NEW YORK — Craigslist draws more than 50 million users per day, and more than 1 million new listings per day across 700 cities and 55 countries. For founder Craig Newmark, that means that he often gets involved in some of the more suspect traffic on his site, including real estate-related scams.
"I work with the police … as far as they’re concerned I’m available 24/7," Newmark said, in a conversation with Inman News publisher and founder Brad Inman during the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City.
In a recent case, a federal agency asked him if he knew there was an ad for plutonium on his site. The case turned out to be benign, however.
"Someone got a really stern talking-to from his parents," Newmark said with a smile.
He also uses his celebrity for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a veteran rights group that works on getting back pay and accelerating medical claims for veterans, among other things.
"I’m a nerd. I’m not really good at the social media stuff, but I know a few things," Newmark said, noting there was no secret to his success. "(Just) persistence, genuinely listening to people and following through with that."
As far as the New York City real estate market, Newmark said that there was some resistance to the $10 fee for city apartments the site charges.
"(But) there’s nothing altruistic about the way we run the company," he said. In addition to making money for the company, the charge also prevents spam, he added. …CONTINUED
Newmark’s newest fascination has nothing to do with Craigslist, crime or charitable work.
"I’m really excited about hummingbird eggs," he said, noting there was a Web site in Southern California with a camera pointed at a hummingbird nest and recording when hummingbirds lay eggs and they hatch.
"It doesn’t look all that painful, but not all that comfortable either," he said.
Although Brad Inman, who also spoke Wednesday, didn’t mention hummingbird eggs, he did emphasize the public’s growing fascination with real-time data.
"It’s constant Twittering, constant Facebook updates, constant streaming of content," he said. "We’ve got a new addiction: digital addiction."
He predicted that this year’s technology will be all about organizing and filtering information.
"Those agents that adopt technology will close more transactions because they’ll be more efficient," he said.
"We’re going to see instant feedback on listings and more feedback on you. They’re going to be talking about you, commenting on you, rating you, like it or not."
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