Craigslist’s mistake

Craigslist rocks (and for reasons similar to why eBay rocks), but their internationalization approach has a serious flaw, which I think is responsible for their limited success in many international markets: they don’t localize their taxonomies. I’m not gonna write a long post, but here’s a quick analysis I did of their Dubai site:

craigslist-dubai-emptyandac.png

As you can see, many categories just sit there empty (the red dots), and only a few categories are active (the green ones). For the original Sanfran Craigslist, the screenshot would be full of green dots.

The result of this approach is that the site feels empty and inactive. The solution would be to remove most categories and build local specific categories. For example, “woman seeking woman” isn’t particularly appropriate in Dubai society. Construction is booming on the other hand (foreigners cannot own property in Dubai itself, but clever businessmen as they are they have started building multiple artificial islands in the sea where property *can* be owned by foreigners), so one of the few active categories is “real estate for sale”, and there could easily be more real estate categories (like “offshore real estate”), specific to Dubai.

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