Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun July 29 2012 14:03:03

Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices

By: Ina Steiner

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There's a dichotomy in the way that Craigslist management runs the company. On the one hand, it operates as an "anti-corporate" company in favor of the little guy and making most categories free to list. It fought ecommerce giant eBay (which had acquired almost a third of the company) when it tried to monetize Craigslist.

But then there's the Craigslist that discourages developers who want to build helpful tools for its users. Things came to a head this month after Craigslist sued PadMapper. As GigaOm reported: "PadMapper, the site at the center of the dispute, is popular because of a modern interface that lets apartment hunters see a variety of potential places on a single map." GigaOm also wrote that Craigslist said it had "offered a license that would have allowed PadMapper to use its data on mobile applications but that the competitor did not accept the terms."

This week I was corresponding with a third-party developer who said he was putting his Craigslist project on hold after learning of the lawsuit, and it wasn't the first developer to tell me of difficulties in working with the classifieds platform.

Today's New York Times blog says by taking such stance with third-party developers, Craigslist is stifling innovation.

Unlike many tech reporters, I see Craigslist's simple user interface as positive - too many companies make unnecessary and unwelcome changes in the name of innovation. But with regard to applications, I agree that Craigslist needs to either build apps itself or let third parties do so.

Yesterday, I downloaded Garage Sale Rover to my smartphone after a fellow yardsaler had raved about it. The application finds yard sales from Craigslist and displays them on a map, and a paid upgrade allows you to optimize a route. I found the mobile app more useful than searching the Craigslist website on my phone or doing research on my desktop ahead of time.

I rely on Craigslist listings to research yard sales and estate sales when venturing out on Saturday mornings, and it would be difficult for anyone to displace the classifieds site. But if helpful apps that users have begun to rely on start disappearing from the Internet and mobile devices, that could change!




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Perminate Link for Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices   Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices

by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jul 29 21:18:01 2012

I don't understand why Craigslist would take this position.  PadMapper is a good app and it was instrumental in me finding an apartment last summer.  I knew it was scouring Craigslist for the results and even provides links to the Craigslist postings so I fail to see how they are being harmed.

Perminate Link for Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices   Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 11:11:11 2012

Craigslist belongs to Craigslist, and I support their right to not allow anybody to do anything on that site.

But having said that - I live in a rural community that's in the middle of 3 Craigslist areas, and one of those (Detroit) is split into 3 subsections.  It would be really nice if I could search all 3 sites at once.  

Perminate Link for Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices   Lawsuit Exposes Craigslist's Anti-Developer Practices

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 30 13:36:32 2012

I am not understanding the reason for the lawsuit?

Yes, creating apps for it can be very helpful but since when do deveoplers get to SUE a company just becsuse they refuse to make it easy for programmers to create programs for their site.

I cannot see this suit winning in court.



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