Craigslist, the nationwide classified ad network, will begin charging a $10 fee for broker apartment listings in New York City in March, the organization announced in a posting on its site.

“After many months of evaluating feedback and deliberating, we’ve decided to institute a $10 fee for each listing posted to the broker apartment categories on the New York site (both “fee” and “no fee”), starting March 1, 2006,” says a posting on the craigslist site.

In general, all listings on the national network have been free, except for a fee to employers offering job listings in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles. The new $10 fee will apply only to broker apartment listings in New York City, and is the product of a long-simmering controversy.

Apartment listings on the New York craigslist have soared into six figures. Because the competition is so fierce, agents repost often so their ads will stay near the top of the list. Also, scams reportedly abound in the listings, according to Classified Intelligence, a research company that reports on the classified ad market.

In an e-mail, Classified Intelligence said the craigslist move “makes sense,” and that attaching a name, address and verified credit card number to a listing, as will become the case when the ads cost money, “should certainly cut down on the garbage.”

The craigslist sites, which also include discussion boards, have made a mark on real estate, with more brokers and agents using them as another place on the Web to expose their listings, and more consumers turning to the Internet for real estate information.

Newmark founded the first craigslist site in San Francisco in 1995, and now serves as chief customer service representative for the online community, which has expanded to include 190 craigslist sites in 50 states and 35 countries.

Craigslist boasts more than 10 million users per month, and receives more than 3 billion page views per month.

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