great convo amongst fred wilson and john battelle (and i’m chiming in) around the interesting question of how the p2p classifieds market is going to change (which we can be sure will happen).
john makes great points about why craig should not be a walled garden (which thankfully now has a business case study called AOL for its failure. remember when that was considered a viable strategy?).
fred wilson chimes in too recognizing this is about community and not comprehensiveness…
I think if Google is simply aggregating user listings, like it aggregates text CPC ads, then Craigslist has less to fear from Google Base. If Google Base is going to build a community, like Tribe or MySpace, then everyone has a lot to fear.
here’s my take, there should be a standard for an open source world of data sharing. it should require that anyone who crawls me allows themselves to be crawled too. why should google be able to use my hard earned data if they dont let me and others use theirs? now that sounds like microsoft! i’d like to know if i’m right that the other craig (donato) wont let services crawl and use his data. and if that’s so, john battelle, please explain why you think craig newmark should welcome his crawlers which are intent on competing. i believe that oodle did start out as a consumer focused service but switched to serving other sites when it realized it would be too costly to build brand and traffic as has likely been the case for indeed and simply hired too.
the ultimate answer appears fairly simple. services that worry only about enabling the best possible solution for their users will beat out services that wall their users off, especially when its not in their users interests. clearly, ebay is not helping its users by stopping their listings from being crawled, right?
also, not sure i agree with john’s comments about improving craigslist the service. seems that his reluctance to ever change his UI has made users of all levels love him. i found at tribe that every time we made a change, our community went beserk. people like their newspaper to look the same every day. they build a behaviour and thats good.