News.com has an article entitled “Craigslist costing newspapers millions. Which is nominally accurate, but a better title would be “Craigslist saving consumers millions.”
Craigslist, which generates more than 1 billion page-views each month, also has cost the newspapers millions more in merchandise and real estate advertising, and has damaged other traditional classified advertising businesses, according to a report published by Classified Intelligence.
Newspaper classifieds are horridly inefficient: They’re slow to publish, they’re hard to search, you can’t take down an ad when an item is sold, and because you’re putting ink on paper, you had to pay by the word, leading to a bizarre set of abbreviations. The shift to online classifieds will be a complete win as soon as someone figures out how to let you circle items onscreen.