Friday, June 04, 2004

Just What are Nerd Values, and How Did They Help Craig?

Ask me yesterday what I thought of Craig's List, and I would have told you that, "it's phenomenal," and that, "Craig deserves any success that he gets."

I don't know Craig.

I don't even read along on his personal blog. But, I know that his site started out small. That it contains many ads that are free, that allow people to help each other.

I pointed my father at the site a couple of months back, and told him about how great the classifieds from Craigslist were doing, and that it's an interesting model to base a web business upon.

It appears that I'm not the only one talking about it like that. A few newspapers have capitulated to Craig. They've been claiming that they can't compete with Craigslist's Classifieds.

I can see that.

Ask me today, and I'll probably tell you the same thing. But the timing is kind of funny. I got my first piece of spam this afternoon from a request for more information that I made a few months back. A local magazine was asking for writers to produce articles. In true Craigslist style, the advertisement didn't disclose very much about the people posting the job.

In the newspaper world of classified ads, I've always hesitated when seeing an ad that promised fame and fortune, and riches greater than what most entry level positions paid, but wouldn't get around to revealing much about the work to earn those. Selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door? Designer rip-off frangrances on city street corners? There are some lousy ways to make a buck. Not as bad as fishing for shrimp on the Gulf of Mexico on a boat too rickety to leave site of land. But bad.

Somehow, with Craigslist it was OK. The people placing ads were as much a nerd as I was.

Then I got an offer to join an online dating service, and offered money to sign up, and the person making the offer used my inquiry letter for the writing gig a few months back as an excuse for contacting me. It was a "pre-exisiting relationship" that must have made it OK to send out emails to me, and others like me.

I guess that as less nerds use Craigslist, and more marketers with ridiculous justifications start, it may lose some of its glitter. I hope I'm mistaken.

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