skill’d Trades” on my property unless they were a legitimate contractor with a contractor’s license, bonded, insured, paying their workers legal wages, all that important stuff. But apparently craigslist is meant for the pirates out there who do “Skill’d Trades” under the table with illegal labor, no contractor license, no insurance, no bond.
This is what I was told about whether businesses are welcome to use Craigslist for advertising”
“Read the history and charter of Craigslist. < holyfsck > 08/10 15:52:49
As I said, concessions were made, and people like you came in in droves and began flinging your feces all over the place.
never should have opened that door in the first place. you are like herpes, once allowed in, you never leave.”
In response to my suggestion that they allow more posting for pay like they do with help wanted ads and real estate ads,
“Craigslist does not want to be “richer” < holyfsck > 08/10 16:02:13 The opportunity to make billions has been there for a long time, and deliberately ignored. The service it provides is meant to be all touchy-feely-happy-joy-joy… notice the symbol it uses for url’s and such? Hint: a purple peace sign.”
Perhaps the happy-joy-joy is all the prostitution supported by Craigslist, touchy-feely for sure but also illegitimate business which is AOK with craigslist.
To which I responded,
“Oh come on… < linkmissing916 > 08/10 16:10:35
Yes, billions are possible so if it’s all about philanthropy why not earn them and give them away to the poor? I guess because the 80 million a year that the CEO earns off the few paid ads are enough….”
In response to my question about how long before I could start posting again,
“You will need to talk to Helen in complaints. < holyfsck > 08/10 15:55:18 Her las name is Waite. So, go to Helen Waite.”
I requested Helen’s email address and suggested her maiden name was Helen Back. No response, no humor in the help forum.
So I wondered what do the attitudes of the help forum’s staff toward a business person posting too much say about the fundamental purpose of craigslist? I went to read the Charter (could not find the charter) and the History as the twit suggested and here is some of what the web site has to say.
Q: Is craigslist a nonprofit?
A: No, craigslist was incorporated as a for-profit in 1999.
So Craigslist is a business! Hypocrisy in action!
But then there is a contradiction, .org is for a non-profit, not a place that makes people richer than King Tut.
Q: How many job listings does craigslist receive?
A: More than 1 million new job listings each month
(That is 1 million times 25 dollars per ad, per month = $300 million per year on job listings alone. I shot way low!)
Q: Why does craigslist still use a “.org” domain?
A: It symbolizes the relatively non-commercial nature, public service mission, and non-corporate culture of craigslist.
Relatively non-commercial? Really? All those thousands of ads selling everything from sex to rock and roll? Not commercial, who are these entrepreneurial, faux hippies think they are kidding?
Craigslist is mostly about classified ads so I went to Dictionary.com to see how the words classified ad and ad are defined.
So Craigslist being primarily designed to support partially free classified ads could be interpreted as being synonymous with commercial. Hmmmm…. so why do they want to eliminate legitimate, licensed businesses from using Craigslist as a tool to employ people, pay people, buy goods, etc.
I was attacked with real anger toward businesses that I suspect belies their true intent of undermining legitimate business interests with their web site. They already did so successfully to newspapers, classified ads are all but defunct due to Craigslist and its business partner Ebay. How many people lost their jobs because of this free service? OK, free market and all that, fine, I like the service obviously and have taken advantage of it. But I have to question based on the things said to me today whether craigslist has an ulterior motive of undermining business with their work.
After being attacked for asking questions today I have to ask, how much business is my bosses company losing to free lance “Skill’d Trade” workers out there who can now undercut us on price because they have access to free advertising while I am being flagged off? These people don’t need to have a contractor’s license, or insurance or bonds or business licenses to advertise there. I got the sense that Craigslist staff doesn’t want us on there for that very reason, because legitimate businesses being on Craigslist hurts the illegitimate freelancer and that undermines their real mission of undercutting business.
And apparently, Craigslist has such a strong bias against business, contradictory to their professed “philanthropic” efforts to provide a “community service”, that they empower their forum helpers to launch online attacks against people who in good faith came to ask questions simply to gain understanding of how their system works. And wow, did I ever get the message!
I urge business people to boycott craigslist and use one of the many other free classified advertising sites out there instead. Leave the anti-business, rude and snarky craigslist help forum staff to their work of getting rich behind the facade of saving the world from business.
I appreciated the honest feedback at the end of the day because I got a glimpse of the anti-business anger of the Craigslist staff. To denounce a business person in such an blatantly aggressive manner for simply wanting to learn how to use the service, using vile words like feces and comparing business owners to herpes, well, that reveals an inner ugliness that they would probably prefer wasn’t brought into the light of day outside their Victorian house in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.