Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Way to Describe the Newspaper Crisis: The Craigslist Boom

craterMore fuel for the “Google (GOOG) didn’t kill newspapers, Craigslist did” meme: A report that says the online listings service has seen revenue jump 23 percent this year and will end up booking $100 million–even as the newspaper classifieds business falls off a cliff.

Craig Newmark’s Internet classifieds site is mostly, but not entirely, free–it charges for a handful of listing categories, like real estate and employment. But that’s enough to create a very healthy business, says AIM Group, which has been estimating Craigslist numbers since 2003, when it said the company booked $7 million.

Trying to imagine what that would look like on a line graph? Here’s a suggestion–take the chart below and turn it upside down.

classified-chart


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work