I'll just continue to toil in obscurity; self-respect intact.
I am not being facetious by this question, but did you make a product that you are selling ? I talked with customers before the product was even finished to make sure we were solving a real problem, to make sure they understood our marketing message, and to make sure we really understood the space.
The analysis seemed to be from 2009, perhaps things are much different now. It took years of perseverance, hard work and providing a useful service. Instead Air Bnb seems to get a pass because they are a YC company.
What bothers me more is that Craigslist is one of the great Silicon Valley stories of something that grew from nothing (an email list that one person created). I can't wait for irony to strike when another startup does this to Air Bnb. I used to think they were clever, but now we know they're such repellent scumbags willing to abuse public resources for private gain that it's actually a black mark against Y Combinator to have been partly responsible and holding dirty money. Email is the main immediate worldwide communication medium that isn't under the arbitrary control of one private owner.
Sometimes your business is in a position to strut your stuff, because you're the lion in the room.
Other times you have to sneak around or be deceptive.
These were extremely well-targeted communications likely sent out one-by-one by humans who had done some research.
The company is still around but is doing something completely different now.
Think the response here would be the same if it was Micro Soft or the RIAA caught in something like this and not a YC alum?
Anyway, great investigation and great analysis here, I think. I don't mind startups using Craigslist to market and heck, they might even be allowed to do this if they have an option on Air Bn B to "market my property on my behalf" to just post the properties on CL every two weeks but what bothers me is this:1) They explicitly violated the posters request to not receive "commercial" mail of any kind. Would HN condone any type of unsolicited SPAM from a YC startup? The intent of the poster was to receive only credible inquiries from people interested in renting their property, not from competing services or people wanting to sell them on services, etc.2) They tried to hide the fact that it was SPAM by using fake Gmail aliases and pretending to be normal folk just trying to help that vacation rental owner out.
If you're going to push your service out there to people, be transparent about who you are and allow people to tell you to not contact them anymore.
I think startups are held to a looser standard and of course we all love to be "hustlers" but the idea that this behavior should be applauded regardless of it's ethnical nature seems wrong.