How Craigslist Killed the Hometown Newspaper 5


craigslist photo

Last week, my fellow RaceTalk bloggers Ben Haber and Kyle Austin each commented on Twitter’s decision to localize its offering, adding new features that would enhance the site’s sharing capabilities amongst users in the same geographic area.

This week, another website ups the local ante, this time, by expanding its services to 140 new cities. Who is coming to a small town near you?

His name is Craig. Craigslist, that is.

According to Brad Stone in his post for the New York Times’ Bits blog, “the San Francisco company quietly added new sites for 140 cities, a 25 percent increase, bringing its global directory to 690 cities over all. The additions include 87 cities in the United States, eight in Canada and 45 outside North America.”

Not only are these numbers staggering due to the sheer growth and heightened reach of the site, but this expansion is going to yield more than just another place to find a cheap futon.

In most major U.S. cities, Craigslist is the primary resource for finding an apartment, scouring for cheap furniture and even searching for job listings. Where Craiglist lives, “want” ads do not. In an economy where print publications are scaling back on staff and content, and ramping up their list of advertisers to stay afloat, the threat of a free advertising option does not bode well for the hometown newspaper.

Brad Stone suggests, “where Craigslist goes, of course, the fortunes of local newspapers often plummet, since classified ads on the site can mostly be placed free.”

It seems where Craigslist unpacks, hometown papers pack up. Will you miss them?


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