The Men Behind the Myth: Craiglist’s Craig Newmark & Jim Buckmaster

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While Buckmaster is busy handling the site’s day-to-day developments, Newmark has taken it upon himself to be a customer service rep of sorts, dealing with scammers (i.e. bait-and-switch brokers) and managing flagging issues, as well as moderating the discussion boards. “Customer service always comes first,” he insists.

Though Craigslist is now an 18-employee, global business, Newmark’s credo hasn’t changed since he started the company in 1995—which might explain why the concept’s worked so fluidly and grown so rapidly. Nor does the fear of competition cause either man to lose much sleep. “We don’t really worry about staying ahead of the pack,” Buckmaster says. “We just focus on what our users are asking us to do, and try to do better at that.”

It’s this user-led approach, coupled with the fact that Craigslist refuses to use its considerable leverage to maximize profits, which seems to have worked in their favor. And aside from a few minor changes coming to a board near you, this dynamic duo isn’t planning on rewriting the playbook anytime soon. They’re sticking with what works.

“There are companies that operate from a similar community perspective [as ours],” Newmark says. “Google and eBay are good examples. But no one else is running their site almost 100% free. To my knowledge, no one is doing stuff like we’re doing.”

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