Rich Skrenta: The brilliance of Craig’s List

The incomparably smart Rich Skrenta deconstructs Craiglist’s succeess in a post that’s a must-read for anyone interested in classifieds, citizen journalism, the semantic web and viral marketing/local. A snippet:
“Craig’s lead-into-gold trick is that he gets his posters to accurately classify their spam. Into 160 categories. Holy Toledo Jacob Nielsen. You can’t have a pulldown with 160 things in it. Half of your users wouldn’t get a pulldown with 3 things in it right. Ah, but it’s not a pull-down. Half of the entire homepage is a giant selector devoted to classifying posts.
Booting up new cities should be very hard, maybe taking years like the main SF site took. But there’s another set of seed material to help new Craigslist cities get going. The discussion forums. These are global across all the Craigslist cities. If you go to and click on ‘transit’, you’re going to read about SF Muni. But fortunately many of the categories, like ‘kink’, travel well. So there is plenty of discussion on a brand new Craigslist city to look at even when nobody from the new town has contributed anything yet. ”
As usual, Rich is sharp, incisive and original–folks, take note.