Drewslist, not craigslist, drewslist. The rest of the world (including Whidbey Island) has craigslist for buying, selling, and generally letting folks deal with other folks instead of dealing with corporations and bureaucracies. As drewslist’s founder, Drew Kampion, puts it “Drewslist is like craigslist, but exactly opposite.” (paraphrased) Welcome to an online and email marketplace that is more concerned with community than profit, and where reputations and manners matter.
First, craigslist does a good job. It does such a good job that it is everywhere and massive. Anonymity rules, which means it is harder to know who to trust. Despite that, craigslist covers about a hundred topics like boats, housing, jobs, etc. Craigslist covers large areas, areas that are larger than Whidbey Island. That can be a problem. Should you list or browse on the Seattle one, or Skagit County, or Olympic Pen(insula)? Like many web sites, craigslist gets a little confused when calculating distances on an island. A great used car that’s only five miles away can be on the Kitsap Peninsula, more than a two hour drive involving two ferry rides. Good, but not great.
Drewslist is different, and possibly unique. There is a web site, but most subscribers, yes, subscribers instead of users, receive the latest postings via about twelve emails delivered by morning. Overwhelming? Definitely can be; but if you suddenly need a spare bed, or a baby sitter, or want to advertise an event it can be suddenly handy. About 10% of the island subscribes. Because almost everyone using the system is an islander, there’s a strong chance that you know the person who posted the item, event, or whatever. If you don’t know them, you probably know someone who does. Reputations rule.
The idea was to find yet another way to strengthen community that didn’t involve a government or some other institution. It started with one guy, Drew Kampion (writer, author, editor, journalist, surfer, and founder of drewslist – and big fan of the island), a few folks that knew him, and then more until over 8,000 people are now subscribed. And it is free, at least free to subscribe. The general rule is that if there’s a transaction, either side can decide to send Drew a percentage or a something appropriate to help pay for the service. Or, if you’re feeling generous send him a tip to show your appreciation.
The emails are overwhelming, but just like the newspaper, you only have to read what you want to read. In some ways, those emails can also be read like a newspaper. There are the big events in the news, but drewslist is where you find out about them before they happen. Watch what gets bought and sold, and you can see kids getting their first car, or hunting for a rental, or starting a business. You can see people retire as they sell off office equipment, or open up slots in a carpool. Celebrations and departures. Advocacy and opportunities to help others. Many of the things that really matter that would never show up in a column of newsprint.
Drewslist is not the only community marketplace. There are other web sites, as well as several Facebook groups. There are too many to readily compile a comprehensive list. That also means each has fans, as well as folks who avoid this one in preference to that one. Good. The more opportunities the better. That may also be why drewslist gets talked about so much. It is ubiquitous, and people have opinions about it. A community where everyone said and thought the exact same thing wouldn’t be as interesting.
If you want to subscribe, go to their web site. As they point out; “Don’t be alarmed if there’s a message saying you’re unrecognized…” Introduce yourself. Be recognized.
Oh yeah, and be glad that it isn’t confused by being on an island.
To learn more about drewslist and Drew Kampion here are a few links:
Drewslist (to subscribe)
Drew Kampion’s web site (slightly out of date because he’s been so busy running the service)
A Bow To Drewslist (a blog post from 2012 when it was much smaller, though it felt like it had grown large at the time)
Surfing Writing And Staying Stoked (an interview with Drew Kampion that is mostly about his life as a writer, but also describes a bit about how the site is now being passed to the next generation)