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As of 2012, mashup sites such as and were overlaying Craigslist data with Google Maps and adding their own search filters to improve usability.In June 2012, Craigslist changed its terms of service to disallow the practice. The site is considered particularly useful by lesbians and gay men seeking to make connections, because of the service's free and open nature and because of the difficulty of otherwise finding each other in more conservative areas.Analysts and commentators have reported varying figures for its annual revenue, ranging from million in 2004, million in 2005, and , there have been no substantive changes to the usefulness or non-advertising nature of the site—no banner ads, charges for a few services provided to businesses.The company was believed to be owned principally by Newmark, Buckmaster and e Bay (the three board members).It became a web-based service in 1996 and expanded into other classified categories. Having observed people helping one another in friendly, social, and trusting communal ways on the Internet via the WELL, Mind Vox and Usenet, and feeling isolated as a relative newcomer to San Francisco, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark decided to create something similar for local events.

Buckmaster contributed the site's multi-city architecture, search engine, discussion forums, flagging system, self-posting process, homepage design, personals categories, and best-of-Craigslist feature. On August 1, 2004, Craigslist began charging to post job openings on the New York and Los Angeles pages.The company has been pressured by San Francisco Department of Public Health officials, prompting Jim Buckmaster to state that the site has a very small staff and that the public "must police themselves".In 2002, a disclaimer was put on the "men seeking men", "casual encounters", "erotic services", and "rants and raves" boards to ensure that those who clicked on these sections were over the age of 18, but no disclaimer was put on the "men seeking women", "women seeking men" or "women seeking women" boards.As a response to charges of discrimination and negative stereotyping, Buckmaster explained that the company's policy is a response to user feedback requesting the warning on the more sexually explicit sections, including "men seeking men".Today, all of the above listed boards (as well as some others) have a disclaimer. states that the erotic services ads were being used for prostitution.

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Most of the early postings were submitted by Newmark and were notices of social events of interest to software and Internet developers living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. The number of subscribers and postings grew rapidly.