Craigslist and fees

At the end of our Internet column in the Merc today, we mentioned a MediaPost story that said craigslist might start charging fees to list housing rentals on its San Francisco and New York web sites. It turns out the MediaPost story was only partly right. Craigslist is looking at a fee for its New York site, but not for San Francisco.

Craigslist has had an ongoing problem with apartment brokers in New York. In some cases, craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told us today, brokers will list bait-and-switch ads, advertising “too-good-to-be-true” apartments that don’t carry brokers fees. When apartment-hunters respond to the ads, the no-fee apartments are gone, replaced by other rentals that carry broker fees. Craigslist is hoping a listing fee will weed out those characters.

Suffice it say, there is not a huge apartment broker problem in the Bay Area. “We don’t see much of a rationale for charging in the Bay Area,” Buckmaster said.