EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 304 - February 05, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     14 of 18

Sellers Choice 2012 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2012, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 7,200 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 16 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

craigslist
Year Established: 1996
Description: Online classifieds; general merchandise, real estate, help wanted
More Info

Summary:
While Craigslist dropped by one to twelfth place in 2012, it actually improved its overall rating from 5.3 in 2011 to 5.6 this year. Sellers like it because it's free, and many cited using the online classifieds site as a promotional vehicle. Nearly 50% of survey respondents said they had used Craiglist to sell items. Several said they did not like the personal ads, and many sellers complained about a lack of customer service.

Craigslist is good for selling large, hard-to-ship items locally, according to many respondents - one said he uses the site to drive walk-in traffic to his antique shop. "I run constant ads and when someone drops in to pick up an item I they will usually wind up shopping and it is unusual for them to leave without doubling or tripling their original purchase. Craigslist builds my customer base, it helps people find me and I usually have repeat visits and repeat sales."

A number of sellers noted the importance of being cautious in dealing with strangers in person and advised not list phone numbers, addresses or real email addresses. Wrote one, "Craigslist is a lot like sex. It's free, it's easy, and it's dangerous if you aren't careful." He added, "I use it more as an advertising venue than as a selling venue (although I've sold plenty of stuff there). If you are careful and cover your butt, Craigslist is a real asset to your online business, not as a selling venue but as a promotional venue."

Another seller suggested that his colleagues go to the Craigslist "Free" section to get stuff, and sell it on eBay. Many complaints about the quality of buyers and about having listings flagged and removed inappropriately.

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:
It is FREE - great PRO - I thank them for creating it and allowing people to post free - Con: they should not have a section to post personal ads (looking for friends, lovers, etc.) . Let those who are interested pay for this service. Craigslist will be spared a lot of headaches this way.
***
Great idea for selling (especially large items) locally with no fees. I recommend all the time. Simple to set up an account and to list and edit. You have to be careful though about people coming to your place, if the item is small enough to meet somewhere that would be best, but not always an option.
***
It's pretty good - self driven, not a lot of service...which works for items that pretty much sell themselves. I would not use it for fine collectibles, antiques, art. It's the wrong venue.
***
For vintage items, supplies and things for your home it is great.
***
I have always had success with the sale of items I have listed on Craiglist. I primarily list big things there that I will not ship for my local buyer market. I do not like the reputation that Craiglist has attached to it since there are so many scammers and nefarious people who use it.
***
Craigslist is very good for the few Items that I have sold or services that I have offered. You have to be cautious about some of the people that contact you. Some are very shady. But Craigslist overall is great.
***
Craigslist interaction with me as a seller is almost non-existent. On the other hand, it's free, it's a great place to sell things that are too large to ship economically, and if you can overlook the spate of scam emails that flock to every new listing, it's one of the best venues going.
***
Craigslist has high visibility, have been able to offload nearly everything I have listed there. However, I also know my items are being seen by locals, and there is the lack of shipping charges to consider. This makes it high traffic. I do not really have much communication with Craigslist as a seller, have really had no issues to deal with. Relatively easy to use if you have some internet savvy. Re. recommending... well. This method does carry more risks than most BECAUSE most of the transactions are local. Care must be taken. One only has to read the news to find articles of Craigslist transactions gone horribly wrong.
***
I love Craigslist, as I have No fee's.... No packing time, and get to see who I am selling the item to.
***
I've sold everything I've ever put up on Craigslist at zero cost to me, so profitability is high. It's great for selling larger, hard to ship items to local customers who pick up the merchandise themselves.
***
Garage sale items, good place for local sales. Too confined for selling to say the entire U.S. They want listing only in one area. If selling and you want ww exposure, you need a better venue. It is great for selling something fast in your local area. Listings expire in 45 days.
***
Craig's list is a decent venue to list and sell to local buyers. The customer service is non existent at best. You take a big personal risk if you list items to be picked up at your home or business.
***
Lots of scammers, but easy to use.
***
Love to sell here, but, I don't like how fast they delete out your listings and don't give any notice one is about to be deleted out and then you have to redo the whole listing from scratch again. They need to work on the site it has some issues for sure, but selling there can be very good.
***
Buyers want items for close to free. Not willing to pay true value of item. Only good for items too hard to ship. Most of the time more trouble than it is worth to sell.
***
Used them to try and sell a couple things and had no luck. I tried selling a mink coat and they deleted the post without explaining why. I got no answers to my emails to them.
***
Sometimes good and sometimes not. Categories very limited. Not well policed - spam artists flag down posts and then solicit their sites and craigslist.com do nothing about it. Not many features. Hyperlocal restrictions make life difficult. Monolithic faceless administration. Not a friendly site to use. Sometimes brings results, but not always. The price is good!
***
Although it's sometimes frustrating when Craig's List occasionally deems that you're trying to post a duplicate posting when you're clearly not, listing items is fairly quick and simple. If you're someone like me who re-posts the same items continually, re-posting is very convenient and lightning fast.
***
CraigsList is great for some things and terrible for others. As long as a seller knows this, it's OK. If you have items you really want to get rid of, and don't mind practically giving them away, then Craigslist is a great platform - especially for larger items that need to be picked up locally. Otherwise, forget about it....Most of the buyers on Craigslist want everything for FREE. Not the fault of the site, just what it seems to attract.
***
I have had items taken off the site, with no clear explanation as to why and who did that. I feel like if somebody doesn't like your ad, can block it with no explanation. Also, I received a lot of junk emails as result of posting on craigslist. I have had some good results in the past, but recently I think the people looking to buy on craigslist and just trying to cheat you or use intimidation factors as to make you lower your price. Must be the young generation starting to get on there. Not sure if it has to do with the craigslist reputation, or the deterioration of people's manners in general.
***
Buyers on craigslist always want a bargain. And, they are always trying to talk you down on the price. Even though it is free, it is really not worth the effort.
***
Free can't be beat, but they make it difficult to insert pictures and make a professional ad unless a posting services is used. Downside is ads get buried quickly when browsing though they have help that issue by letting the seller "refresh" their ads every 48hrs to get back to the top of the page iwthout having to delete and re-post the ad
***
Needs more sorting ability for categories. Allows items to be sold that other sites restrict (good news and bad news). No centralized seller view of all items offered or reminders to relist when listing expires. I prefer sites that allow me safety of written interaction only. Don't want to risk in person meetings to sell items. Don't trust other sellers not to be selling illegal items, so I don't buy with it at all. Used to fence stuff.
***
The way Craigslist is set up, a seller has to constantly relist in order for their items to stay on top of the list.
***
I've sold lots on CraigsList, and my overall experience has not been amazing. Sure, you can reach a ton of local people, but the time wasted on all of the "is it still for sale'" and "I'll give you $10" people makes it just about not worth it sometimes. On top of that, the txt verification process did not work with either of my phones, so I had to have it sent to my friend across town. WTF?
***
The photos are very slow to upload or do not upload at all even if a small size. I love that it is a free site, and I love that they privatize your email address so I can weed out the scammers. I ranked the profitability a "5" simply b/c of the people you deal with are unreliable...in no way a fault of craigslist.
***
It is not as easy to use, you list and your listing goes down on the list every day and after about a week it isn't found. It is impossible to remove an item. It also mostly hits local areas. It has been a bit profitable for large items such as bicycles and fur traps and motorcyles and for renting homes.
***
Simply dangerous ! I got 2 bad check payments and a scam money order scheme, which was reported to the police ! Spam mail galore ! Will not have anything further to do with Craigslist !
***
I wish they would not limit to local area only. Reposting every three days is a pain. You should be able to refute is someone flags you. I also would like to see a wanted Information section.
***
I have sold a little at Craigs List - not enough to say it's so profitable. They take care of problems without communicating with you. They are extremely easy to use. They lose 2 points because there are tons of issues with trolls, including trolls getting into your account (which is corrected if you let them know - although they communicate back about it). I would highly recommend Craigslist for selling with express admonitions to be aware of trolls, possibly dangerous people answering ads, and to be aware of possible illegal activity on the site. I would not recommend it to anyone under 18.

Sellers Choice Awards
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


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