Seth Godin posted an interesting idea to his blog: what if Craig's List cost $1 to post?
Seth argues that the number of scams and bogus postings would go down, and the site's revenue would soar. He adds:
Money creates a sort of friction. In the digital economy, magical
things can happen when there is no friction. You can scale to infinity.
On the other hand, sometimes you want friction.
$1 isn't a big deal, but as Seth says, it would create some friction that might be beneficial.
When Caleb was born, my wife and I had 2 dogs and 3 cats. The dogs and one of the cats were mine. I decided that with two children, I couldn't give the animals the attention they needed. I posted Wiggles the dog and "Evil Cat" on Craig's List. It was a very hard decision. Both animals really did love me, but as I said, I couldn't give them the attention they needed at that point. I read an article somewhere that you should never give an animal away for free. You should always put a nominal charge of around $25 or $50 on the animal. The charge helps create an emotional connection in the person to the animal. It's easy to pick up a free animal, but if you've had to pay a small amount of money from the animal, you're more likely to take better care of the animal. As Seth says, it creates friction.
Check out Item Not As Described for some real-life examples of ways Craig's List could benefit from a $1 listing fee.
Do you think Craig's List would change if it charged a nominal fee for posting? Would it be better, or worse? Would it change the way you use Craig's List? (Please, don't direct angry comments at me. I carry no influence with the direction of Craig's List. I'm not even sure what position I'd take on this issue if I did.)