Site Logo

Shaking things up…

Over the last few days I’ve been reflecting on all the activity surrounding the AIM group report that we helped sponsor.  We saw some meaningful commentary as well as a lot of fall out.

I strongly feel that sponsoring and promoting the report was the right thing for us to do.   There is a serious issue in our industry – one that deserves to be talked about.  But I do regret the way the report was sensationalized.

My decision to build Oodle was and is grounded in my passionate belief that there is a better way to do classifieds.  We started the company by aggressively investing in great search and analytics.  And we’ve spent the last three years using social media to define a new experience for classifieds.

Safety has always been a central issue to us because of the inherent social nature of classifieds – the conversation starts online but ends in a face-to-face interaction.   It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time and energy addressing – and an area where we’ll continue to innovate.

We don’t, however, see much innovation happening in the rest of the classifieds industry.  Almost all the online classifieds sites out there are pretty much the same as they were a decade ago.    While that’s certainly their prerogative, the lack of innovation around safety has serious and negative repercussions for consumers.  The internet has evolved – it’s become less anonymous and more social.  So should online classifieds.

As an innovator, our intent with the report was to shake things up even if it ruffled some feathers.  The data in the report was solid and the message about the dangers of anonymity was important for people to hear. Moreover, many of these issues can be avoided with some of the innovations we’ve developed.

I regret, however, that we framed the issue as an indictment of Craigslist versus a problem that plagues our industry.   It devolved the dialogue – from a conversation about safety (and what could be done about it) to one about a cat fight in the industry.  Our intent to create awareness and dialogue became buried in the drama of the day.  That was a missed opportunity.

Leave a Reply