A Friend of a Friend- 60 Million Users of Craigslist and Craig Newmark-April 8

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 8, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

When you get past age 50 you start to realize that some people you went to high school with have really accomplished a lot or have achieved some sort of notoriety. High School is tough when it comes to combating peer pressure. High school perceptions are sometimes tough to let go of.  I often chuckle when I see the Direct TV commercials featuring peaked in high school Rob Lowe.


For many after high school as good as their life will get is being “Peaked in High School Rob Lowe”.  For one classmate of mine from Morristown High School (NJ) that didn’t happen. He didn’t peak in high school and has achieved world-wide notoriety by becoming a household name.

Craig Newmark is a 1971 Morristown High School grad like me and is the “Craig” in Craigslist.org. He founded the website.


By his own description, Craig was a high school nerd who grew up to look like George Costanza on TV’s “Seinfeld.” Craig isn’t overwhelmed by the attention his site has received, nor does he take credit for it, deflecting much of the attention to his staff of 40 today.

Craig lived on Early Street until he was 13. Early Street for those not from Morristown, NJ is the street where the large Morristown High School is situated. The high school is a massive three stories building and was built-in 1919. The school is still in operation today.

Shortly after Craig’s bar mitzvah in 1966, his father, Lee, an insurance salesman, died of lung cancer. Craig, his mother Joyce and brother, Jeff, soon moved to an apartment in Jacob Ford Village which was situated between Washington’s Headquarters and Morristown Memorial Hospital. In high school I heard that Craig had sick relatives that he assisted his mom in taking care of. Newspaper stories I found on Craigslist and its founder Craig Newmark confirmed that.

At Morristown HS you got assigned a home room that you kept for all four years.  Craig was part of my home room class-Room 236.  I would say you could describe Craig during his time at Morristown HS, as the prototypical nerd, sometimes complete with black frame eyeglasses with white tape on the bridge and a plastic pocket protector. He was shy and did not engage a lot of people in conversation except when it came to debating.  Our high school yearbook called him as the “dictator of debate” for the high school forensics team.  He was also one of the co-captains on Mr. James Sillance team.

Craig Newmark is sitting in front row in center-seated on floor is Mr. James Sillence-advisor to the 1971 Morristown High School Debate Team. Second photo is of Craig from 1971 HS year book.

Debate TeamCraig Newmark

He belonged to the Honor Society and Physics Club, was an announcer for WJSV-FM, the high school radio station, and planned to become either a theoretical physicist or computer engineer. The guy was smart and a wiz in math and science. I somehow got in the same senior year computer programming class with him and Craig was the only kid in the class that not only got it but loved it.

After graduating from high school Craig enrolled at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.  After college, Craig was an IBM programmer for 17 years, moving to Boca Raton, Fla., and later Detroit. He moved to San Francisco to work for Charles Schwab, where a colleague introduced him to the still-young and commercial-free Internet. Craig  has lived in the Bay Area since 1993.

Craigslist began as a simple e-mail distribution list amongst friends in 1995. The majority of the earliest posts were posted by Craig himself and were notices of social events attractive to software and Internet developers living and/or working in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thanks to word of mouth, the number of both postings and subscribers grew rapidly and Craig was surprised when people started using the list for non-event postings, most of which were to fill technical positions. This lead to the addition of a category for “jobs”. Additional categories were added in response to user demand. Ever growing in popularity, community members demanded a web interface and thus the now super popular website, Craigslist.org went live. It was 1996.

In 1999, Craigslist was growing so fast that it was incorporated as a private for-profit company and Newmark stopped working as a software engineer to work full-time running Craigslist. Today there are 40 full-time people working for the company.

The Friend – Craig Newmark

craig newmark today

The Friend of the Friend – 60 Million Users last month of Craigslist


FAQ’s about Craigslist

Q: How many people use craigslist? A: More than 60 million each month in the US alone

Q: What is craigslist? A: Local classifieds and forums – community moderated, and largely free.

Q: What can I find there? A: Jobs, housing, goods, services, romance, local activities, advice – just about anything really.

Q: What is the origin of craigslist? A: An email list of SF events started by Craig Newmark in 1995.

Q: Who runs craigslist? Jim Buckmaster has been CEO since the year 2000.

Q: What is Craig up to these days? A: Craig launched craigconnects in March 2011 to “connect the world for the common good”.

Q: Is craigslist a nonprofit? A: No, craigslist was incorporated as a for-profit in 1999.

Q: Why does craigslist still use a “.org” domain? A: It symbolizes the relatively non-commercial nature, public service mission, and non-corporate culture of craigslist.

Q: What is CL? A: Popular nickname for craigslist and an easy alternative web address – cl.com

Q: How much traffic does craigslist get? A: More than 50 billion page views per month

Q: What languages does craigslist support? A: Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portugese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Q: How many classified ads does craigslist receive? A: craigslist users post well over 80 million classified ads each month (including reposts and renewals)

Q: How many job listings does craigslist receive? A: More than 1 million new job listings each month

Q: What about craigslist discussion forums? A: More than 200 million user postings in 100 topical forums

Q: How many employees does craigslist have, and where are its offices located? A: 40-some craigslist staff work at offices located in San Francisco, CA

Q: Is craigslist hiring? A: Yes! Current CL job openings are listed here

Q: How many craigslist sites are there? A: More than 700 local sites in 70 countries

Q: What is the craigslist Charitable Fund (CCF)? A: CCF, funded by craigslist, donates millions each year to worthy charities.

Craig Newmark did not peak in high school-good for him and for us.


One comment

  1. Jeff Neelon · · Reply

    Interesting story

    Sent from my iPhone


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