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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Most Useful App For Finding An Apartment Is Coming Back!

PadMapper will once again include apartments listed on Craigslist on its map of apartments available for rent, app developer Eric DeMenthon owner said today.
This is fantastic news.
PadMapper is one of the best ways to find an apartment in a city. It pulls data from a bunch of listing sites — including Craiglist — to populate a Google Map with available apartments.
It's much easier to use than a text-based site like Craigslist, and it points its users directly back to those listings.
But just last month, the powers that be at Craigslist sent a cease and desist letter to DeMenthon, asking him to remove Craiglist listings from the map.
The unfortunate alternative, without PadMapper, is using Craigslist's poorly-designed listing service, which is purely text-based and offers no location context (other than vague references to neighborhoods, like "Park Slope" or "Tenderloin" that are usually false).
So, instead of pulling data directly from Craigslist, which is apparently against its terms of service, DeMenthon found a roundabout way of getting the data and will be adding the listings back soon.

Here's the full blog post:
I’ve been wrestling with whether to bring back Craigslist listings in the search results. I’ve found a way to include them that I’m told is legally kosher since it doesn’t touch their servers at all, but it still seems somewhat dickish to go against their wishes in this, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for what they’ve done for the world. Also, court seems like it’d be no fun.
But then I did some back of the envelope estimates of how much of people’s time and effort it would waste if I didn’t, and it became clear how much less nice it is to waste the time of millions of apartment hunters out of stubbornness or some clearly inaccurate assumption about the will of the community. If it takes half of PadMapper’s millions of monthly users 3 hours longer now to find an apartment, that’s over 350 man-years wasted per month, or 5 lifetimes. That really pisses me off. Apartment hunting is an activity which, unless you enjoy it or it teaches you something, adds no value to the world, and should be over as quickly as humanly possible so that you can get back to doing other, more productive things.
So, effective as soon as I can bring the new code up (almost certainly by the time you read this), I’m bringing the Craigslist search results back. This will be courtesy of the fine folks at 3taps, who provide an API for data about Craigslist postings that they gather via indirect means and so aren’t subject to CL’s Terms of Use. It’s not nice of me to do from Craigslist’s perspective, and I’d really love to just work with them to solve these problems, but my conscience is clear. I’m still going to send all traffic back to them and all that jazz.

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