Well, it had to happen sometime. But the way it has come about is surprising. Craigslist — champion of the free Internet — has asked jobs aggregator Oodle to take its listings off the site. Could it be that Craigslist is growing more comfortable with the idea of being a for-profit business? Could it be eBay’s influence?
Oodle’s Craig Donato, posting on the company’s blog, defended the company by saying:
We’re glad to have had a good response from the 99.9% of the other classified publishers in our index and we’ll continue to work hard to make them happy. We send them free traffic. We don’t compete with them by taking listings.
Job listings are, of course, one of the few things that Craigslist does charge for, so one can understand why the company would want to ensure people still come to its site to search. Why newspapers and others haven’t yet asked for listings to be yanked, I don’t completely understand. I find it sort of ironic, though, that Craigslist is the first to kick up a stink, given that it’s been the one accused of torpedoing newspapers’ classifieds business in the past. Time marches on, and now it’s Craigslist in the crosshairs.
As an aside, it’s interesting that Craig Newmark is watching the comments on Oodle’s blog post, and commenting on the comments. We know because he chimed in to protest when another commenter accused Craigslist of furthering the “fascist state.”
UPDATE: Classified Intelligence reports: “If it [the pulling of Craigslist listings] represented a policy shift, we can’t tell by reactions elsewhere. We’re asking other listing aggregators and indexers whether they’ve received similar requests from Craigslist, but so far, the move seems to be directed at Oodle. Paul Forster, CEO of Indeed.com, which scrapes Craigslist job listings and hundreds of other sites, told CI he had received no such request. Craigslist listings are still current on SimplyHired.com and Workzoo.com. Yahoo HotJobs is still indexing Craigslist, and Yahoo Search returns Craigslist jobs posted as recently as today. Google also indexes Craigslist.”