Craigslist still going strong

Long before Friendster, Ryze, and Tribe, there was craigslist—spartan in design, but immensely popular and effective, garnering numerous awards, including a Webby award for Best Community Website and an award from Forrester Research as the #1 Most Efficient U.S. Job Site.

IT Conversations’ Doug Kaye recently got a few minutes for an interview with the man himself, Craig Newmark.

Craig summarizes craigslist:

Well, in a sense, we’re a classified site along with discussion boards, on the ‘Net, and people can advertise what they are used to advertising. There are some positive differences. People can write as much as they want. They can include photos and so on. What’s really different is the atmosphere, the context around what people do on our site because we…oh, we think we’ve earned and created a culture of trust which means that people generally do trust each other on the site. When something wrong happens, we do what we can to deal with it although more importantly, we’ve turned over to the public the means of dealing with stuff which shouldn’t be there.

He also has a very different take on human factors than the current photo-heavy sites:

Doug: Part of your success also has been the very conservative design. You make Yahoo! look flashy by comparison, I think. I assume that’s intentional?

Craig: Yes.

Doug: Is that for performance reasons?

Craig: Primarily it’s for human reasons, thinking about what best serves human needs. We do need information presented to us in a way that’s easy-to-find and that’s very accessible. We don’t need graphics that…oh, show people posing with fake smiles, which are intended just to show how friendly a site is. We don’t do that. We just deliver the goods and then try to get out of the way.

You can read or listen to the full interview, and discuss it over at ITConversations.