Chris Janota Garage Sale Rover
I regret to inform the Garage Sale Rover community that my app will be shut down the end of the year.
Google Play stated they have been informed by Craigslist that Garage Sale Rover is breaking their terms of service and they have removed my app from the Google Play store. I disagree with Craigslist’s claim.
Garage Sale Rover is still available on the App Store until the end of the year for free download, but I will be shutting our server down the end of the year and our Android and iOS app will cease to function.
This is very disheartening for me and sincerely regret to have to bring you this news. Over the last three years I have been passionate about building Garage Sale Rover and our community. Let me explain some background and my thoughts on this action.
This case raises questions over whether Craigslist is stifling innovation or simply protecting its data. Craigslist has publicly stated they want the data posted on their site to be only viewable on their site, but at the same time they allow their site to be indexed by search engines so the data is open on the internet.
The basic legal question is who owns a listing?
Once an ad is posted on Craigslist does Craigslist own it? Craigslist has threatened scores of startup and established firms with copyright claims over user content posted to its site. A legal precedent has now been set in the case of Craigs vs 3Taps and Padmapper (An apartment search website), where Federal Court dismissed Craigslists claim to exclusive rights and copyright in their user generated postings.
On April 30, 2013 Justice Charles R Breyer speaking for the United States District Court for the Northern District California, put an end to further sham litigation by dismissing Craigslist assertions that it held exclusive licenses and copyright over user generated postings submitted to its site. Read more.
My thoughts are Craigslist should be able to control access to their data but that it shouldn’t own facts expressed by that data — such as the fact that a particular garage sale starts at 8 am next Saturday. Just these facts were reported on Rover. Each garage sale on my app had a link to Craigslist to get detailed information. Rover helped Craigslist by directing more traffic to Craigslist.
Despite this precedence in Federal Court against Craigslist, and even more surprising to me, Google Play has decided to interpret and enforce the Craigslist Term of Service by shutting down Garage Sale Rover. Google Play hasn’t responded to my email request to reinstate Rover.
Garage Sale Rover launched in 2010 and has since received over 500k downloads through the iPhone and Google Play and was heading towards real success. My app had the promise of being the garage sale hunting tool you always wanted. There were lots of new feature development plans in the mix. I was in the middle of developing text and email garage sale alerts when a sale matching your pre-entered criteria was nearby. Also we were working on posting new sales to the app with a simple tap and a picture. I had fun developing Rover with Nagender, my main man, and it was fun brainstorming for new ideas and talking to Rover users about making it better and making ridiculous tutorials.
But with the closing of Garage Sale Rover on Google Play the fun has stopped. I can no longer afford the operational cost to maintain the app from revenue of just the App Store.
GARAGE SALES ON CRAIGSLIST
Using Craigslist for garage sale hunting is antiquated, the locations of listings are hardly dependable. They recently implemented maps in the listings but only one pin appears on a map. That doesn’t do any good when your planning a route of 5 or 10 sales to hit quick on a Saturday morning. Garage sale hunting is inherently a mobile activity and you need to create a route you can take with you. Planning your route requires tedious cutting and pasting to take with you on your garage sale hunt. There is a litany of shortcomings that come with the Craigslist garage sale search; they are many and they are painful. Craiglist: Your site is bursting with with great data, but your interface is torture. Either give users a garage sale mobile app or the tools to effectively use your site… or allow someone else to do it.
Ok im done whining for now; I have no desire to be a crusader and fight the powers that be and dwell on this any longer. I just want to explain the situation to you and get on with my Laser Lipo venture.
My new venture is LipoSculpture. New non-invasive lipo is hot business and the industry is heavily fragmented with manufactures and practitioners that are welcoming the extra exposure I can give them. Please wish me luck with my new podcast.
We had a lot of fun developing Garage Sale Rover. Thank you for your support the last three years. Also a special Thanks to Nagender Sangra, Mick Dunnavant and TheThrift Shopper.com for their support.
These are just my thoughts and opinions on the closing of Rover. You can get a full legal break down from The Aim Group who has done a terrific job reporting on Craigslists actions.