Craigslist, the anti-brand, is one of the biggest brands of the 21st Century. But it doesn’t market or brand itself. It does things slowly and repetitively: it can afford to – 47 million Americans visit Craigslist every month; more than eBay or Amazon.
Founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark, it is these days described as a “centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forums”. Newmark’s philosophy is as uncluttered and uncomplicated as the site’s design: “People are good and trustworthy and generally just concerned with getting through the day … Customer service is public service.”
Wired magazine contributor editor, Gary Wolf, suggests Newmark has one trait that mattered a lot in Craigslist’s success:
He is willing to perform the same task again and again. During the company’s first years, Newmark approved nearly every message on the list, and in the decade since he has spent much of his time eliminating offensive ones. Even by the most conservative accounting, he has passed judgment on tens of thousands of classified ads. Very few people could do this and thrive.
Craigslist is willing to do the basic, boring stuff again and again and again. It thinks long-term. It puts people first. It trusts them. And millions of people trust it back and use it every day to find love and cars and stuff.