August 13, 2004

eBay and craigslist

Hey folks, here's my personal take on the announcement regarding craigslist and eBay. But first, to make sense of this, a little history.

I made craigslist into a real company in '99, and made it a corporation (on paper, not attitude) to get the legal protections that you get that way. That's the way it works in the US.

Looking into the future, I figured that maybe someday I'd go middle-aged crazy and/or megalomaniacal, and already, "I can resist anything but temptation" (Oscar Wilde) So, with the idea of establishing checks and balances, mostly on myself, I made a gift of some equity in craigslist to a guy who was working with me at the time. (I won't name him, out of respect for his privacy)

I figured it didn't matter, since everyone agreed that the equity had only symbolic value, not dollar value.

Well, the guy later left the company, and decided to sell his equity, which i learned he had every legal right to do.

He met with eBay, and eBay in turn approached us to see how we would feel about them getting involved with us.

Although I never figured that part of craigslist might be owned by a public company, Meg Whitman and Pierre Omidyar showed that they were interested in us for all the right reasons.

Like craigslist, eBay is about helping folks get everyday stuff done, on a level playing field - they emphasize trustworthiness and reputation, and try really hard to listen to people. Basically, we're both about building community, and humanizing and democratizing the 'net, and there's gotta be more of that.

I'd really like to thank the following individuals for helping ensure that the spirit and mission of craigslist will endure:

-- Jim Buckmaster - craigslist CEO (much taller than me but not nearly as attractive)

-- Ed Wes - our lead attorney at Perkins Coie

-- Meg Whitman - eBay CEO

-- Pierre Omidyar - eBay Founder and Chairman

The deal we're announcing today basically allows us to operate without changing our mission of community service, while making available to us expertise and resources we could really use.

There's a lot more detail here, but that's the basic story.

If you have questions or comments, here's a special forum. (I won't be able to respond to all questions, but will read everything posted there, and post updates there or to this blog)

Folks, for the first day of this or so, I'm going to be deluged with questions, so if you're a reporter, well, we've asked Susan MacTavish Best to help me out, I've known her for many years, and we gotta get more professional about this:

Susan MacTavish Best
Best Public Relations
susan@bestpr.net

Thanks!

/Craig

Posted by craig at August 13, 2004 05:00 AM
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