Craigslist Quietly Begins Testing The Feature It Sued PadMapper For Adding

from the market-research? dept

Craigslist is somewhat famous for keeping its rather antiquated design, and refusing to make changes. Even when well meaning fans have suggested ideas for improving the site, Craigslist has resisted, insisting that it's really just about design companies who are trying to get hired.

So that makes the following story all the more interesting. You may recall that Craigslist has gotten itself into an unfortunate and petty legal spat with the site PadMapper, because PadMapper dared to make Craigslist more useful, in part by putting Craigslist housing entries on a map so people could see where they are. This is a pretty small, but incredibly useful tweak, and Craigslist -- normally a defender of internet freedom -- suddenly turned into a protectionist legal aggressor and sued.

However, as Aaron DeOliveira points out to us, Craigslist has just started quietly testing out its own upgrade... using maps. They're using OpenStreetMap (which is interesting in its own right as more and more companies are moving away from Google Maps to the much more open (duh) OpenStreetMap).

While there may not be a direct connection between PadMapper and Craigslist's decision, the timing certainly raises some eyebrows, and hints at the idea that Craigslist might just be suing PadMapper for improving Craigslist before Craigslist had a chance to launch the feature itself. Or, even worse, Craigslist thought it was such a good idea that it sued PadMapper while using its idea. That's not quite the "open innovation" model that Craig Newmark tries to champion.

For what it's worth, PadMapper's Eric DeMenthon is actually quite conciliatory about the whole thing:
“I’m glad something good came out of all this,” says PadMapper creator Eric DeMenthon. “Lots of people wrote to them about the PadMapper cease and desist [letter], so maybe that convinced them that it was worthwhile to do some mapping themselves.
Market research by suing those who try to improve you? Doesn't seem like the most effective system.
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Filed Under: features, maps, market research, updates
Companies: craigslist, openstreetmap, padmapper

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2012 @ 6:17am

    nothing different to what Apple does. waits for another company/person to put a really useful program or feature, sue using god knows what reason or excuse, start using that same feature yourself anyway for free or almost free. the well-off company wins all round, the originator who couldn't defend himself because of a lack of funds, is still just as bad off as before. originator then stops originating so everyone loses out for the future. cant think of a better way to stifle innovation whilst keeping control, can you!

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