Ryan Blitstein’s done a lovely job profiling Craig Newmark in SF Weekly, digging into both Craig’s smart simplicity and the profound disruption his efforts have caused.
Favorite snippets:
Describing Craig monitoring CL in his unfinished home office: “This is how the multimillion-dollar global corporation that is Craigslist Inc. remains operational: with the founder sitting at home for hours a day, pointing and clicking on a “Sweep the Leg!” button. Yet the consequences of this bare-bones behemoth’s rise now stretch far beyond Newmark’s home and the Craigslist community.”
And:
“Newmark now suffers from a moral dilemma: He feels guilty about helping cause job losses and poorer-quality papers, but he’s excited to accelerate the decline of the big, bad mainstream media. He seems determined to remedy his sins against the media by changing it for the better, lending his name and dollars to a citizen journalism movement populated by J-school professors, idealistic techno-futurists, and so-called citizen journalists. A self-described news dilettante, Newmark believes his recent journalism-related work could be more important than Craigslist. Citizen journalism, though, may not be enough to plug the news hole created by his site’s success. Newmark’s well-intentioned campaign to repair the institution he inadvertently injured could very well be in vain.”
And:
“As a private for-profit, Craigslist doesn’t have to publicly disclose anything. SF Weekly parent company New Times doesn’t release many financial details, either. Newmark, though, views his creation as something different. “We do a better job as a nominal for-profit,” he says, “but we exist in a category that doesn’t really exist in the law.” That “category” allows Newmark to keep the domain Craigslist.org, a name that gives the false impression that the site is a nonprofit, by using “.org,” an extension almost exclusively used by nonprofit companies and foundations. Craigslist’s marketing materials call this “a symbol of our service mission and non-corporate culture.” ( Craigslist.com, which the company also owns, draws far less traffic.) It permits Newmark to use the word “non-commercial” twice on Craigslist’s “Mission and History” page, and to bury the phrase “No charges, except for job postings” in the third line from the bottom.”
This is the best piece on Newmark and CL I have read–and a must read for anyone interest in Craig, online classifieds, citizen journalism–and–surprise!– the role of women in new media–as in why are they missing in action in a 10,000 word story like this one?
Yep, one interesting side note here, not the focus of this terrific story–is that every single person mentioned or quoted in it–except for Craig’s unnamed girlfriend–is male.
(Susan sez: And what do you make of that? Anyone still wondering why Blogher was so special? I smell the new boys club… or unthinking writers…)

Ryan Blitstein’s done a lovely job profiling Craig Newmark in SF Weekly, digging into both Craig’s smart simplicity and the profound disruption his efforts have caused.
Favorite snippets:
Describing Craig monitoring CL in his unfinished home office: “This is how the multimillion-dollar global corporation that is Craigslist Inc. remains operational: with the founder sitting at home for hours a day, pointing and clicking on a “Sweep the Leg!” button. Yet the consequences of this bare-bones behemoth’s rise now stretch far beyond Newmark’s home and the Craigslist community.”
And:
“Newmark now suffers from a moral dilemma: He feels guilty about helping cause job losses and poorer-quality papers, but he’s excited to accelerate the decline of the big, bad mainstream media. He seems determined to remedy his sins against the media by changing it for the better, lending his name and dollars to a citizen journalism movement populated by J-school professors, idealistic techno-futurists, and so-called citizen journalists. A self-described news dilettante, Newmark believes his recent journalism-related work could be more important than Craigslist. Citizen journalism, though, may not be enough to plug the news hole created by his site’s success. Newmark’s well-intentioned campaign to repair the institution he inadvertently injured could very well be in vain.”
And:
“As a private for-profit, Craigslist doesn’t have to publicly disclose anything. SF Weekly parent company New Times doesn’t release many financial details, either. Newmark, though, views his creation as something different. “We do a better job as a nominal for-profit,” he says, “but we exist in a category that doesn’t really exist in the law.” That “category” allows Newmark to keep the domain Craigslist.org, a name that gives the false impression that the site is a nonprofit, by using “.org,” an extension almost exclusively used by nonprofit companies and foundations. Craigslist’s marketing materials call this “a symbol of our service mission and non-corporate culture.” ( Craigslist.com, which the company also owns, draws far less traffic.) It permits Newmark to use the word “non-commercial” twice on Craigslist’s “Mission and History” page, and to bury the phrase “No charges, except for job postings” in the third line from the bottom.”
This is the best piece on Newmark and CL I have read–and a must read for anyone interest in Craig, online classifieds, citizen journalism–and–surprise!– the role of women in new media–as in why are they missing in action in a 10,000 word story like this one?
Yep, one interesting side note here, not the focus of this terrific story–is that every single person mentioned or quoted in it–except for Craig’s unnamed girlfriend–is male.
(Susan sez: And what do you make of that? Anyone still wondering why Blogher was so special? I smell the new boys club… or unthinking writers…)