December 04, 2004

A Failure to Communicate

When it comes to startups, one thing one learns, forgets, relearns, re-forgets, and so on, is that stuff happens. Things break. Despite careful planning, meticulous attention to detail, things go wrong.

For instance, we posted our first-ever job announcement on craigslist yesterday. 11:32AM it went live.

By 4pm I was beginning to think something was wrong: not a single email response to the job announcement. My experience listing jobs in Craigslist in the past has always been the same: a steady flow of resumes beginning just minutes after the post goes live.

Was the San Diego market really that dried up? No way.

So I started thinking, perhaps our mail server was rejecting emails. Or perhaps Craigslist's mail server wasn't sending them (I'd decided to use the "anonymized email" option when posting the job announcement, so the email for candidates to respond to was something like Maybe Craigslist's email server wasn't redirecting the inquiries to my company's server?

I emailed Craig directly at 16:43 to inquire about my email concerns and damn if he didn't respond within 60 seconds, at 16:44. Talk about superb customer service! He forwarded the issue on to his tech team, and they got back to me at 17:30 saying it sounds like a problem with my company's server.

We set out to investigate, and discovered that there were several problems. It appears that Craigslist's server sends out mail with the To: line still being the Certain mail servers and list managers don't like receiving essentially Bcc'd mail and that's what was happening with our server. It was assuming this was not legitimate email and was bouncing back to Craigslist.

Theoretically, there's a chance that many companies with similar mail server setups who have listed jobs on Craigslist and used the popular email anonymizer option have run into similar email problems -- perhaps not even knowing it. It's also possible that people who submitted resumes to the anonymized craigslist account never were told that the email bounced and never reached its destination.

Needless to say, I went and edited the job announcement on craigslist and put up my own company's jobs email address (spammers, start your engines).

I then went and posted the job on my startup's website. Are you a PHP guru? Looking for a golden opportunity? Click here and read on. . .

Posted by brian at December 4, 2004 09:56 AM


Good point, and I'll share this with customer service and the tech team, now.



Posted by: Craig Newmark at December 5, 2004 09:20 AM


1) Being an exception; uncommon.
2) Well above average; extraordinary: an exceptional memory.
3) Deviating widely from a norm, as of physical or mental ability: special educational provisions for exceptional children

By using that term in your job description, I sure hope you mean #2?

Posted by: levin at December 6, 2004 10:16 AM

A bit picky, aren't we? #2, of course.

Posted by: brian at December 6, 2004 11:22 AM

Oh, and thanks Craig!

Posted by: brian at December 6, 2004 11:25 AM


Hey...being tempered in raw stupidity that permeates the Engineering/Medical arena of SD for the last 15 yrs you learn to be very picky or very

Posted by: levin at December 7, 2004 11:55 AM

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