Today, these startups are so popular that most of them are household names. When they were first introduced, though, they sounded just about as crazy as civilian space travel.
It doesn’t cost a dime for most people to use Craigslist, and somehow it’s still wildly successful. You can find a job, find a friend, buy a goat, get laid (sometimes for free, sometimes not), or hope the cute coffee girl you winked at doesn’t read the “missed connections” section just to laugh--you can even start a multi-million dollar business. Whatever your hobbies, it’s a safe bet that you’ve looked at your local Craigslist at least once.
Craigslist was founded by a man named Craig Newmark in 1995. Originally, it was just an email distribution list that highlighted events in the San Francisco Bay Area, but by 1996, it grew into a multi-category, web-based service. Craiglist’s growth, although slower than some of the companies on this list, was lightning fast for a website in the late 90s. In 1999, Newmark quit his day job as a software developer and turned his efforts to Craigslist full-time. Since then, Newmark has slowly started rolling out paid ads, despite his professed lack of interest in maximizing profits. Last year, Craigslist’s revenue doubled for a total of $335 million and they’re only expected to climb from there.