Earlier this month, I blogged about Craigslist. I expressed some mild consternation with its clunky search function, and offered Farhad Manjoo's suggestions for improving the site. I received one comment, from reader Tommy Schopp. He wasn't a fan of my critique.
"How much are you paying to use Craigslist? What's that? Nothing? That's right, because it's FREE! Even if it didn't work at all, at worst, you'd be getting your money's worth."
While I'm not wild about the it's-good-enough-because-it's-free defense (maybe I should learn to leave well enough alone?), Seth Godin addressed just this on his blog today. "Some things are better when they're not free," he writes. So, "if Craigslist charged a dollar for every listing, what would happen?" Godin thinks it could really help.
Well, the number of bogus listings and repetitive listings would plummet, making the site far easier to use.
The number of scam artists using the site would go down, because it's more difficult to be anonymous when money changes hands.
Now there's an idea.