May 9 2011
By now loyal readers of SlapStart know that I’m an increasingly vocal advocate of Craigslist’s demise. I don’t have any real grievance with them except that the site has been around too long, it’s too un-updated, and it flies in the face of modern web development practices. Despite my attempts with voodoo dolls, druish chants, and a fiery potion from a pretty legitimate seeming shaman, Craigslist persists. It thrives even, leaving no relief for my angst every time I’m forced to search its networks for something classified-ish.
This glaring eyesore of the internet has had no shortage of challengers. There are sites and mobile apps that take advantage of geolocation technologies so you can determine exactly how far away the item is prior to contacting the owner. Other sites provide methodologies for communicating anonymously so you don’t have to immediately give someone your email address. I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses a throwaway email account when navigating their treacherous waters. Perhaps the most perpetuating issue with Craigslist is its well known harboring of the black market of sex. So poignant is Craigslist’s ask me no questions tell you no lies, stance on this activity, these women of passionate yet questionable managerial competency, burned a 100K donation from Craigslist. You have to hand it to them for making a point.
The other point that has been made many times over is that sites attempting to contend with Craigslist are completely outgunned. The trouble is that any competitor needs to somehow get their own active classifieds database going so that people can find what they’re looking for. It’s a nearly impossible feat that will take clever design and marketing genius to accomplish.
Into this online classifieds arena comes a new player. This one is ready to fight, using an age old tried and true strategy- if you can’t beat em, join em. Introducing Craiggers- a site that augments your Craiglist experience and brings it almost entirely out of the dark ages.
Craiggers is primarily a search tool. It houses no ads of its own, pulling all their results from Craigslist. Its homepage let’s you enter your search term, select your location, and search. Also on the home page is a feature called the egg toss. This will randomly select results from Craigslist and return them. It’s pretty random way to search the classifieds, but somewhat entertaining.
The real fun begins with the search results page. As many people know searching for items on Craigslist is challenging. Let’s say you’re looking for a new car. First you’ll search in the cars and trucks category for the type of car you want. This will display hundreds of results, some of which look interesting. If you’re a savvy web user you’ll open them in a separate tab or window. If not, you end up clicking each one, then hit the back button, and then the next ad, and so on. In both cases, it’s a big nuisance. Craiggers solves this problem elegantly and with style. The center column has the list of the search results, displaying the title and main information. Clicking one of the ads will open up the description and pictures in the right column. If you want to check another one, you can click it and it will replace the previous ad. Browsing Craigslist ads has never been easier.
Let’s envision a different scenario. You click on a series of ads but haven’t made up your mind which one you’d like to focus on. If you were using Craigslist, within a day it will become difficult to find the original ad. For this Craiggers has a favoriting system. By clicking on the star by each ad it will be included in your favorites. This makes it easy to view all your final selections at once late on.
Let’s say you’re looking for the same type of thing every day. For this Craiggers allows you to save your searches. By default they’re saved locally in your browser cache. If you’d like them to persist longer you can register for an account and they will always be there.
Now there’s one more scenario we need to consider before giving Craiggers full marks for successfully enhancing your Craigslist experience. How does it handle the black market of lascivious behavior? Once logged in I saw under my name the option to browse safely. And with that we can confidently sign off on Craiggers as being, “The closest we’ll come to seeing Craigslist defeated in the near future.” Craiggers makes browsing Craigslist easy, fun, and remarkably useful.