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An Internet for the PeopleThe Politics and Promise of craigslist$
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Jessa Lingel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691188904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691188904.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The Death and Life of Classified Ads

The Death and Life of Classified Ads

A Media History of Craigslist

(p.39) 2 The Death and Life of Classified Ads
An Internet for the People

Jessa Lingel

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces a media history of craigslist by examining the development of classified and personal ads through the arrival of the digital age. Craigslist has played a key role in the struggle of legacy media like newspapers to stay afloat, disrupting what had previously been an easily overlooked but crucially reliable source of funding. Although it has been compared with a number of things and places over the years—job fair, flea market, local pub—craigslist has always thought of itself as a website for getting classified ads online. The chapter thus defines what classified ads are and why they matter in the context of newspapers, reading publics, and craigslist. Easily overlooked compared with their sexier marketing-ad counterparts, classifieds are actually crucial to the economics of local newspapers, and they also have an important history in allowing regular people to reach a wide audience while retaining their anonymity. Like craigslist, classified ads are simultaneously a tool for local businesses and important links for marginalized communities.

Keywords:   media history, classified ads, personal ads, newspapers, reading publics, classifieds, advertising, interpersonal connections

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