edgeio/CraigsList – what’s the difference?

I posted to the comments on Rob Hof’s BusinessWeek Online blog this morning. A reader has said that edgeio’s new features make it “like CraigsList” and implied that edgeio’s distinctiveness was threatened.

I’m re-posting it here because there are some themes in it that I think are important to expose.

Here is my reply:

Rob,

Thanks for writing about our new features. I want to respond to Mike
Masnick. On the face of it he asks a fair question – if you can list on
edgeio then how is that different from CraigsList?
It’s a multi-part answer:

1. We are giving you a hosted listings blog. It is yours to post to.
edgeio is still aggregating the content from your blog, just as if your
blog were elsewhere. The goal here is to expand the universe of people
who can utilize edgeio from bloggers, to well … everybody. So this is
still self publishing, and although it is hosted by edgeio, still
decentralized. The idea of a blog as a storefront is definitely not a
CraigsList idea.

2. Having said that, lets assume there is no difference, or that the
difference is mainly semantic (which I don’t think it is). Then there is
still a huge difference. CraigsList has been in existence for many years
now. After all that time it is in around 100 cities, mainly in the USA.
After 2 weeks edgeio has attracted listings from more than 1000 cities
and that is growing by around 300 a week. By the end of the year edgeio
will have around 10,000 cities with listings. This is possible due to
our “bottoms up” approach. Self publishers can “light up” their city
simply by listing an item. Of course one downside of this in the short
term is that a city can have a small number of listings. But the upside
is that it is a highly scalable model. Over time it will be organic and
probably very big. For Craig to launch a new city is a fairly cumbersome
thing.

3. Final point. We don’t have “be different from CraigsList” as a
goal. Our goal is to build a massively scaled global listing
marketplace, with millions of local cities and their citizens
participating. Like CraigsList we are all about “community”. In fact we
share a philosophy with Craig – let the community police the
marketplace. And our tools are all about removing cost and friction from
person to person commerce, whilst expanding the universe of
participants. We do not scrape or crawl for content. We only take
content expressley for edgeio. And we chose bloggers as the first
audience to enable because they represent a community of communities.
So, if we are becoming “like CraigsList” but in thousands of more towns
and cities globally, and with tools and services appropriate to a
service built in 2005-06. great. I have no problem with that. There is a
new word beginning to make the rounds – Glocalization. As well as
pioneering structured blogging, microformats and self-publishing, edgeio
is a big believer in creating a Glocal (not a mis-spelling)
marketplace.

Links:


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