In the early 1990s, Craig Newmark moved to San Francisco and joined the Well, a Web community founded by Stewart Brand, whose mantra was "information wants to be free." Newmark was also a part of the Linux-inspired open-source movement, in which programmers openly and freely shared their software creations so users could build upon and improve each other's work, before founding his eponymous online classified ad service, Craigslist.
But times change--and today, Craigslist has become notorious in Internet start-up circles as an intellectual property bully, the New York Times reports. The company has reportedly become litigious, vehemently going after early-stage companies attempting to build innovative applications on top of Craigslist data.
The Times cited several instances of aggressive Craigslist enforcement efforts:
In a Quora thread labeled "Why hasn't anyone built any product on top of Craigslist data?" Kenneth Walton, COO and co-founder of social gaming company KlickNation, wrote that Craigslist's legal actions "have created a chilling effect, stifling the growth of what should be a much more robust CL developer scene."
Newmark defended the company by replying, "Actually, we take issue with only services which consume a lot of bandwidth, it's that simple."
That does not appear to be the case, however. Padmapper did not affect Craigslist's bandwidth, according to the Times. Instead, it used a third-party developer that collects Craigslist posting data from search engines.
Craigslist did not return a request for comment Monday.