You would think that on the internet, there would be enough cyberspace to go around. Apparently, at least from Craigslist’s perspective, that is not necessarily the case.
The website that is considered to be one of the largest listings one and probably the most popular one to-date as well has recently had a lawsuit filed against it. What is the cause? Well, according to 3Taps, a company that was created to collect public data and then organize it in a way that developers can use it, they believe that Craigslist is conducting several “anticompetitive business practices”.
Now, for this to make a bit more sense, we should go back a few months.
Last July, it was Craigslist that actually filed a lawsuit against 3Taps, as well as a listings website by the name of Padmapper, claiming that they both were infringing upon Craigslist’s copyright and trademark. However, many people believe that this is just Craiglist’s way of throwing a professional temper tantrum in the sense that while they are certainly the pioneer of online listings, they should be open to the fact that other people would indeed improve on the concept (kind of like how MySpace paved the way for Facebook). Of course, there are some websites that are definitely “pushing the copyright envelope” including Craigs Little Buddy (where you can search several cities on Craigslist simultaneously) and Craigsly that was designed to send people email alerts when a particular listing that they may be looking for became available. Yet, even according to these developers (after Craigslist “killed” them), they were simply fans of Craigslist and were looking for creative ways to improve upon the website.
Craigslist doesn’t seem to be very moved by the sentiment. Last August, it killed access to dozens of websites, online classifieds and other types of services that were attempting to build their vision, in part, based on Craigslist’s listings.
Yet, 3Taps has its own perspective on that matter. According to their lawsuit, although Craiglist should be commended for its concept, it should not be “cyberbullying” other companies that are trying to be innovative as well. To them, not only is it doing poor business and sending out a bad message to businesses that actually look up to Craigslist as being a listings trendsetter, but it also makes things just that much more challenging to the consumers who come on the internet. People who are not online just because Craigslist exists, but because it helps to make their life easier.
3Taps wants the opportunity to do the same.
In some ways, without even knowing the outcome, 3Taps should be commended because it’s one thing to sit back and complain about how you’re being treated. It’s another matter entirely to stand up for yourself and although they are a significantly smaller company than Craigslist, that is exactly what they are doing. They want to be seen just as much as their “competitor”. Good for them. As for Craigslist, at this time, there seems to be no comment about the lawsuit.
Let’s hope they take heed, though.
As a wise man once said, “The bigger they are…” Well, you know the rest.