Listings site Craigslist has reportedly asked all general search engines to stop indexing its postings, effectively obsolescing data provider 3Taps and sites and apps which use its API, including the popular PadMapper. According to a post on 3Taps' Twitter account this morning, Craigslist took the action at around midday yesterday. "We are sorry CL has chosen this course of action and are exploring options to restore service," writes the provider. "We may be down for an extended period."
The seeming self-immolation on Craigslist's part, which will likely see the site's search traffic drop significantly, follows legal action against both PadMapper and 3Taps. In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California late last month, Craigslist claimed that the sites were "unlawfully and unabashedly mass-harvesting postings entrusted by craigslist users to their local craigslist sites" and sought to have a permanent injunction placed on their activities.
Update: PadMapper founder Eric DeMenthon has got in touch to clarify the issue: "I don't think they've removed their postings from Google," he writes, "but instead have told Google to stop caching a copy of their listing pages, making it so 3taps can't read the contents of the listings via Google." This would fit with comments that Business Insider and others have made about the site's robots.txt file, which has apparently not been edited since last year.