In this short 4min videolog, Howard Rheingold shares what Craig Newmark has to say about the philosophy behind Craigslist, the quantity of users vs. abusers in a free market system, and the difference between journalists and bloggers (pressure of revenue, burden of fact checking). For a web service that has a mere 25 staff members handling 10 billion page views per month, that’s pretty mindblowing.
He recently invited Craig Newmark, creator of the popular yet non-commercially oriented Craigslist.org, as a guest speaker for his class. Available for most cities, Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums on various topics. Since Craigslist is a free web service, it has pretty much killed the newspaper classified ads industry. Newspaper publishers are forced to adapt in order to generate new revenue streams.
This situation goes inline with what Mark Deuze had mentioned through his book and guest lectures on the precariousness of the media industry (video included). Mark presented his finding that jobs the media industry are as “precarious”, offering little stability compared to other industries (e.g. no contracts). In part due to competition from creativity being publicly crowdsourced, thereby undermining the creative profession.
Mark also cites interview data which shows how the media industry is very much a cultural industry where productivity is going up, while the number of employees is going down. Other industries, such as manufacturing, are learning from how the creative industry achieves this, because that formula is literally a gold mine for business. It obviously hurts society as a whole. Evidence can be seen from the layoffs in the newspaper industry; The New York Times was said to be eliminating about 100 newsroom jobs over the course of this year, according to an article they published on 14th Feb 2008.