Craigslist Blocks Mashup Listpic

John Musser
Jun. 18 2007, 12:10AM EDT

In another dust-up over a mashup taking data by screen-scraping, the classifieds listings giant Craigslist has blocked access to its site from Listpic, a useful mashup that enhances Craigslist listings by adding-in associated photos. If you check our existing Listpic mashup profile you can see it has been a very popular application and is 5-star rated by our readers:

Wired news reports that in an e-mail to them Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster explained their position: "The 0.1% of our users who were accessing Craigslist images via Listpic were creating a grossly disproportionate drain on our server resources, degrading performance significantly for the 99.9% of our users accessing Craigslist in the normal fashion. Besides frequently hitting our site to harvest Craigslist user content for re-display on their site, each Listpic page load was causing our systems to serve up approx 100 full size images."

This is somewhat reminiscent of when Craigslist blocked Oodle, an issue that came up last year in Mashups Not in Control.

You can read more in this very heated forum thread which includes comments from company founder Craig Newmark. He suggests that they may be building similar visually-oriented features, read photos, into the product soon.

John Musser

Comments

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This is really unfortunate for Craigslist buyers and sellers because Listpic is one of the most useful ways to shop Craigslist. The programmers at Listpic put together one of the most usable and innovative sites on the web. I really wish Craigslist had rewarded this company and paid them for the code instead of shutting them out.

While I can understand Craigslist's point of view in terms of the impact on their infrastructure Listpic created by developing that incredibly useful tool, I find infuriating because Craigslist seems to be in no real big hurry to offer these kinds of helpful user experience improvements themselves.

How much money does CL pull in each year? Would it *really* present a risk to their future survival if they went and bought the infrastructure and bandwidth to support a really useful, popular feature like this?? I mean, heck, I bet if they asked members of their community to chip in a paltry $5 donation to see a feature like this get implemented they'd receive more than enough to cover the costs of upgrading their capacity and still have enough left over for a case of beer when they're done.