Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Should Craigslist charge a buck?

Blogger says a $1 fee would make the free service better.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:31PM

Seth Godin raised a good question at his blog: What would happen if Craigslist ads were no longer free. How about charging a buck an ad?


He predicts that Craigslist, the nation's top source for online classified ads -- most of which are now free -- would become better.


How to improve Craigslist has been an online topic of conversation in recent days.


Farhad Manjoo wrote at Slate that Craigslist is swell in many ways, adding:

And yet there's no arguing that Craigslist is dysfunctional. Many of its categories are overrun with spam or obviously fake listings. It is an enabler of fraud and other human misdeeds .... Craigslist is also a mess to navigate.

Among the other suggestions to make Craigslist better:

  • Improve the search, says Farhad, as well as Sarah Handel of NPR's Blog of the Nation, who also likes Seth's idea. A better search would, for starters, do away with the chronological listing of results.
  • Also from Farhad: Let outside developers in. Twitter and Facebook have both done that, producing fun and handy results.
  • Use reputation scores to reduce anonymity, Farhad advises.

Farhad hopes that Redbeacon, a more sophisticated competitor, will prompt Craigslist to improve itself.


Here's what Seth thinks would happen if people had to pay a dollar for each listing:

  • The number of repetitive and bogus ads that clutter the site now would shrink.
  • The presence of scammers would too.
  • The owners would have more money to fund important work.

Seth said:

If you lead a group that allows anyone to join, for free, your group might be large, but it's not tight, it's not organized to make important change.

What do you think? Is Craigslist in need of a facelift?


Related reading:

Published Oct. 1, 2009

Jan 23, 2014 8:43PM
I don't think that a 1$ fee would be to bad. I think that it would still have just as much traffic, and I think that it would help the owners of Craig list out.


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.