Craigslist is booming.
Traffic to the core Craigslist.org domain, which also serves as the local San Francisco site, has spiked dramatically over the past weeks. Hitwise reports the marketshare of total U.S. Internet visits to the craigslist.org domain increased 62 percent for the week ending July 23, 2005 versus the same period one year ago. For the week ending June 25, 2005 versus a year ago (week ending June 26, 2004), Craigslist’s market share was up 73 percent.
Craigslist’s local sites are also gaining market share. Hitwise reports for the 60 most popular local Craigslist domains, collective marketshare of visits rose 98 percent for the week ending June 25, 2005 versus same period a yearago.
For the week ending July 23, 2005 versus week ending July 24, 2004 the fastest-growing city sites for Craigslist were local sites, Fresno, Calif. (+174 percent), Providence, R.I. (+244 percent), Miami(+141 percent), and Dallas (+318 percent).
|Top Craigslist U.S. Local Market Web Domains by U.S. Internet Visit Market Share, June 2005|
|Rank||Domain||Market Share, Week Ending June 25, 2005||Year-Over-Year Change (%)|
|Source: Hitwise, 2005|
Not only are more users going to Craigslist sites, they search “craigslist” more on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN Search). According to Hitwise, across the major search engines, “craigslist” is now the 30th most popular search term. For the week ending June 25, 2005, the search query “craigslist” accounted for .025 percent of all searches, up from .011 percent for the week ending July 3, 2004.
Craigslist’s success has come at the expense of incumbent local media. According to a December 2004 study authored by Bob Cauthorn, former digital media VP at SFGate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle‘s site, Craigslist has cost between $50 and $65 million annually in lost revenues from employment ads for San Franciso Bay Area newspapers and their online divisions.
In reaction to competition from free Craigslist listings, many newspaper publishers’ online editions of such as Tribune and Knight Ridder have begun to offer free classifieds in some or all categories.
“Craigslist may appear barebones, but its utility and ability to tap into local communities and marketplaces is evidenced by rapid audience growth in existing and new local markets,” said Bill Tancer, Hitwise vice president of research, , in a statement. “Should Craigslist successfully scale and penetrate new markets like it did San Francisco, one lingering question is sure to manifest: how will established purveyors of classifieds listings, particularly local newspapers, adapt and compete?”