Feeds

Google targets Craigslist, eBay for destruction

Soft flabby underbelly

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Internet advertising has taken a $2bn chunk out of the $19bn classified advertising business in the US, and Google wants in.

Screenshots of the company's secret weapon to achieve this goal, Google Base, finally surfaced this week. Google denied that this glimpse of its secret under-construction destructor fleet implied that a launch of Google classifieds was imminent, and described Google Base as merely a test mechanism for advertisers to load content onto Google.

But it's clear that the potential to tap into a new lucrative business is there, with the large, soft, flabby underbelly of Craigslist a first step.

Craigslist represents the low hanging fruit for Google. While bourgeoise civic life in its home town of San Francisco is unimaginable without Craigslist - it's the city's scrappy noticeboard for everything from accommodation to quickie knee-tremblers - the operation has little foothold beyond the coastal United States. And it has an Achilles heel.

Craiglist's Craig Newmark

Craigslist charges for employment ads and runs the rest as a loss leader. But by design it prevents job applicants from searching for jobs nationally: they have to go to each local Craigslist and type in the same criteria.

"It would be such an amazing assistance if craigslist would allow multiple city searching so that results from various cities would appear in the same window. I have been looking for a job and am willing to relocate... but the lack of this feature requires hours more of time spent scouring each local website... This would be such a huge asset to your loyal craigslist searchers. PLEASE DO IT...", wrote one job-seeker on the site's forum.

But when an enterprising developer created a program that could do just that - search across each local Craigslist - the application was banned because it violated Craigslist's "local philosophy".

"Is craigslist for users or not?" responded unhappy users.

"God, some of you people are so damn and lazy. And stupid," shot back the Craigies.

Already an operation with global scale, Google has no need to introduce such spurious limitations. So one down, one to go. But what about Craigslist investor eBay?

That requires a whole new skills set, as well a fully functional payment system - as PayPal co-founder Max Levchin spelled out for us here. EBay's market lead has been a toil to defend, and the company's No.1 competition isn't a rival, but the armies of scamsters and phishers who target the site. Google's tepid progress with its shopping comparison engine Froogle suggests that it doesn't readily transfer its skills to a new business.

While Google can take out Craigslist without a blink, taking on eBay will be no cakewalk. Or spacewalk. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.