A screenshot of Craigslist as of May 2000

Before and After: Craigslist

Posted by

Craigslist is a simply laid-out website that screams the early internet. With a front page consisting exclusively of hundreds of hyperlinks, you would think the site was neither revolutionary nor something that would last very long. However, neither of those statements could be farther from the truth, as the founding of Craigslist represents a lot for many different groups of people.

For individual people who have things to sell, it represents ease-of-access. No longer does a seller need to get a classified in the newspaper, then wait for others to wait for it to arrive, read it, then finally make a decision. Sellers can simply create a listing on Craigslist, and their prospective buyers can instantly view it and decide whether or not to buy what’s being sold.

This leads us to the casual buyer, for which Craigslist represents options and convenience. Instead of only being able to purchase from classifieds in the newspaper and yard sales buyers happened to find nearby, they can instead have access to everything people in their city or local area are selling, and make the best decision with very little effort needed on their part. Simultaneously, they’re able to do this at any point in the day, knowing they had the latest and greatest information on what they were looking to purchase, and without having to subscribe to multiple newspapers to consider all of their options.

However, for the newspaper company, Craigslist is a small part of the overarching image of the internet making older forms of media (such as the newspaper) less relevant. As Craigslist is able to mostly provide a better classifieds experience than traditional newspapers, newspaper companies, and the people working in them, mostly see them as a contributor to their fall from grace.

Even with the negative impact Craigslist has had and still does have on newspaper companies, it still represents a generally positive direction for the yard sale-esque buyers and sellers of the world. With pure convenience for the buyer and instantaneous access to the seller, Craigslist is one of the many early sites that transformed the internet into the positive view people have of its utility today.

Leave a Reply