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I just returned back to the office and while picking through all the press releases, one from AirBNB caught my eye. Apparently they have just launched a longer-term, monthly rental offering. What’s the first thing when you hear “sublet rental”? Craigslist – is Craig the real target of AirBNB? I checked out a few of the blogs that posted about the news and so far only Kara Swisher has mentioned Craigslist.
If you have ever tried to rent an apartment in NYC, it can easily bring you to tears. The brokers post their sometimes scam, nearly almost always somewhat fake listings on Craigslist for $10 each. Even if you don’t have any interest in renting an apartment in NYC, head over to the Craigslist apartment section (make sure to pick Fee and No-Fee!). I was so excited to look at one of the apartments I saw on Craigslist when I first moved back to NYC. The pictures were great – the apartment wasn’t in the best location but it looked huge. When I got to the apartment, the broker showed up late, took me up to the apartment and it looked NOTHING like the pictures or the description. I showed her the photo and said uhm this isn’t the right apartment. She replied, “sure it is, those photos are just examples of an apartment”. I realized at that point that the search would be pure hell.
Frankly I believe Craig has no interest in changing his system (even adding a real search) because then the brokers would go elsewhere. But maybe, just maybe, AirBNB’s can start to woo over users which might force brokers to start to post listings which would have to include real photos and a reputation system for the landlords and brokers. AirBNB could potentially even become an online payment/facility management hub for landlords.
There are many startups out there trying to “beat” Craigslist and I’d bet a few are even on the YCombinator company list and might be open to an acquisition by AirBNB.
The press release mainly talks about the monthly offering focusing on the sublet market but clearly we can see where this might be headed.
AirBNB had an interesting summer with the issues they faced around trashed apartments. While I am still sure I wouldn’t use their service for a vacation or business trip, I may very well be open to using their service as a research tool for my next sublet or apartment rental.
I know there have been times you have said to yourself, “boy that is one f’ed up website!”. Well, there is now a fix for that. A person in the Seattle area has posted a job wanted ad on Craigslist and claims to help you “de-fu**” your websites. He begins his Craigslist listing with the following, “I help folks de-fu** their websites”. (this is a family blog so we replaced the curse words with Folgers crystals – visit the link below to view the full version)
There are other gems in his posting:
- If it’s fu****, I can help you de-fu** it.
- I’m not the cheapest guy out there, but chances are I can de-fu** your sh** pretty quickly.
- Getting the fu** rid of that hideous fu***** design your cousin’s neighbor did five fu**** years ago
- Improving weak-as-sh** search engine performance
- Adding a fu***** blog or a god-damn photo gallery or even a fu***** christ-forsaken “contact us” form
Here’s a link to the full listing on Craigslist – it’s absolutely NSFW.
Last evening I attended my first Social Media Club meeting in NYC. Pretty large group of about 60 professionals. My only complaint would be lack of air conditioning.
Craig Newmark from Craigslist was the featured speaker. He spoke for about 15 minutes mainly about politics and micro-finance with a sprinkling of Craigslist info. The balance of the hour were questions from the audience.
Download my audio file on RapidShare. It's one hour and 20 mb in size.
- Believes most people are trustworthy and good and that has helped the site grow.
- Craig is getting involved with small ventures that "get something done". Big into micro-finance and likes Kiva.
- "What works on the net is what works for people in general"
- Discusses that down in the sohoplex (formerly silicon alley) the great blogs are being made
- Does full-time customer service for Craigslist and works with police detectives a good bit
- "If you can't articulate what you are about in 45 seconds, people will forget you" — hrm, I guess my Video Startup Opportunity might make sense.
- His exit strategy for his customer service is… death
- How do you see mobile and SMS fitting into craigslist? I think mobile is important and people can do it on our site now. We have to think about our homepages to fit onto a smaller screen.
- Most important thing is that it's fast. We have at least 150 cheap servers.
- Is there a point that you would sell Craigslist? We are doing comfortable and to provide for our futures.
If you are interested in attending a Social Media Club event, visit their web site. I am not affiliated with the Club other than as a non-member attendee.