Lessons from Craigslist
January 30th, 2007

via reddit,

It’s been noted when comparing the top ranked sites and their employee numbers, Craigslist presents an anomoly:

clist.png

But I really like Michael Slater‘s lessons to draw from this:

* Providing a valuable service for free can attract a large and loyal audience. This is one case where the first-mover advantage is tremendous. You want to post your ads where lots of people will see them, which makes it hard for a new site to gain traction.

* Design is secondary to functionality, at least for sites that are delivering a simple utility, rather than entertainment. When compared to a newspaper’s classified ad section, craigslist isn’t especially ugly.

* User-generated content can form virtually the entire content of a very large site, if you choose your domain carefully.

* With user-generated content and little effort expended on design and new features, it is possible to have a lot of traffic with a very small staff.

Actually, I don’t find craigslist’s design ugly at all – it’s the perfect answer to an over-designed web. It’s the same refreshing focus on function over form and quick load time that explains why I like reddit over digg. Also – craigslist offers some of the best rants on the Internet.


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