Report: Craigslist costing newspapers millions

The free community Web site has cost San Francisco Bay Area newspapers up to $65 million, according to a new report.

Free community Web site Craigslist has cost San Francisco Bay Area newspapers up to $65 million in employment advertising revenue, according to a report released Monday.

Craigslist, which generates more than 1 billion page-views each month, also has cost the newspapers millions more in merchandise and real estate advertising, and has damaged other traditional classified advertising businesses, according to a report published by Classified Intelligence.

"Craigslist has created an extremely important and valuable marketplace, and perfectly illustrates the changing nature of the classified advertising industry," Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Classified Intelligence, said in a statement.

Craigslist, launched in 1995, is a bare-bones classifieds site for people looking for almost anything, such as apartments, dates or baseball tickets, in 45 cities. The site has since created a flourishing network of online buyers and sellers while maintaining a simple look and feel free from banner ads.

Local search advertising revenue is expected to reach $502 million in 2004, up from $408 million last year, according to market researcher Jupiter Research. That number is expected to hit $824 million by 2008.

Classified advertising represents a $28 billion to $30 billion business in the United States, including $16 billion in daily newspapers, and an estimated $100 billion business internationally.

Online auction giant eBay took a 25 percent stake in Craigslist in August. eBay also announced recently that it would buy online apartment rental service for $415 million.

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