Craigslist gets bigger, goes smaller

By Steve Outing

Craigslist added another 100 cities this week, bringing the total coverage for the free-classifieds company to around 300 cities. Craig & company are, in the U.S., getting down to smaller communities now.

This means that a new wave of newspaper publishers now get to freak out about the Craigslist threat to their classifieds business model. I got a call from a reporter at the Roanoke (Virginia) Times today, wondering what might happen now that Craigslist has arrived there. I was impressed that the Times was willing to assign a story about Craigslist’s local entry; some newspapers prefer not to give Craig any publicity.

As I told the reporter, a new Craigslist in a community will take some time to build a user base, so immediate panic isn’t called for. But if and when Craigslist does catch on, then the local newspapers need to adapt. More free ads for certain categories is an obvious logical reaction, with money coming from premium upsells to free ads and contextual paid advertising surrounding the free classifieds.

Thinking of my own behavior, I told the reporter, “Newspaper classifieds are now dead to me.” That is, when I have something to sell or buy (up to and including cars), I no longer even think about my local newspaper classifieds. Craigslist in my market (Denver-Boulder, Colorado) is so widely used and works so well — at least, it has for me, multiple times — that I no longer need newspaper classifieds. They’ve been replaced by something that works better.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

8 Responses to "Craigslist gets bigger, goes smaller"

  1. James Neal
    James Neal 11 years ago .Reply

    Six years living in Boston and Craigslist provided me with several roommates and apartments. Great fan of the site but what’s up with the design? I’ve heard rumors of a major design overhaul soon. It would really make the site even better.

  2. spurgeonblog 11 years ago .Reply

    Craigslist adds another 100 cities…

    According to a post over on, craigslist has added another 100 cities to it’s service, upping the total to 300. As Steve points out, this gives a whole new group of newspapers reason to be very worried about the……

  3. […] Fear of Craigslist continues to stalk American newspaper owners and journalists as it expands further, now moving into smaller communities. Steve Outing says: “This means that a new wave of newspaper publishers now get to freak out about the Craigslist threat to their classifieds business model.” […]

  4. Howard Owens
    Howard Owens 11 years ago .Reply

    I still think craigslist can be beat.

    Newspaper classifieds aren’t dead to me — I use whatever works for a particular need.

    Newspaper classifieds, especially online, are still incredibly powerful and effective, which is a big competitive advantage.

    Free isn’t necessarily a competitive advantage.

    That isn’t to say that individual local newspapers won’t go bankrupt if they’re not careful and creative about meeting the challenges of craigslist and others.

  5. Amy Gahran
    Amy Gahran 11 years ago .Reply

    Steve — you\'re now just a few blocks from Dave Taylor. I\'m thinking: LUNCH!

    – Amy Gahran

  6. Joel Fugazzotto
    Joel Fugazzotto 11 years ago .Reply

    Congrats to both you and Derek on the Enthusiast Group\'s new office space!

  7. Howard Owens
    Howard Owens 11 years ago .Reply

    That\'s a significant step for your company. Congratulations. As a former home-office, small business owner … I very much appreciate what a big deal this is.

  8. stephen c brown
    stephen c brown 10 years ago .Reply

    stephen from illinois writes i have used freeads and it done well plus free newspaper free advertising it done some good craigslist is bring people to my page if you would stop by thanks

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