It's no secret that Internet Frenzy 2.0 has included a fair share of small Web start-ups getting bought out by Internet giants. Yahoo!'s
Reuters said that at a Media Week conference in Amsterdam, Newmark uttered words that might chill most capitalists: "Who needs the money? We don't really care. If you're living comfortably, what's the point of having more?" He also shrugged off the idea of selling the site in order to donate money to worthy causes, stating, "Finding a good cause is incredibly hard and time-consuming." (Of course, plenty of people would probably take issue with that idea.)
The Reuters article compared this with recent conjecture that News Corp.'s
Craigslist is one of the pioneers of the Internet's strongest current trends. A more democratic Web, enhanced and often driven by user-generated content and network effects, has been building, and sites like craigslist and Wikipedia paved the way. Another theme has been a non-commercial spirit -- many user-driven services share information, talent, art, or expertise for free.
I mulled disruptors a year ago, and cited craigslist as one to watch. I argued that for many of these companies, a non-corporate air is actually part of their competitive advantage. (eBay
Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner interviewed Jim Buckmaster about craigslist and its disruptive influence on companies that seek classified advertising revenues -- and queried why craigslist is "resistant" to making more money. Buckmaster said, "Our goal is to maximize our societal value, if you will, and we figure our enterprise value, if I am using that term correctly, will take care of itself if we concentrate on being as useful as possible to as many people as possible, and doing whatever our users ask us to do and not doing anything that they don't want us to do."
So nobody should be holding their breath for some Internet giant to buy craigslist. If you've ever heard the term "sell-out," it's pretty obvious that's not Craig's intention. I can't say it's not refreshing to hear someone take a stand for not coveting more than one needs or deserves (the definition of avarice), although of course that's a personal judgment call. Furthermore, if Craig changed his stance, he might have to change his name -- craigslist would be a much different operation than it is today, and quite possibly not nearly as successful.
For related content, see the following articles from the Foolish archive:
- Rick Munarriz mused on the kings of dot-comedy.
- I theorized on a new wave of possible giant-killers.
- David Gardner interviewed craiglist CEO Jim Buckmaster.
Craigslist is privately held, but which public companies are disrupting traditional industries and have the potential of big returns for investors? David Gardner and his team of analysts search out such opportunities for Motley Fool Rule Breakers -- take your 30-day free trial today. Yahoo! and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.