Craigslist — a giant cash machine

Thinking about how much money Craigslist could potentially make — if it wanted to — still boggles the mind. I came across a little item from Bloomberg about Craigslist adding fees in four more major cities: $25 for professional job listings in Boston, San Diego, Seattle and Washington. And what is that expected to do to revenues at the company? Um, let’s see… would you believe it could boost them to $50-million next year, or double what they were last year?

Consider this: Adding those four cities makes for just eight cities out of the 57 or so that Craigslist currently operates in (although some of those are relatively small). And those fees are only for professional job and (in New York) real estate listings. In fact, Craig has said his major impetus in adding fees is simply to cut down on the amount of listing spam. Adding fees for jobs in a few more cities, or for real estate in a few more cities, could theoretically boost Craigslist’s revenue by another $50-million or so.


And those are fees that are $10 or $25, which is drastically cheaper than existing outlets. Bump up a fee here or there, add one here or there — just for professionals of course — and it doesn’t take long before it’s pulling in revenue of $200-million or so, without even trying. Some think it could get significantly larger than that. Oh yes, and one more thing: This company has a staff of just 14 22 people, and costs that are probably in the $5-million range at the outside.

Is it any wonder Craig’s main job right now is fighting off venture capitalists? Too bad he isn’t interested in money. And as Haydn points out in a comment here, pushing the money thing too far would no doubt wreck much of what makes Craigslist unique. PaidContent has some more on Craigslist revenues here.


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