Free and easy

More

That's been the charm of Craigslist for awhile now: except for employment ads in two or three cities (and lately some erotic services), advertising has been free and easy. Which may be why the computer listings on Craigslist New York are now a wasteland of spam. This is an ominous sign for their business model, and perhaps another indicator that in the long run, for at least some important things, the "free" model on the Internet is not sustainable or perhaps even desirable.

If Craigslist had to charge for ads in order to deter spammers, that might erode the competitive advantage it has enjoyed over local news sites. The same would be true if Craiglist had to employ a lot of people to screen ads (and advertisers). But take a look, it's all spam, and I'm not sure why the same couldn't happen to other Craigslist categories and cities as well.


Jump to comments
Presented by

Daniel Akst

Dan Akst is a journalist, essayist and novelist who wrote three books. His novel, The Webster Chronicle, is based on the lives of Cotton and Increase Mather. More

Dan Akst is a journalist, novelist and essayist whose work has appeared frequently in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wilson Quarterly, and many other publications.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In