Okay, so I'm still thinking about the Jim Buckmaster talk at mesh 07 (once again...I hate the lower-case 'm'). First of all, he's probably the tallest guy that I've ever seen. But beyond that, I thought he was an excellent speaker. As others have pointed out, he didn't sound very interested in what he was talking about but still came across as an engaging speaker.
Over the weekend, I tried to tell my friends about mesh and all the great speakers that I saw, but the only one they were interested in was 'the Craigslist guy.'*
"But he isn't really the Craigslist guy," I told them. "He is just the CEO,"
"So how does he make money?" they ask
"They charge for certain job and apartment posts in a few cities across North America...I guess that covers the cost, that's all they need," I said
"Well why don't they try and make more money? And why does their website look so shitty?"
"I don't know...I guess he just isn't into making money...and I guess he wants the website to accessible by everyone, know matter what sort of computer they have,"
"So they can't make Craigslist look better?"
And that's the question I'm left with. Is the Craigslist 'brand' that boring gray site? Would a rebrand cause them to lose visitors?
For some reason, I think it would. People have probably gotten used to the look of Craigslist. The fact that it is nothing more than a system of classified ads means that people aren't expecting, nor are they wanting, anything more flashy.
One of the questions that would have been interesting to ask Jim is whether or not we can expect to see a Craiglist Facebook app. If it were well designed, it wouldn't limit anyone's ability to use the regular site. I imagine that a system where you could simultaneously post something (item for sale, job posting, apartment for rent, etc) on your Facebook (making it known to your network or whatever your privacy settings allow) and simultaneously on Craigslist. I know from recent experience that some people searching for roommates via Craigslist have asked potential applicants to send the link to their myspace profile (remember when MySpace was actually cool?) as a way of weeding out potential nutcases. A Craigslist/Facebook app would just streamline this process.
(side note: is possible to subscribe to certain Craigslist categories/searches/cities via e-mail or RSS? I don't really feel like checking)
If you scroll down to the bottom of this post by Kyra from PR Girlz, you'll see some great Jim Buckmaster quotes.
Actually, the best part was when he was asked what Craig Newmark (Craigslist founder) was up to these days. "Mostly just game shows and daytime TV," Jim said.
*"I met Mike Masnick, Rachel Sklar, and Richard Edelman," I told my friend.
"So what? I can make up names of people, too," he said.