Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The DC Craigslist

The Washington Post reports:

Craigslist, the popular Web site where folks from around the world find used sofas, second jobs, cheap housing and new soul mates, is starting to ask for money for a spot on its busiest pages.

This week, it's New York City apartment brokers who are being told that a listing fee is on its way. Later this year, Washington area employers may be asked to cough up some money for an ad on the region's job listings page.

It's an out-of-character move for the site, which is best known for allowing users to post their ads free of charge. But it's the users who begged the site operators to do something about the number of repeat listings on the site.

Starting March 1, a $10 fee will be imposed for listings in New York with hopes of deterring the brokers who list the same apartment several times in a single day... Its simple interface gives the newest listings the most prominent spot, prompting some brokers to re-post the same listings several times a day to ensure that theirs were the first ones that home-seekers encounter.

As a result, the site gets 600,000 listings for real estate in New York per month; by instituting a fee, Craigslist hopes to cut that number by 90 percent.

Washington DC's Craigslist is one of the sites I regularly monitor for jobs. It's also one of the least useful. Once you get past the "anonymous" employers and vague titles, you still have to deal with a site that is flooded with multiple copies of the same listings - often temp agencies (also frequently anonymous) that might not even have jobs available.

I don't know if a listing fee will help, but I doubt it can hurt. The article doesn't really address the use of job listings, but the problem is probably similar to the real estate abuses.

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