Listbuilding – A Little Case Study – Craig Newark (Craigs List)

To best explain the importance of servitude in list building, I’d like to briefly touch on the unusual but real life success story of Craig Newark’s and his claim to fame, his world renowned list “Craig’s List”. Eritrea Email List for online email marketing campaigns of your service or business

What we can learn from Craig Newmark its founder, about list building, and being successful in business?

Craig Newark is purportedly worth millions and probably over a billion. However, it seems that he really doesn’t care about the money! I know a lot of people say they don’t care about money, but I think if they would lie about that, they’ll probably lie about a lot of things.

What’s different about Craig is that he doesn’t say he doesn’t care about the money; he ACTS like he doesn’t care about money. He ACTS as if he cares about people, and I suspect that this is why money keeps coming his way.

It’s been said, “If one man could be credited with helping more people find their first apartment, furnishing it with both furniture and a mate it would be Craig”.

His website is the largest classified site in the world, valued somewhere in the billions, due to its untapped commercial value.

Some say that he single handedly destroyed the Newspaper industry with his email list and his website – a claim that Craig is quick to refute and points out that it was the news services lack of integrity in reporting which was the main cause. (He has a passion for TRUTH, and this is another character trait that draws people to him.)

He doesn’t just throw stones at the newspaper industry or at anyone in general. In fact, he has used his influence to secure seats on the boards of some of the largest philanthropic foundations. He remains a staunch defender of net-neutrality, and is a proponent and financial backer for many responsible independent journalism outlets.

Rather than cash-in like Mark Zuckerberg and many of his contemporaries, he is content to make millions rather than billions sticking to his own humble playbook, which are both as unique as it is captivating.

From Humble Beginnings:

The now giant Craig’s List, was started as simple hobby, back in 1995. It began as a small personal email list that announced things going on in and around the San Francisco Bay area.

According to Craig, his only goal was to connect with his friends, so they could hang out and do more things together.

By word of mouth the value of Craig’s List spread, and, soon a more manageable website was developed. When changes on the site were made, his growing list was used as a way to update the community, and the rest (as they say) is history.

Thru word of mouth now receives over 20 billion pages views per month, making it one of top 10 sites in America just behind eBay, but still climbing. With recent new languages added, has expanded to over 700 cities, in some 70 different countries, and analysts forecast will eventually surpass eBay to become one of the top 15 websites in the world!

I believe the success of Craig’s List is in its “Freemium” business model. Craigslist could charge for most of its services, but it doesn’t.

This drives some profit seekers crazy because both Craig and CEO Jim Buckmaster never fully monetized the list. They both seem content to keep the site “free” for most of the visitors, and take only small profits from listings on things like job postings, and apartment rentals. In fact, these charges only started because they felt that these areas needed extra policing due to abuse.

In essence, they only profited through charging the “abusers” for the extra work needed to protect their beloved community. To top it off, these charges only apply in a few of their most established markets, where they have encountered abuse, and in many cities these areas are still free!


Probably the single most amazing thing about craigslist is that unlike some of its rivals, Facebook and Twitter, this online community’s successes have been driven solely by word of mouth, without advertising, or massive infusions of cash from huge venture capitalists.

It’s true that eBay owns a 25% share in Craigslist, but many see this as a sneaky underhanded attempt by eBay to undo Craig’s List, as it has been chipping away at eBay’s market share. Court proceedings are underway between eBay and the rest of the shareholders, to stop eBay’s unwelcome attempt to change this already successful business model.

Craig’s strategies have made his company the most simplistic billion-dollar business that ever existed. In fact, the whole business operates successfully with fewer than 40 employees!

Time Magazine voted Craig as one of the top most influential people in the world in 2005, yet he still conducts business most day’s at a kitchen table, next to his fellow employees, in a three story row-house under his preferred title of “customer service representative”.

What Does Craig Teach Us?

For starters, you don’t need to monetize everything to make a profit.

Craig now owns a multi-million or billion dollar company, flies all over the world advising Presidents and other CEO’s, while also taking time to appear on national talk shows, yet his major focus remains on customer service in his niche community.

His devotion to servitude built a strong business through loyal members who have spread the benefits of his list through word of mouth. He also bucks convention by showing us that only a handful people, is all it takes to build a powerhouse business in no time flat and that complicated websites are not required to become number one!

Many people have tried to build a better Craig’s List type website using more impressive graphics, and expensive advertising campaigns but have failed.

Why is it then that Craig’s List stays on top?

The answer is that for all of his success, Craig never forgot his role as the servant to his community.

Craig is now rich, and he no longer needs to go into work. His business functions so that he can take off and do interviews with Forbes Magazine, Time, or whatever. In fact, he could cash in by selling craigslist and go on vacation the rest of his life!

Craig’s List has allowed Craig to do exactly what he wants, his list has delivered to him enviable success, but his willingness to continue serving people makes him and his list, all the more lovable!

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