Within an hour of announcing the launch of his new philanthropic support network on Facebook this morning, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark already had over 250 "likes" from people all over the world.
Called Craigconnects, the new service seeks to build upon the success of the world's top classified ad site to forge a new network devoted to the "common good." On the new site, Craig explained his motivation for trying to raise the profile of worthy nonprofits and other organizations working to improve things on a number of fronts.
"This is the biggest thing in my life, and I’d like a little help from you," Craig announced on the site. "Together, we can work together from the grassroots up to make things better for everyone. I want us to use the Internet to connect and protect organizations that are doing good stuff."
For its first year of operation, the service will concentrate on five issue areas: Community Building, Journalism Integrity, the Middle East, Open & Accountable Government, Service & Volunteering, Technology for Social Good, and Veterans Issues.
The types of groups that appear under one or more of these headings include AARP, Kiva, and the Wikimedia Foundation, the latter two headquartered in San Francisco, as are Craig's networks.
In order to better understand how the new service will work, 7x7 interviewed Craig (via email) and here are his responses:
Q Do you envision Craigconnects will grow by the same process as Craigslist
did/does, or some new process?
A Craigconnects probably will spread through online social media/word of
mouth. Craigslist spread well before that was available, mostly just usual
(and literal word of mouth).
Q Will people be able to make donations through Craigsconnects?
A No plans to do so.
Q How are you funding the staff and expenses of this new product --
exclusively through your foundation?
A All from my own pocket.
Q How many people are working on it?
A Right now, seven.
Q Will you eventually seek outside funding to support it?
A Nope, that money'd be better spent sending it right to the nonprofits.
Q Will you be able to continue doing customer service at Craigslist now this is launched?
A Yes, been doing it even during the launch, will be a customer service rep
only as long as I live.
Q You've already changed the world once. How important is Craigconnects to
your personal hope/vision of your future?
A People using CL maybe have changed the world; I'm hoping people will use
Craigconnects to do the same.
Craig also stresses on the site that this new service represents a long-term commitment on his part.: "It’s ... not a one-shot deal, we’re talking ongoing support for effective organizations. I’m committing 20 years to Craigconnects, focusing first on nonprofits and public service organizations that get stuff done on a sustainable basis."