Craigslist uniquely new visitors in the US alone

Craigslist
is an American classified advertisements website that has sections that are
dedicated to housing, jobs, personals, items for sale, services, gigs,
community, discussion forums and resumes. Since its introduction 1995, the
company has facilitated online exchange, giving, selling of goods and services
communally through their site. Craigslist is among the most visited website in
the world, for this reason, the site promotes the reselling of second-hand
goods leading to a reduction in waste generation. Consumption of used items
prolongs their durability thus encouraging sharing economy

Craig
Newmark started this digital platform in the year 1995 in San Francisco bay
area. At first, the service began as an email distribution list to family and
friends, containing local events in the Francisco region. Later in 1996, it
upgraded to a web-based service that expanded into other classified groups (Nevo
& Wong, 2014.). In March 2008, Craigslist website was updated to
accommodate French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish languages. As of
August 2012, over 700 cities in 70 countries had Craigslist websites. The
primary activity of Craigslist platform is to enable people to help each other
in a friendly, trusting and social ways through the internet.

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Craig
Newmark, who is the founder of the Craigslist service, is the principal
shareholder of the platform. The current CEO of the Company, Jim Buckmaster
also owns some percentage of the shares. Furthermore, in 2005, Newmark
announced in his blog that Auction Company, eBay had purchased 25 percent of
the shares of the company from a former employee. Its foundation history is an
exciting story. Craigslist company co-founder started the platform by just word
of mouth, which later led to rapid growth. Consequently, the number of
subscribers who created accounts of the website grew tremendously (Halteman
& Frank, 1997). Currently, the site serves over 20 billion views per month,
placing it in 72nd position among the most viewed websites in globe and 11th in
the United States. Besides, the company also boasts more than 49 million
uniquely new visitors in the US alone and more than 80 million adverts each
month.

Mr.
Buckster, the Company CEO has contributed in designing the Craigslist website
to include a search engine, flagging, discussion forums, self-posting process,
personals categories, and homepage design. According to information published
by a data company in 2010, Compete.com, Craigslist is the leading classifieds
service provider in any medium. The site receives more than million new job
advertisements each month, placing it as one of the top job boards in the
globe. Furthermore, Craigslist leads the housing and rental market in the US
with millions of new job listings every month (Stephany,
2015). By 2011, 23 largest cities that are listed on Craigslist homepage
received more than 300,000 postings each day on the “housing” and
“for sale” categories. On the site, other classified advertisements
ranging from traditional buy/sell ads to personal and community ads are
available. This feature makes the site very reliable in balancing between the
various needs and demands of the users.

The
flagging system is one of the digital technologies used by Craigslist to
identify inappropriate and illegal postings. In this method, users are allowed
to flag any content posted that they believe to be violating the Craigslist
terms and guidelines. One intriguing feature of the flagging system is that one
does not need to register or require account login, it can be done anonymously
by anyone. An automated system removes a certain number of flags raised by the
users. Furthermore, the number of flags required to remove a post is variable
and is unknown to all but the company staff. Flagging also enables the
Craigslist staff to identify content posted that requires manual oversight or
deletion. However, some users have raised some concerns that flagging can occur
as an act of vandalism by groups of people with ill motives, but no evidence of
the matter has yet been identified.

Craigslist
contributes to the sharing economy in the sense that people can access goods
and services online through the craigslist site. For example, the “for
sale’ section features subcategories like books, electronics, motorcycles,
computers among others. Furthermore, other broad categories that include a wide
range of sections and subsections exist, which make it easy to navigate to the
appropriate category quickly (Einolf, 2008). Most of the posts on the site
include member’s email address. 
Craigslist offers a feature that hides the email of the person who
posts, so members do not have to worry about their address being disclosed
openly. In addition, all transactions are private, only between the person who
posts and that responding to it. The employees of craigslist do not get
involved in any trade unless a flag is raised or someone reports a problem.

In case
someone wants to participate in discussion forums, Craigslist site offers over
100 different topics of discussion online. In this service, people with various
problems in a local community get to meet others who have gone through the same
problem for help. This forum is entirely cost-free, which is a great promoter
of the sharing economy. Similarly, members of the same area meet to discuss
business, health, security among other topics. If a jobless member of a society
is seeking for a job, Craigslist is a great site to enable employers to
encounter prospects. However, job advertisements are not allowed in discussion
forums. Due to this, the craigslist staff moderate discussions, and a flag is
raised to remove the ads.

The
executive team of craigslist believes that the main reason for the success of
the platform is the user community. The team has designed the site to give
users a place to discuss and help each other, promoting community spirit. The
site’s stress on community affairs emphasizes the founder’s and CEO’s dream of
avoiding commercialism and promote culture in their organization. The website
is particularly appealing to a wide range of users because of its organized and
straightforward layout that contains a search engine to allow easy navigation.
For this reason, craigslist boasts a variety of members from teenagers to
senior who post forums, make new friends, shop online and trade tips. Although
the site may not be the most visually attractive, users always report it as
easy to use because one can find what they are looking for in just a few
minutes of logging into the platform.

            Craigslist
Company has also faced challenges since its introduction in the early 1990s.
Adult advertisements category, which was previously labeled “erotic” faced
controversy on September 4, 2010, over claims by state attorneys general that
the posts on that section encouraged prostitution. In 2002, the sections
“casual encounters,” “rants and raves,” “erotic
services” and “men seeking men had disclaimers that ensured that
whoever clicked on that category was 18 years and above. However, no
disclaimers were put on “Women seeking women,” “men seeking
women” and “women seeking men” board. Following the charges of
negative stereotyping and discrimination, The Company CEO Mr. Buckmaster
responded by saying that Craigslist has a policy in responding to feedback from
the users that contains very explicit content for example “men seeking
men” sections.

On May
13, 2009, a formal announcement from Craiglist stated that the company would
close the entire “erotic category” replacing it with “adult
services category. The changes came to effect after allegations by numerous U.S
citizens that the “erotic” posts promoted prostitution. On September
2010, the company announced the closure of “adult” section from their
site but only in the US. The service was, however, active in other countries
outside the United States. The attorneys’ general office had constant claim
that the section was promoting child trafficking in some parts of the country.
Matt Zimmerman, an Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff, defended
craigslist stating that the site was not responsible for everything that was
posted on their pages (Cullerton,
2011). On September 2011, Craiglist removed the adult section services from all
locations in the US. Personally, I think the sanction for the closure of the
adult section is a bit harsh; instead, the government should track down the
criminal who participate in child trafficking. Besides, the right of speech and
expression is apparent in our constitution.

Craigslist
has also played a significant role in reducing solid waste in most communities.
Anders F. Fremstad, a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, led a team
of experts to study the impact of the site on the environment .the study which
was conducted across California and Florida prove that craigslist reduced the
daily per capita waste generation by an estimate of a third a pound annually (Fremstad,
2016). The results show that the reduction of waste is mainly due to the
exchange of second-hand goods instead of discarding them. Selling of used goods
or goods that one does not ensures that the products are fully exploited.
Similarly, transfer of goods increases the lifetime of these assets. From the
plausibility analysis of the research, about 200 million items posted on the
“for-sale” sections by the Californians and Floridians each year,
solid waste is roughly estimated to reduce by that amount.

The
expansion of Craiglist in Florida and California offers evidence that selling
and marketing of used items diverted a substantial quantity of waste from
landfills. Fremitad’s results are consistent with another study by Kroft and
Pope, journalists of labor economics paper, found out that Craigslist decreased
apartment vacancy rates (Kroft & Pope, 2014). The study, which was
conducted in 2014, also revealed that the site increased the use of used
vehicle sales. Although the studies do not directly approximate the
environmental benefit of craigslist to the marketing of used goods, the results
suggest that the site saved hundreds of millions of dollars in waste disposal
and collection costs. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency reveal that
online markets, most notably Craigslist have helped in extending the lifetime
of durable goods by approximately 24.6 percent of post-recycling waste by
weight. This reduction shows that if craigslist continues to encourage people
to sell used products instead of discarding them, it can lead to a significant
decrease of solid waste.

Craigslist
has been successful in changing the way people consume durable goods and has
illustrated its dominant role in improving sanitation and environmental
resources. By making it easier for people to buy used products, the site has
gained a mass following across the globe (Illing
& Peitz, 2006). Furthermore, craigslist is working with government programs
to and campaigns to encourage and promote people to buy and sell used goods.
The same way California glass bottle recycling programs have managed to reduce
waste generation; craigslist may have mitigated waste production by the same
magnitude. Furthermore, economists have modeled the relationship between
transaction cost, waste and material throughput. In this model, the power to
sell durable goods decreases the overall cost of purchasing a new one,
promoting economic sharing.

Does
craigslist reduce solid waste? Many internet sites have emerged in the last
decade in a move to improve the exchange and allocation of durable items.
Craigslist, most notably, has reduced the cost of advertising, giving away,
selling and buying second-hand goods. The site has also facilitated the
peer-to-peer renting of vehicles and other assets. For this reason, researchers
have been motivated to carry out a study of the influence of online platforms
in reducing solid waste. In their findings, there is evidence that these online
sites have promoted sharing of goods hence reducing waste and improving
environmental resources. Evidence from the cities of California and Florida
suggest that craigslist has significantly reduced the transaction cost in the
market of used goods.

Unlike
eBay or other global online markets, Craigslist promotes local exchange; hence,
it provides an opportunity to study its impact on the waste reduction in the
regions of California and Florida (Coutts,
Beringer & Tapper, 2010). The move by the site to reduce transaction costs
has attracted many users who post what they are selling and search for goods
they would like to buy. Economic theory postulates that a lessening in
transaction cost of used goods leads to an increase in the total transactions
leading to diversion of items from the solid waste category. The presence of
theoretical explanations on the relationship between the marketing of consumer
goods and waste reduction led to the invention of a model by Valerie Thomas, an
American scientist, and inventor. In her model, she illustrates that lower
transaction cost in used goods lead to a reduction of waste, through raising
encouragements for owners to sell their products instead of disposing of them.
Furthermore, her model explains that the value of second-hand items increases
because owners know that they can resell their goods in the future.

In a
correlated study, Thomas estimates the environmental effect of Craigslist and
other online markets for second-hand books. In her calculations, she finds out
that purchasing a used book through the sites saves almost twice the amount of
buying a new book from the manufacturers (Thomas, 2003). Thomas’ empirical and
theoretical effort gives a clear indication that relationship between waste,
transaction cost, and second-hand products. Her studies show that craigslist
can play an important role in providing the market for used items, to prevent
more manufacturing to reduce solid waste. While economists have understudied
the connection of online market’s effect on waste, they have researched how the
internet influences the consumption of economic resources.

In
2014, Kroft and Pope, American economists, approximate the influence of
Craigslist on local apartment vacancy rates and unemployment rates as the site
stretches across the US. They used data ranging from job, housing, personal and
for sale sections of the site in 36 Metropolitan Statistical areas in 2005.
Kroft and Pope compared the data with that of 162 MSAs in 2007 and found out
that Craigslist did not have a direct effect on unemployment rates.
Nevertheless, they noticed that the site reduced apartment vacancies up to an
estimate of 10 percent over the two years period. The two explain that
Craigslist provides a more straightforward way of advertising apartments and
houses as compared to newspapers hence giving prospective buyers and renters
with better information regarding the homes and their property owners. They
conclude that the site increased utilization of vacant apartments, which
reduced the demand for new buildings hence conserving the environmental
resources.

Craigslist
has also increased the resale of used cars; this is according to the study
conducted in 2013 by two authors Rapson and Schiraldi in the region of California.
The two calculate the percentage of homestead with internet access in
California regions using the Consumer Population Survey (CPS) (Rapson & Schiraldi, n.d.). Applying the
difference-in-difference formula, the two approximate how online market platform
has affected the number of secondhand cars registrations. Rapson and Schiraldi
found out that the resale of used cars has increased by almost 7 percent. According
to the authors, reduction of search costs, improvement of match quality and
provision of precise information about the cars on sale has played a prominent
role in the increase in the sales. They further argue that reduction in
transaction costs have public as well as private advantages. Craigslist
increases consumer surplus for providing a better allocation of second-hand
cars hence the reducing the number of vehicles manufactured leading to the
reduction of carbon emissions.

Daniel
Hocket, a lecturer at Duke University, led a team of experts in using
county-level data from Florida to approximate the per capita solid waste. The
results they got reveal that demographic factors are insignificant in waste
generation, while waste disposal fees and retail sales are the primary
determinants of waste management (Hockett,
Lober & Pilgrim, 1995).  Furthermore,
the Environment Protection Agency estimates that the pre-recycling of waste
reduced in the 1990s and almost ceased by 2000s.  The EPA uses data on net-import, production
and durability of goods. While EPA does not know what accounts for the sharp
decline of pre-recycling, it suggests that the probable source might me sharing
economy and exchange of durable items, most notably the craigslist
platform.  Since its introduction and
expansion, Craigslist has contributed to better matching of consumers and used
items hence reducing solid waste disposal.

On
October 27, a journalist interviewed an economist named Richard Scott from
California. He is an expert in planning and a promoter of online marketing
platforms. The journalist asked him whether Craigslist had influenced the rate,
in which waste is disposed at California area since its introduction in 1990.
He answered,” Craigslist is an important tool for our generation.  Furthermore, the site promotes transactions
that are communal in a local area.  Local
exchange is great because the cost of transaction and sharing is reduced
immensely allowing people to share durable goods communally and socially.”
Since its introduction, Craigslist has advocated for exchange and giving of a
used item that increases durability as a result. Online platforms, not just
craigslist should be encouraged to work with waste disposal programs of the
public and government in ensuring we keep our environment and resources safe
“. However, he did state that Californians cannot rely on online markets
to reduce solid waste reduction but rather all agencies and people should work
as a unit to reduce the waste menace in the state.

Craigslist
is among the most successful online platforms that enjoy millions of users. The
company has played a vital role in social sharing and exchange of used items.
Besides, the site has championed in reducing transaction costs of reselling
second-hand goods thus reducing the generation of solid waste. Craigslist in
conjunction with government and non-government organizations can help in
solving the problem of waste management. On the other hand, through their
discussion forums, craigslist has helped people from the same area to socialize
and advice one another on the matters of the community. Craigslist is also a
great avenue to championing the sharing economy.