Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Death of Craigslist

There are times when you realize that something is over. Like when you notice that there are signs everywhere (literally—actual signs) saying "Disco sucks!" Or the day that you realize that spending 30-60 minutes a day signing back onto the AOL dial-up connection, after repeatedly getting kicked off, is costing you far more (10-20 hours per month, times your hourly rate) than it would cost to just get DSL, even though DSL was $50 a month, and AOL was $20. Or when you see that the only people who take Facebook seriously are the narcissists in your life, who want you to admire their carefully curated virtual "life" and just applaud. "Yay you! : )" No real two-way conversation from you needed, nor even desired.

And now, just like disco, AOL, and Facebook before it, craigslist has earned the boot from my life. In the last few weeks, as I wrote in the previous post, all translation ads were getting flagged off of the Seattle craigslist translation section. Not only that, but all ads in the writing/editing/translation section were being flagged off every day or two, in Seattle—and in Portland, too. There is no other explanation for this other than foul play. There is no evidence to be had that craigslist, despite being alerted to the disappearing translation ads, did anything effective against it.

In theory, community flagging sounds like a great idea. In theory, communism sounds like a great idea. In practice, though, human nature being what it is, neither works well in actual practice for long.

It wouldn't take much for craigslist to hire a few truly customer-service oriented people to curate the ads in each city. Anyone with investigative skills can quickly tell which ads are legit or not, and which ads are overposted or miscategorized. Community flagging, though, should go the way of communism generally; not because it is a bad idea, but because it

Until that happens, and it won't, craiglist will just keep alienating legitimate advertisers, leaving only the scammers and the scum. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

R.I.P., craigslist.

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