The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, May 24, 2004

CRAIG'S LIST IN TAMPA BAY (AND ORLANDO)
I guess getting a dedicated Craig's List subdomain signifies that a metro area has a critical mass of Internet users. So it is with Tampa Bay, which now has a little corner of craigslist.org to call its own. Craig Newmark, the brains behind the List, says it was just time for the Florida Gulf Coast to get in on the action:
"I think it was just ready," Newmark said about the Tampa Bay area. Chief executive Jim Buckmaster explained the company's criteria - including the region's size (21st in the 2000 Census), 16 percent growth rate, the success of the site in Miami and "a large number" of requests from users - that led to the creation of the Tampa Bay area site...

According to the company, the bay area site attracted 32,000 unique visitors in April, ranking it sixth of the nine cities added in 2003, and had about 640,000 page views, for a ranking of seventh. By comparison, San Francisco had 314-million monthly page views.
Laudable. I can't wait to hear about people meeting and getting married and having babies, all thanks to a Craig's List hookup!

Craig's List's success has been the result of keeping things simple: Ease of navigation, layout, posting, etc. The sparse look of the site, and particularly the deliberate absence of overt advertising, works as well as Google's homepage. It's kind of an oasis in an otherwise bloated Internet. It's also gotten success without having to do much, if any, advertising (at least offline). I'm curious to see if it will really take off here; in San Francisco, it grew as a result of the very large techie community there, and spread from there to a more mainstream audience. I don't know if there's that same foundation here; but then, if there weren't at least the potential, they wouldn't have expanded here.

One thing, though: The chronology in this article is suspect:
"Tampa Bay has done very well and is not far behind where Miami was at this stage, which is mildly surprising given the considerably larger size of the Miami metro area," Buckmaster said by e-mail. "It'll be interesting to see how Orlando does when it kicks off (sometime in the coming weeks/months)."
Maybe Orlando is not officially launched yet--it's not hyperlinked in the list of Craiged cities--but it's there right now, and has a little activity on it. For that matter, I'm not sure how "new" Tampa Bay's entry is, as I remember coming across it a long, long, long time ago.

I've already been cruising the local List for the past few weeks. Haven't gotten anything off it yet, but just today, I did talk to this girl who's looking to trade an iPod for some furniture. If you can help her out, go for it!