Craigslist with $1/ad

Seth has an idea:

Some things are better when they're not free.

If Craigslist charged a dollar for every listing, what would happen?

Money creates a sort of friction. In the digital economy, magical
things can happen when there is no friction. You can scale to infinity.
On the other hand, sometimes you want friction.

I buy this.  I agree that some friction introduced to CL would probably improve the much-maligned user experience significantly and thus its utility.

However, sometimes you don't know the exact nature of the friction you are about to introduce to the system.

CL is extremely liquid because it is free.  You introduce cost and all of a sudden, liquidity starts going down.  Not that legitimate users would mind the $1/ad cost.  But there are other transaction costs that will inevitably enter the picture:  who processes these payments?  can all users access the payment methods?  can most?  you get the issue…

I suspect the scale and liquidity of CL is one of those magical things that happened because CL is free.

2 thoughts on “Craigslist with $1/ad

  1. 1$ introduces many angles.
    The 1$ amount is more or less immaterial. Because the real disincentive
    – for casual user, will come from setting up the whole payment procedure, not from the 1$ micro payment. (Providing CC data, trust relationship, Craigslist probably is not a trusted entity in people’s minds)
    -for the illegitimate user, will come from the authentication process that forces one to reveal his true identity
    -for legitimate but heavy user, will come from the cost vs. value of CL brings to the table.
    So, one could guess, number of causal and illegitimate users along with spammers will come down.
    Will this improve the user experience? I think not, because anonymity is a big asset of CL and this will more or less disappear.


  2. Using Craigslist as a place for employment is pure mediocrity.In an era where we have the ability to speak to almost anyone, why do we still write emails to anonymous email addresses?


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