[Homestead] Craig's List and Best Of Craig's List---if you have non-directed time

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Tue Sep 28 17:15:27 EDT 2004


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AT RANDOM CONNECTED

	

Best of Craig's List gives the inside scoop on others' lives

By Eric Gwinn
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 28, 2004

If you've ever wondered whether everybody else's life is bigger than 
yours, the answer is yes. Don't believe me? Hang out at Best of Craig's 
List.

You'll howl at the (apocryphal?) account of a pit bull-raccoon staredown 
at 3 in the morning.

Smack your forehead at the unpretentious brilliance of a personal ad 
that perfectly encapsulates the differences between flawed modern men 
and the flawed, forgiving women they seek.

Gasp at a picture of a dusty car imprinted with the bodies of two naked 
strangers who used the car's hood for a moonlit coupling.

As you can guess, the world of Best of Craig's List is definitely a 
place for grown-up sensibilities.

Best of Craig's List sprouted up from craigslist.org, an online 
community of 5 million people a month who sell, barter, befriend and 
pontificate. San Franciscan Craig Newmark has been running the joint 
full time since 1999, after four years of running it initially as an 
e-mail list of grass-roots events in the City by the Bay.

The site has blossomed over the years, as people sold refrigerators, 
offered concert tickets in exchange for guitar lessons, hunted for 
apartments, posted and found jobs and met new friends platonic and 
otherwise.

The idea took root in neighboring communities and has grown to 48 cities 
in the U.S. (Chicago came aboard in August 2000) and nine overseas, all 
connected to a bunch of servers overseen by a handful of nerds in San 
Francisco.

600 hits per second

While Newmark and his group could have scored big by selling the concept 
-- the site attracts 1 billion page views a month and 600 hits per 
second during the busy midday hours -- they've held on to the idea that 
they want to make only enough money to pay the bills and live 
comfortably. Last month, eBay announced it had acquired a 25 percent 
interest in craigslist.org, but Newmark approves, describing the history 
of the transaction this way: One of the original owners was among those 
with an ostensibly symbolic equity stake of 25 percent, which that 
person sold to eBay for an undisclosed, though apparently non-symbolic, 
amount. EBay has promised no meddling, only to offer wisdom it has 
earned building a community of buyers and sellers.

But it's not the dollar signs or the hit rate or the chance to score a 
$95-never-been-opened surround-sound home theater system that attracts 
me to Craig's List. No, what gets me is Best of Craig's List. Yes.

Reading slices of other peoples' lives, getting a feeling of "I know 
someone just like that" or "That's what I should have said to my ex" is 
like catching up on friends I've never met. Or it's like not having a 
life. Either way, it shows how we're connected.

Visitors nominated ads or postings

Site visitors nominate their favorite ads or postings for inclusion on 
that day's Best of Craig's List.

"BOCL nominations likely number in the tens of thousands per month," 
writes CEO Jim Buckmaster via e-mail.

"I go through the nominations every few weeks and post the new "best 
ofs," weeding out self-nominations, repeats, plagiarisms, etc -- and 
picking ones I think are good!"

Buckmaster, who's been too swamped to update Best of Craig's List 
recently, added a smiley face to his comment, symbolizing the spirit of 
BOCL.

To wit:

"I just read a couple of `why I left you' posts, and these triggered my 
guilt mechanism. I am sorry I ended things without the gut-wrenching, 
agonizing micro-analysis you wanted. So here are some of the reasons why 
I ended things between us:

" . . . You credit your multifaceted personality and mood swings and 
constantly shifting priorities and ambitions to the fact that you are a 
...Gemini. Seriously. You use being a Gemini as an excuse to change your 
mind. About everything from your clothes to your life goals. Oh. My. God.

"You are careless, feckless, lazy, neurotic, on Paxil, self-absorbed, 
shallow, and not very bright.

"You just don't get it, and you never will.

"You are, however, a fantastic cook, and I will miss that about you.

"Your Ex-Girlfriend"

----------

E-mail Eric Gwinn at egwinn at tribune.com.

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune <http://www.chicagotribune.com/>



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