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Craigslist hits smaller US cities but growth is slow in UK

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Fear of Craigslist continues to stalk American newspaper owners and journalists as it expands further, now moving into smaller communities. Steve Outing says: “This means that a new wave of newspaper publishers now get to freak out about the Craigslist threat to their classifieds business model.”

The new list of cities in line for the free classified site includes Roanoke, Virginia. I remember rushing a meal there to get back to the motel to catch news of Nixon’s latest denial of wrong doings and having to endure ten minutes of Girl Scouts presentations followed by another ten of a speech to the local Rotary, before getting national news. News means proximity in Roanoke.

But fears of Craigslist in the UK seem to have died down. It arrived three years ago and is now in 14 cities, yet it does not seem to be doing very well. I went to look at the London site and it was rather thin for such a large city: well used by ticket touts and possibly dubious sellers of property in Spain.

Perhaps it was doing better in Bristol? There I clicked onto one empty category after another until this came up: “do you need to work and not have a working permit? (sic)?” Other cities had equally slim Craigslists.

In the meantime British newspaper publishers have had time to prepare. Craigslist has not arrive at all in East Anglia and locally-based Archant, the UK’s fourth largest publisher of regional dailies and weeklies, has got in first. It has Jumbo with free advertising for private small ads in Norfolk and Suffolk and Jobs24 for job hunters in all the areas where Archant papers circulate.

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