Friday, February 03, 2006

Craigslist not so friendly to hack

One of my frustrations with Craigslist is the inability to search multiple cities listings. In particular, if I want to buy a musical instrument from someone outside of my market, I have to visit each market to find a great deal. Problem solved, when Lifehacker reported a great hack that someone created, allowing users to search the entire Craigslist site through one interface.

The site, listed at clsearch.org is no longer active. I did a Google search for other sites and found this tool, which has been yanked by Craigslist for violating their terms of use:

Jeff,

Your search tool just appeared on our radar and while we appreciate your
desire to extend our search functionality it goes against the basic
intent of Craigslist to be a local tool. Also it's in direct violation
of our Terms of Use, section 5:

Additionally, you agree not to:
use automated means, including spiders, robots, crawlers, data mining
tools, or the like to download data from the Service - exception is
made for internet search engines (e.g. Google) and non-commercial
public archives (e.g. archive.org) that comply with our robots.txt
file;

Please disable your tool for public use. If you refuse to do so we'll
be forced to block all the proxy servers that you're using.

-Bill

--
Bill Swingle
Systems Administrator



You may have seen hacks for Google Maps all over the place, from finding local hotties to finding bloggers to, well, you name it. In fact, I remember the story about someone hacking Google Maps to create the game of Risk, which was also immediately yanked by Hasbro.

It seems to me that if people are thinking a step ahead of where you're at and are willing to create free tools that enhance your brand or site, the logical thing to do would be to talk to the developer and find out if they have other ideas for enhancements and just buy the ideas, no different than a consultant. At the very least I would purchase the tool/app from that person and incorporate it into my corporate site.

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