When Lawyers Send Letters

Craigslist Goes Full on Troll, Sues PadMapper for Aggregating Its Listings

Now who's being "dickish?"
 Craigslist Goes Full on Troll, Sues PadMapper for Aggregating Its Listings

U mad? (Photo: Idea Mensch)

Remember the good old days, when Craigslist was a granola-crunchy, free-wheeling sort of place, filled with back alley studio sublets and questionable masseuses and sweaty old men with foot fetishes? Ah, those were the times.

But now the little Craigslist that we all love and rely on so much has grown into a corporate overlord, moving to squash a tiny startup focused on continuing to innovate on the local listings concept. Oh Craig Newmark, why hath thou forsaken us?

GigaOm reports that, following Padmapper’s “dickish” decision to continue to include Craigslist apartment listings on its visual mapping tool (despite a cease-and-desist letter), Craigslist is sue Padmapper and its API provider 3Taps. Not exactly an “embrace the free Internet” move there, Craigslist.

Writes GigaOm:

In a complaint filed in San Francisco, Craigslist is accusing PadMapper and “one stop data shop” 3Taps of a slew of infractions, including copyright and trademark violations, and is demanding the court issue a preliminary injunction to stop them from using its listings.

Dare we say that this move makes Craigslist look vaguely…assholish? Perhaps PadMapper wouldn’t be so successful at visually mapping Craigslist data if Craigslist itself didn’t have a UI that looks like it was built by a drunk college freshman during Geocities’ heyday. And most sections are so overrun with spam that it’s impossible to navigate through detritus to find apartments that actually exist. As DigitalTrends put it (via GigaOm), “Your interface is an exercise in torture.”

So there you have it. Craigslist’s UI = waterboarding.

Considering PadMapper founder Eric DeMenthon’s sizable cojones in the startup sparring arena, we suggest making some popcorn and cozying up to watch the next round unfold.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com