Craig Newmark, the man that newspaper editors love to hate, celebrated the 15th anniversary of Craigslist -- the garage sale listing of the Internet -- this month.
In Newmark's blog, he posted a copy of a message from March 28, 1995, from the seminal online service The WElL.
"My focus, on this page, is on events around San Francisco that involve arts and technology, privacy rights, local writers and artists, and any other item that strikes my fancy. This includes stuff like the Anon Salon, Spoonman's TeleCircus, Joe's Digital Diner, Eric's Jacking In series, the upcoming conference on Feminist Activism and Art, etc." Newmark described in the 1995 posting.
And, showing that Craigslist hasn't changed much since then, "The approach is as minimalist as I could make, with the exception of the Cole Valley stuff, where I display maps of its location, and a photo of parking hell overlooked by Sutro Tower. I'd really appreciate any feedback..."
A 2005 BBC report predicted that newspaper classified advertisements could be shut down entirely because of Craigslist. And a Wired article from last summer said 47 million people -- a fifth of the adult population -- used the service every month.
Alternative newsweeklies, which are given away, were particularly hard hit. "The poster of a smiling man's face in a red circle with a diagonal no-parking-style slash through it hung on walls at the most recent convention of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies," noted one 2005 article. "Meeting rooms at the Westin were jammed with editors and publishers anxiously hatching plans to defend themselves from this fiend. Down the hall in the exhibitors' hall, vendors offered products guaranteed to help make him go away once and for all."
The man in question was Newmark. The article suggested, however, that Craigslist might start charging in the future -- which, by and large, it has not done, other than employment and, last year, "erotic services," in an attempt to reduce claims of prostitution on the site.
Similarly, the site continues to be text-only (though one can include links to pictures) rather than using more modern technology. "Think of any Web feature that has become popular in the past 10 years: Chances are craigslist has considered it and rejected it," Wired said.