Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability: Less is More

So what does Lightweight Models and Cost-effective Scalability mean? Rather than engaging a large software development team to create a complex product – they engage small teams and release functionality in increments. Instead of a large marketing budget they rely word of mouth and viral marketing. They also choose to outsource and utilise open sourced wherever possible rather than having the resources to build everything in house. Hardware nowsaday can be outsourced by using a hosting provider, providing low cost space while you are small, and access to server farms as the business takes off. All of these principals fit with the best practices for lightweight and scalable development suggested by Tim O’Reilly.

Digg for example launched in December 2004 with $2,000, a single hosted server ($99 monthly), free open source software, and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ outsourced developer ($10 hourly from Elance). By spring of 2006, Digg was serving more than 100 million page views a day, with 90 servers, and a staff size of only 15. Other examples of doing more with less and using viral marketing/advertising are, Google AdSense (advertising solution),, Flickr (photo sharing), YouTube (video sharing), MySpace (social networking), and QOOP (mash-up for photo books and posters).

Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in early 1995 as an email mailing list of mainly social events of interest to software and Internet developers in the San Francisco area. It soon grew to accommodate user’s needs such as new job listings and other classified advertisements. The Craigslist website began in 1996 and today the site design is still simple without any pictures. It now incorporates international cities with classified sections such as, community, housing, jobs, for sale, personals, discussion forums, services, and gigs.

“Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wall Street analysts that Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit, instead it prefers to help users find cars, apartments, jobs, and dates.” It is a popular free online classifieds site which uses the ‘lightweight models and cost-effective scalability’ competently.

Therefore the philosophy behind developing for Web 2.0 is “less is more”. Its objectives are simplicity and efficiency. Software start-up companies are requiring minimal funding to design Web applications that do one thing, do it well, and are not top-heavy with ancillary features.


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8 Responses to Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability: Less is More

  1. 16paola says:

    I like how you explain what is concept ‘Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability’ it is very simple but clear.
    I totally agree with Tim O’Reilly about the best practices for lightweight and scalable development.
    After read your blog I went to search more about Digg and I found some tips for digg new user. I would like to share them with you:

    1.Network and make friends – Friend Digg users who post links that match your interests.
    2.Friend Digg users who submit links that match your own interests.
    3.Make yourself stand out by choosing a strong avatar.
    4.Don’t regurgitate other people’s content – doing this can put you in danger of being banned.
    5.Use a good title and description with your submissions– grab the reader’s attention.
    6.Be sure to leave a comment on the articles you Digg.
    7.Just as you share your submissions with friends, be sure to Digg links they share with you.
    8.Don’t spam your keywords – Digg members will see right through this and bury your links.
    9.Try Digging upcoming stories or articles with only a few digs – other Diggers will appreciate this and it helps get you noticed.
    10.Subscribe to Digg’s RSS Feed – this will help you keep tabs on what the Digg community is interested in.

    ps: dont forget to have a look to my blog….

  2. darkwaterhorses says:

    It still amazes me how Craigslist can so popular with a simple (not too scattered), plain, pictureless user interface. It is definitely an application which does not consume too much data (i.e. images, fancy flash banners, multimedia gadgets), labelling it as an application with a lightweight infrastructure. Would also imagine the site didn’t cost alot to startup.

    Does Craiglist generate revenue from the large amount visitors it recieves, if there is a no revenue model put in place, do you think it should and how?

    • xxlesliexx says:

      From what i gathered from wiki, its main source of revenue is paid job ads in select cities – $75 per ad for the San Francisco Bay Area; $25 per ad for New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Orange County (California) and Portland, Oregon – and paid broker apartment listings in New York City ($10 per ad).

  3. I agree with you, as you can see my blog (haha). Craiglist is run lightly and cheaply, only-text content helps it. Less is more, as we learned from the lecture, is perfectly suitable sentence I think. Good writing 🙂

  4. kazbar9 says:

    I just visited Craiglist . Its appearance looks very different from modern web sites. However, I found that it is easy to use and access to as you suggested. Good example as I also think this application fits into the pattern.

    • xxlesliexx says:

      When searching for stuffs online, users like to get access to their stuff in the fastest and easiest way thus Craiglist fulfill this requirements as you can see from its website.

  5. vincentuni says:

    Great post. All the examples you provided are great models of Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability. In particular Craigslist, it is such a simple and focused site that has achieved a lot.

  6. jacktanyj says:

    This is the power of Web 2.0 isn’t it? It allows you to have a Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability application. Credit to Craigslist to create such a wonderful web app that appealing to everyone.

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