If I had to list “most indispensably useful websites on the Internet”, PadMapper would be near the top of my list. PadMapper, the brainchild of Eric DeMenthon, is essentially a site which extracts apartment listings from major websites and maps them on a Google Map. Add in super-smart filters and email alerts and voila: you have your perfect apartment-hunting companion.
Here is the email I sent to Jim Buckmaster (CEO) and Craig Newmark (founder):
Hi Jim, Craig –
My name is Chris Peterson. I run web communications for the MIT Admissions Office, am a grad student in the Comparative Media Studies Program, and am affiliated with the Center for Civic Media.
One of the things that I have always appreciated about Craigslist is the way it built itself up from a very simple service proposition to a whole community and social platform. PadMapper is, hands down, the most single valuable extension of Craigslist I have ever found. Every time I have searched for an apartment, I have used PadMapper. I have recommended it to countless others. Between myself and the rest we must have used Craigslist (through the portal of Padmapper) thousands of times.
The amount of apartments on Craigslist makes it valuable, but the UI/UX of PadMapper makes Craigslist usable. It is simply impossible for me to run the sort of queries – and visualize the sorts of results – that I’d like to on Craigslist proper.
I am deeply disappointed in your decision to cut off PadMapper. To me, it represents a betrayal of what I thought Craigslist stood for. I will not be using Craigslist in the future, because a company which inexplicably severs one of its most useful, usable, and beneficial apps is not a company that I either want to do business with or, frankly, trust with the right vision or mission moving forward.
If you feel the same way, I’d encourage you to send your own note in support of an awesome service like PadMapper.