Craigslist & eBay: Community sites founded by programmers

Great businesses are often started by people without a formal business background but with passion, vision and the ability to execute.

Neither Craigslist nor [founder and chairman Craig] Newmark benefits financially from the deal. EBay and Craigslist both were started in 1995 by pocket-protector-type programmers; each became wildly successful in its own way, attracting fervent communities of people who wanted to make a deal of one sort or another.

Over the years, Newmark has turned down numerous offers to sell all or part of Craigslist to outside investors. In a posting on his Web log, Newmark said the sale to EBay was conducted by a former employee to whom he had given some equity “with the idea of establishing checks and balances, mostly on myself.”

Over two months of meetings, EBay assured Newmark and Buckmaster [Craigslist CEO] it would not pursue the deal unless they were happy about it, Buckmaster said. Both men said they felt that EBay CEO Meg Whitman and founder Pierre Omidyar “showed that they were interested in us for all the right reasons,” as Newmark put it on his blog.”Once we knew this equity interest was likely to change hands, we can’t imagine a better outcome than the one we’ve gotten here,” Buckmaster said.

 
Full story in the San Francisco Chronicle:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/08/14/BUG6B87P0F1.DTL&type=printable

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