Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Craigslist continues to crush everyone....

I'm consistently stunned at the growth rates at Craigslist. While traditional classifieds continue to trend toward joining their cousins, the manual typewriter and beepers, Craigslist continues to grow at explosive rates.

According to this hitwise report, out of the top 100 classified ad sites on the web all but 3 (!!!) are craigslist sites up from 2008 when only 88 of the top 100 were craigslist sites.

I've tried to think of another industry that has been so transformed by an emergent competitor offering a free product (although Craigslist does charge for job listings in large markets) and I can't think of one. Trying times for the newspaper industry to be sure. I'll note however, that most of the "news" sites on the web (think drudge, newser, etc) live off the work of actual reporters at real newspapers. Developing a model that supports real reporting in an world without paid classified is the next challenge for the news business.

The markets posted another surprising gain today in the face of bad news. I remain concerned that far too many people are letting the tail wag the dog. "Hey, the market's up so things must be getting better, right?"

The more likely scenario is that the market goes through periods when it ignores bad news and seizes on any hint of good news. We're in one of those periods right now. Also, I think a number pension funds (that typically are not active traders) felt like they missed much of the March rally and felt compelled to join the fun once the second quarter was under way. I think that there is a good chance that the news flow after Friday is likely to turn decidedly negative.


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