CraigsHome – Android App

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iconI published a new Android application to the market today: CraigsHome. CraigsHome plots CraigsList rental listings on your Google map. You can get more information about the listing including photos, and even email the author right from your device with one click.

Right now, it only covers rentals (apartment, room, house). It could easily also cover for sale listings. Without going into too many details, it would require some extra processing on the back side. With for sale listings, this could be the Zillow-killer app. Re-presenting data from CL is never going to be as clean as Zillow listings, but with the popularity (and free-ness) of CL, it could really put a dent in things for them.

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4 Responses to CraigsHome – Android App

  1. Brian says:

    Do you think you will have trouble with Craigslist blocking your app from accessing their data? I know they block 3rd party websites quite often.

    I ask because I am tempted to try to learn to program an app for Android which acts similar to CraigsHome. Except my app would display Garage/Yard/Estate Sales. My wife currently uses the gsalr.com website, which is really nice, and even provides the ability to create a multi-stop route. Unfortunately the website is completely unusable on the Droid browser.

    Do you have any advice to get me started? For reference I am a stay-at-home dad who quit being a web developer almost 4 years ago.

    Thanks,
    Brian Hanifin

    • Jeffrey Blattman says:

      hi brian,

      first, my app doesn’t directly access CL for data (only when the user jumps from the app to the CL website). CL doesn’t support location based queries. you can’t say “give me the listings near x,y” or “…near 123 main st”. the craigshome data comes from a 3rd party web service. could this service get banned? yes, but it’s been doing it for years without a hitch. i have gotten my IP banned during prototyping, but it was directly related to how often i was hitting the site.

      as for you app, you have to ask yourself how many data points you have. in some sense it’s the same problem as craigshome faces. you have events at a given geo. once you have the events data and have geocoded them, you can work your magic to build a route.

      for each event, you need to parse the CL page and pull out the data you want. i’ve done that and it’s not too bad, but if you have more than 10 or so events your phone isn’t going to cut it. you then need to geocode the event. that is problematic at best. first, you need a geocoding service. there are free ones (like google) but you will get banned if you hit it too many times / too quickly. second, the event may or may not have a geocode-able address. a lot of times people spell street names wrong or just leave out information that is not critical for a human, but is for a machine. for craigshome, a large % of the potential rental listings (like 50%) are thrown out because of missing / invalid / improper addresses.

      could you write your own mining software, and host a server that periodically mines the CL data you want and processes it, and makes that data available to your app as a web service? sure. personally, that was too much for me, for a toy project.

      good luck. i think i have some sample code i wrote to mine CL rental listings. if you want it let me know.

  2. rsirah says:

    Brian/Jeffrey,

    Could you guys work on developing a droid app that would allow the user to create a route map with multiple address online, save it and download into the droid to be able to navigate it within google maps? That would be useful and I think many people would use it…

    Thanks,
    RSIRAH

  3. Michael Schultz says:

    This would be great for me on a tablet. Thanks

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