Hurricane Craig swung through to deliver a second round of punishment late in the day yesterday. What he took away from Craigslist this time was, basically, the last and most precious thing to take – clickable links.
That’s after Craigslist disallowed the use of almost all HTML elements (images, tables and most text styling) in posts over the last week.
So we really shouldn’t refer to Craigslist as a website anymore, since almost all the basic elements of the web (even circa 1995) are now gone. Think of it more like newspaper classifieds in an electronic form. You know, from the newspaper classified market Craigslist helped to obliterate over a decade ago.
Except, in all the wreckage wrought by Hurricane Craig over the past two weeks, there’s still plenty of spamming going on all over Craigslist. Our survey of Craigslist sites this morning shows that all this calamity has taken nary an ounce from the flood of over-posting, faux-listings, and apartment-finder-fishing that is often rampant on Craigslist.
Craigslist was an old fashioned commons. Craig and company did not adequately care for it and it was being spoiled by a subset of users who took more than their fair share. A Tragedy of the Commons outcome was, arguably, already underway. To correct for this, Hurricane Craig nuked the commons. And what’s the only species known to thrive in a nuclear holocaust? Cockroaches.
At ShowMojo, we are seeing two clear patterns this morning:
- Prospective renters are now arriving directly at ShowMojo scheduling pages, without a previous page “redirect”. This means that renters are copying and pasting the ShowMojo schedule-a-showing link directly into their browser address bar.
- We are still seeing plenty of activity on the old live links that are still out there. So even the renters on Craigslist are defying the clear edict of Craig.
Every other change we have seen out of Hurricane Craig — regardless of the opinions of various users, pundits and abusers — could be argued on some form of merit. This final move is nothing less than a broadside upon the Internet itself. It may be one of those classic blunders made by companies whose arrogance and hubris has hit a critical, self-destructive, thermo-nuclear mass. While there’s no reason to hope that Craigslist might undo this final callous act, it’s best to prepare for the onset of a post-Craigslist era, as its users may slowly wander away, longing for the web-based experience they once knew and loved.
For ShowMojo, to reiterate, we still see Craigslist as a valuable and viable source of scheduled showings. We’ll watch activity closely over the coming weeks. And we have new features in the roadmap that, we expect, will make up for any set-back (whether real or perceived) in these changing times.
There is always opportunity in change. And our goal is to find that opportunity and make the most of it for our customers and all prospective renters.
I’ll close with Craig Newmark’s parting words from a short email conversation last night.