Craigslist still has no official app, but here’s a pretty good substitute

The headline and text of this story have been updated to remove misleading references to Mokriya’s work with Path. A Mokriya representative initially claimed the company was the “mobile development studio behind blockbuster apps like Path” but in truth only consulted with Path on a BlackBerry app that was never released, both it and Path have confirmed.

Craigslist gets over 50 billion page views and over 60 million U.S. visitors every month — yet the classified site’s design and mobile strategy appear stuck in the year 2000 (when it first expanded beyond San Francisco). Craigslist offers a barebones mobile view, and it’s recently rolled out some mobile-friendly features like a map view and an image-heavy grid view. But it’s never released its own smartphone or tablet app, and its API is closed.

Mokriya craigslist app 2Plenty of companies have stepped in to try to fill the void, and the most recent of those is Mokriya, a consulting company that has worked on apps for companies like Hipster.

Mokriya’s new Craigslist app for iPhone (s AAPL) and Android (s GOOG), which launches Wednesday morning, and is called Mokriya Craigslist, joins third-party Craigslist apps like Craigslist Mobile and c•Mobile. What sets Mokriya Craigslist apart, the company says, is its easily navigable “two-tap” interface and the fact that it’s officially licensing data from Craigslist. The basic version is free; a premium version that allows posting and other features is $0.99.

When you launch the Mokriya Craigslist app, you choose category and city. Listings are then presented in an image-heavy interface. “Browsing Craigslist should be as pleasurable as using Pinterest,” Mokriya founder Sunil Kanderi told me.

Mokriya Craigslist app 1To choose a new category, post a listing of your own or ‘favorite’ a listing; all you have to do is tap at the top of the screen. “We built this to solve the problem of having to browse through multiple categories,” Kanderi said. Users can also create alerts so that they’re notified when, say, an apartment that fits their criteria is listed. And the app can use GPS to identify listings near a user’s location. Posting is also streamlined: A user writes a headline and description, chooses photos from his or her camera roll, adds price and category, and that’s it. Browsing listings is free, but to post listings, ‘favorite’ listings or set alerts, you’ll have to pay $0.99 for a premium version. I found a test version of the app smooth and nice to use — which sets it apart from some other unofficial Craigslist apps I’ve tried.

Mokriya officially licensed data from Craigslist prior to building its app. That should help it avoid legal hurdles: In the past, apps that have used Craigslist data without permission have gotten in trouble. This past summer, for example, Craigslist sued apartment search app PadMapper for using its data without a license. Craigslist didn’t answer my question about how many apps it’s licensed its data to (in fact, it didn’t respond to any of my questions for this story), but I imagine that many third-party apps besides Mokriya do have licenses or they’d have gotten cease-and-desist letters by now. (c•Mobile, for instance, notes on its iTunes page that it’s officially licensed.)

Craigslist is also making a little money off Mokriya’s app: “As part of the licensing agreement, Craigslist does get a small revenue cut,” Kanderi told me. “But mostly the licensing agreement ensures that we are in compliance with Craigslist’s terms of use.”