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He's Always Being Hit On

Craig of Craigslist Makes Networking Work

By Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 24, 2004; Page D01

SAN FRANCISCO -- "Some people think I don't exist."

That's hard to digest. He's a pseudo-celebrity here, worthy of a one-name moniker: Craig, as in Craigslist.org, the free-for-all utopia that is the Internet's most frequented bulletin board. It's a Yellow Pages for the 21st century, a staple of everyday life in New York, Los Angeles, Boston -- and, increasingly, in the Washington area, with more than 40 million page views per month.

Craig Newmark isn't the boss at the Craigslist office in San Francisco. That title goes to Jim Buckmaster, right, Craigslist president and CEO. (Randi Lynn Beach For The Washington Post)

On Craig Newmark's site, you can trade your futon for a leather couch, find your two-pound Chihuahua a film role, rant about your ex-boyfriend while looking for a new one.

Everyone is equal. Everything is possible.

"I think it proves that, basically, people trust each other," says Craig, who often punctuates his sentences with a sigh. He's the shy, self-deprecating type, sipping mineral water at Canvas, the part art gallery, part chic cafe that is drowning in a sea of Wi-Fi-connected laptops. "People want to get along."

Or so Craig -- idealistic as he is -- hopes.

For a while, the site that bears his name was a mere reflection of a do-gooder who wanted to "give people a break." But, lately, as its popularity has grown, Craigslist has become bigger than Craig -- more Our List than Craig's List -- revealing more about us and how we live than about the man who invented it.

Is Craig a super-computer, sitting somewhere smack in the middle of Silicon Valley?

On a recent Sunday stroll in Dupont Circle, a group of 25-year-olds ponder aloud.

"I never thought of Craig as a person," says Laura Kolar, looking a tad embarrassed.

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