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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 115 - March 21, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 7

Selling Online Locally: Craigslist

By Barbara Shaughnessy

March 21, 2004

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I first heard about Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) about 2.5 years ago as I was beginning a job search. Initially, I was not too impressed with the site. No fancy graphics, the navigation seemed awkward, and all the text was in lower case. I couldn't imagine this was a serious Dot Com that could be used for a job search. Boy was I wrong!

I soon realized this was not a Dot Com at all, but a Dot Org, founded in 1995 by a guy named Craig (not Pierre!). As the story goes, Craig Newmark started Craigslist as a way to communicate with friends about events in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. From this humble beginning, the Craigslist Internet community has grown to 31 U.S. cities (Atlanta to Washington, DC) and four international sites, with more planned. In a December 2002 article, Esquire magazine called Craig Newmark, "The Father of Freebay."

Craigslist is basically online classifieds with plenty of lively (i.e., mature audiences only) discussion groups and posts. It's bare bones, free of annoying pop-up ads, and "of the people, by the people, for the people." And since it's a non-profit, Craigslist is free for all except for employers and recruiters who post job openings. Both PayPal and eBay post job openings on Craigslist.

In my eBay business, I use Craigslist weekly as way to source inventory for resale in my eBay Store. Frequently garage and estate-sale posts include digital pictures, maps and email reply addresses for more information. Many times I have found greats items for sale on Craigslist that were not advertised in the newspaper.

I have also successfully used Craigslist as an alternative to eBay local trading. When my parents moved from Virginia to California, I listed a lot of their items for sale in the "Furniture" category of the Washington, DC, Craigslist. Within minutes of posting, I received emails from interested buyers, many of whom were willing to send PayPal payments to purchase the furniture outright, based on the digital pictures. When Mom and Dad arrived in California, we used Craigslist as a way to get rid of their moving boxes. All it took was a post to the "Free" category, and within 30 minutes, arrangements were made for box pickup.

I have noticed a lot of eBay sellers who advertise their auctions and/or Stores on Craigslist. I really should give this a try, particularly since eBay is currently running an eBay Stores referral credit promotion (http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/referral-credit-steps.html). I have also seen eBay Trading Assistants offering their consignment services. Many posts include PayPal as a payment method. It appears that a lot of experienced eBayers are using Craigslist to promote listings and/or as a local market alternative to eBay.

I'm hoping to get tickets to a Rod Stewart concert this Friday. As of this writing, there are 27 Craigslist posts for this concert and 31 eBay listings. At least for this event, it looks like Craigslist sellers make up almost half of the resale ticket market. I'll be trying to get the best tickets, at the best price. Thanks, Craig!

About the author:

Barb Shaughnessy as been employed as the E-Store Manager by Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties since 01/05. High value donated merchandise is sold on Amazon, eBay, and Half.com. The Goodwill mission is to train, support and challenge individuals to overcome employment barriers and achieve self-sufficiency through work.

The agency eBay userID is: goodwill_industries_of_san_francisco. See www.sfgoodwill.org for more information. Shop.Bid.Donate.Make a Difference.

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