I think this is the first time that Sangat Pedas takes on the big guys from the Valley, but this time TechCrunch and Garry Tan take the cake. Here’s the load down. PadMapper is a site that aggregates real estate classifieds from other sites like Craigslist and maps all the properties on Google maps. Great site, definitely adds value for people looking for a property. One of the most important sites where they get their content from is Craigslist but Craigslist isn’t that amused anymore by PadMapper aggregating their content.
This week the lawyers of Craigslist send a cease and desist letter (see the bottom of this post) to PadMapper ordering them to remove all Craigslist content from PadMapper and to never ever do it again. They also offered PadMapper a license for their mobile apps but they won’t give PadMapper a website license.
Now TechCrunch is gettin all emotional trying to save PadMapper from this big blow by appealing to “common sense”. Here’s a quote from their post on this:
Obviously, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m sympathetic to DeMenthon’s position — which, actually, is more of an appeal to common sense than a legal argument. PadMapper, he says, “just acts as a search engine and sends all traffic back to the sites it searches.” In other words, it’s helping Craigslist by sending traffic to its listings, not hurting it or competing with it. DeMenthon says he’s hoping that if PadMapper fans reach out to Craigslist to try to explain that perspective, he might convince the company to change its mind.
Also Posterous co-founder and Y Combinator partner Garry Tan just published an open letter to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster asking, almost begging them and appealing to their humanity to reverse the decision.
Well, let me put this in the most polite way possible: BULLSHIT!
Check this quote from the same post on Techcrunch:
That seems like a pretty big blow, although PadMapper still includes listings from other sites like Apartments.com, as well as listings posted directly through its PadListings service.
Notice the bold part. So here’s how I see it. PadMapper claims it only adds value and actually drives traffic to the sites they aggregate. True, because not linking to the sites they crawl would be too obvious against the law. But in the meanwhile PadMapper is also trying to build their own content while leveraging on the content from others.
Real estate is one of the most strategic and financially most interesting categories in the online classified market and there are many who want to have a piece of the pie, including Craigslist and PadMapper. But starting a real estate classifieds site is hard, simply because you have to find means to get content to be anyway interesting for people searching for a house or apartment. The easiest and cheapest way is to just crawl other sites and “steal” their content, content that’s often the result of serious investments and efforts. So for me it makes perfect sense Craigslist protects their content and doesn’t allow being any part of an aggregator that also allows for posting listings directly to their site.
So, PadMapper, stop whining and make up your mind! What are you? An aggregator/search engine or a online classifieds site?
And to the writer of the TechCrunch post Anthony Ha: “common sense”? Sorry but your common sense misses the point and seems to lack the basic understanding of the online classifieds industry.