Craigslist.org has a traffic rank of #10 in the US according to Alexa. It's free and easy to use to buy and sell (and rent, trade, advertise & hire....) and has become so popular I've heard it used as a verb (as in "I'm going to craigslist that old bookcase sometime next week"). While hugely popular, especially in Los Angeles/San Francisco/New York/Seattle, its actual traffic and usefulness is mostly tied to your local community for selling. Its humble beginnings as a community service still show through as the business model is focused on covering costs, not generating increasing profits. So you'll see a few fees, but they won't apply if you're just selling your stuff. There is a very "hands-off" approach so you won't have help if you need it (even if you encounter a problem or a software glitch) and this can feel a little chaotic or Wild West for some folks. Did I mention it's free?
- It's really just a big online community bulletin board.
Complexity: Low to Medium
- Easy to post something for sale
- Taking & posting pictures and doing pricing and item research are your choice.
- Not very technically complex, but can take some effort to protect yourself from scams and to deal with buyer troubles.
- No technical help whatsoever
- No feedback system & no consequences for bad buying etiquette can result in no shows, emails left unanswered, people showing up with less money in their wallet than the price of your item, and spam/phishy emails.
- When it works, you receive cash in hand for your item...free of fees.
- Unless you want to sell beyond your community and offer it.
- No shipping necessary
- High traffic in bigger cities.
- Lower traffic in smaller cities
- Buyer "flakiness" often results in wasted time
- Spam, phishing, & scam activity
- Your city may not have one
- Harder to set price based on local economy's sense of value
- May produce a lot of "lowball" offers.
- Retaining all profit
- Selling larger or heavier items, like furniture, locally
- Selling locally in larger cities, college towns or smaller cities with a lot of Craigslist activity.
See how craigslist compares to my other favorite selling methods in the series Introduction. Tomorrow I post on a "virtual yard sale" which can raise your success with craigslist with some geekified effort.
What do you think? Have you used craigslist? What do you think it's best for?