Our little Craigslist is growing up! Craigslist went from around 200 to roughly 300 sites this last week with the addition of 97 new and exciting Craigslist locations. While a cynic might view this expansion as a way to get a foothold in other places before competition from Google and Microsoft comes stopping in, we think that it has more to do with people clamoring for these locations.
Of all the new cities out interest was most piqued by the Penn State location, not only because we have spent some time in the great wilderness of Central Pennsylvania, but because it is the only Craigslist location not tied to an actual geographic location. Unlike The Bay Area or Duluth, Minnesota, Penn State is a University, not a city. It is located in a borough called State College (or in "University Park" - depending on who you ask), meaning that this is an institution's Craigslist site. Tying a web page like Craigslist to a non-geographic boundary could lead to some interesting questions. Such as: "What if Penn State moves?" and "Does this web page cover the roughly 20 Penn State satellite campuses spread out across the entire 29 million acres of Pennsylvania?"
While we doubt that Penn State University will ever move or that anyone will confuse the main campus with Penn State Hazelton, it does seem pretty weird that Craig and his minions did not tie this page to a physical location. We guess you could call us Craigslist traditionalists because we like our Craigslist locations to be easy. Like Cote d'Azur. Or Beirut.
Another big change that this expansion brought is that the home page of Craigslist no longer contains a list of all Craigslist sites. For example, go to Craigslist and try to find the link to Santa Barbara. A few days ago, you could just click the link directly, but now you first need to click on "California" then on "Santa Barbara." This tiny cosmetic change represents a big change -- from Craigslist, a collection of postings among a few lucky communities to Craigslist, a site so large that you need to drill down geographically to find your community. We are not going to read too much into this and say that Craigslist is now a real business, because it isn't. Instead, we will at this as another interesting fold in the ongoing Craigslist saga. And try to figure out why Penn State.