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The LA Times featured local action hero Craig Newmark on its cover Sunday. It’s your basic “Oh, Look, A Geek” story — not bad, not terribly insightful — but it’s good for Newmark and the guys over in the Sunset. Craig is a friend to this ‘blog (on-line and in real life — he even copied our style) and I’m happy to return the good feeling and kind words.
But the LAT made the mistake of taking issue — in a backhanded way — with some back-of-the-envelope figures I did on Craigslist gross revenues in the Fortune story I wrote earlier this year. First of all, it’s an estimate and its gross rev; it doesn’t account for costs which are, admittedly, modest, but they are, nevertheless costs.
But here’s how the numbers went: Take an average week of Bay Area Craigslist job listings (that’s going to be about 2,400 listings this week, a five-day period) and multiply by the number of weeks in the year – make it 50, to take in holidays – and you get 120,000. Multiply by $75 for each ad. Total: $9 million. That makes $7 million conservative, doesn’t it?
So let’s ask the question the LATimes didn’t ask as it dissed my informed guess: Where do you think those job ads would be going if there weren’t going to Craigslist? To newspapers. Newspapers just like the LATimes which, despite its numerous Pulitzer Prizes this year, must cut its staff.
Yes, it’s hard for someone at a big paper like the LATimes to believe that Craigslist is doing so well. But it is. And newspapers are suffering. More than they even know.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 8:55 PM | Permalink

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