from San Francisco Business Times, June 23, 2000
New offices worldwide are on
top of Craigslist
By John Rhine
Less is more.
That could be the simple philosophy behind homespun San Francisco job board Craigslist.com, where a plain-cloth-coat goodness mingled with an irresistible popularity among recruiters is fueling a rapid expansion.
"We're not incompatible with business at all," says the Internet site's founder and namesake Craig Newmark, who is better known for his community building than bare-knuckle commerce.
Now the simple spam-free recipe that first attracted hard-core tech talent to the online meeting place five years ago, is fueling a multi-city international expansion. Newmark hopes to recruit people in New York, Boston, Amsterdam and Berlin to set up Craigslists in their hometowns.
Craigslist also is attracting recognition from Internet analysts who just weeks ago named it the web's "most efficient" job site. What the site lacks in sheer numbers -- Monster.com has about 380,000 listings compared to Craigslist's puny 8,000 -- it makes up for in quality.
"We knew that we were a pretty effective job site," said Newmark of the survey by Internet researchers at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
"For example, one company recently hired over 50 people and all but a few were hired from the site, and we keep hearing that over and over," Newmark said.
For those kind of results, recruiters have learned to live with rules like the prohibition against resume fishing -- the posting of dummy ads to lure talent -- that many job sites turn a blind eye to.
"We really discourage that," said the soft-spoken Newmark, who must occasionally play cop to rule breakers.
And while the job listings were more an afterthought than its main objective, it has turned out to be a gold mine for the no-frills site, which charges companies $45 per listing.
Newmark, a former Java programmer, said he started charging for the listings in 1998 and left his full-time job behind a year later.
"I don't make as much as I did programming," Newmark said.
While he won't divulge how much he or the site is pulling in, the fact that the expansion is being financed internally gives some clue as to its success.
Revealing also are traffic numbers that would make many content sites blush: 10 million page views this month.
The toughest challenge so far, Newmark concedes, is balancing the site's money-making with its philosophy.
"We are a combination of nonprofit and traditional," said Newmark, "so we don't want to conquer the world. What we are trying to do is restore a more humane sense to the Internet."
So far, humane is proving to be profitable as well.