EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 387 - February 14, 2016 - ISSN 1528-6703     11 of 12

Sellers Choice 2016 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2016, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 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 12 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:
Craigslist came in ninth place in the 2016 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. The online classifieds site has never broken into top-five placement, but as we've previously noted, it is clearly a useful resource for selling certain types of goods.

Sellers use Craigslist to sell large and/or fragile items that are difficult to ship. There were many, many caveats about the need to be careful due to bad characters. "Craigslist is actually a good selling site for selling large items locally. I haven't listed many items on Craigslist though because you either have to meet buyers somewhere or have them come to your home which I am not comfortable with."

But some sellers were okay with selling items that could be shipped, and wished they could advertise beyond their local area. "Too bad that it is geared to specific locations," wrote one sellers. "Only problem is I only know how to list in my area. Would like to list in other areas at the same time," said another.

People complained again this year about hagglers - or as one seller called them, "lowballers."

Some of Craigslist's drawbacks as a selling venue remain - as one seller wrote, "There's no way to verify who you are communicating with, no easy online way to pay for items, no easy way to list multiple similar items without getting blocked...lots of spam."

That problem of unwanted solicitations was mentioned frequently. Sellers also said they get no communication or assistance from the company - but, some sellers put a positive spin on that: "Craigslist is very passive. They are virtually unavailable for any practical or meaningful support. Conversely, they do NOT hassle sellers at all. Do your own thing - fine."

Another challenge: getting listings flagged - some sellers said they weren't sure why, others said they get flagged by their competitors.

Interestingly sellers said they have used Craigslist to help in their business in addition to using it to sell items, though that doesn't always work - one seller explained what happened when they posted a help wanted listing. "I was looking for a simple contractor for a few months to help me with my eBay business. I only ask for a few prerequisites, such as have eBay experience, bring your own laptop and have kid toy knowledge. My ad got flagged 10 times. Additionally, I was threatened, and given lectures. Don't know why."

Craigslist received a 5.52 in Profitability; a 3.24 in Customer Service; a 3.34 in Communication; and a 6.45 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.85 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend Craigslist as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Craigslist has been a great way for local folks to find my gift shop as I put up close to 100 items from here. When they sell, I'll add more. I have had requests to ship some of the items and I have for the smaller, less breakable items. It is a well-known site and free!

Having sold a few items on Craigslist, I find it a good venue to reach people, but the organization needs to work harder in its communication skills.

Craigslist is becoming a real "sleeper" for me... particularly now, with the advantage of local sales not having to deal with (recent) increased shipping $$.

Craigslist is guaranteed to move items in your local area, especially high ticket items. It does have an audience and you cannot beat the cost which is $0

Use it occasionally and probably will in the future for items too large to mail. Although it is fairly easy to use, the lack of personal security during delivery or pick up is always an issue.

Craigslist is great for large items that are too expensive to ship, as long as you know how to weed out the scammers.

My sells are great on Craigslist. Although sometimes I ship things to people. It's setup by locations where you don't have to ship. People like that in a site.

Craigslist is an easy way to sell things quickly. It gets the job done.

Craigslist is a wonderful venue to sell houses, campers, and vehicles. Meanwhile I had no luck selling antiques, vintage items or collectibles there. In fact the only response was spammers in Mexico wanting me to send them items for free, promising to sell them for me. Craigslist is a mixed bag. For big items - YES.

This is a great place to sell heavier or bigger items that is more feasible for your own living area. Being able to list for free is a great incentive. Just need to be careful about having people come to your house (which is necessary for some things) but also easy enough to meet people at a public place.

Good for particular items, such as heavy, hard to ship etc. only. Great for vehicles.

I only sell large unshippable items on Craigslist. I have been successful in selling everything I list, but I have not really had any communication from Craigslist other than emails regarding postings.

Great to use for selling large items. Never been contacted by customer service. Still leery of face-to-face meetings

Craigslist is good for items you cannot ship

I have had great success on Craigslist as a seller for large items. I used other sites for smaller things, but it's great for furniture, etc.

Craigslist is easy once I was using it for awhile. There is no one to assist but it's free. Free, free, free, free. So I don't expect a lot for free. I have made several successful sales and purchases on Craigslist.

Craigslist is great for dealing locally (aside from the constant lowballers). Listing and relisting is really fast and easy.

Craigslist is the best for some items for sure. No fees, no shipping (although I have actually shipped several items by request). No worries using CL.

Super easy to use and profitable. No real need for customer service.

I sell a lot on Craigslist. But it's barebones. That's ok with me, I don't need communication from the head office to be successful there.

Best thing: no fees! Best/Great for local buyers. No problems that they are responsible for. Never needed their support.

I use Craigslist for inexpensive items - bit like garage sale stuff. But it works much better than a 2 day garage sale. You get better prices.

I love Craigslist. I sell furniture and other items on their and I can't get enough. The only down fall to craigslist is the amount of flakes. People who call and then don't call back as they say or do not show up when they are supposed to. But this is not craigslist's fault. Just rude inconsiderate people.

Wonderfully FREE, even in this day and age. Easy to use. However, still spiked with way too many charlatans!! Biggest peeve: cannot post same item to multiple locations... grrr!

It's free and there has never been a problem that I needed to talk to support about.

I would certainly urge people to use Craigslist but only if extreme caution is used. It is my most profitable place to list for large items for local sale only. This is a "do it yourself" site with absolutely no customer support. Communication is non existant and trying to get answers on the forum is a joke, usually meet with snide replies and useless advice. The posts are hard to follow in the existing format. IT IS FREE so I overlook the downside.

Have used several times this year for large items I didn't want to ship. All sold within the first week of listing.

No need to act with support as the venue is straightforward. No fees are great.

I wish Craigslist had an app like letgo and had ways to narrow searches to smaller geographical areas

Craigslist is easy to use but is only good for items around $30 or more. You need to be cautious about selling and I generally meet buyer in a busy shopping area.

Use caution when listing here as you can be the victim of email scams. Selling results are steller though.

I have not used Craigslist professionally but as an individual it connects you to a large number of potential buyers. There is a lot of work to finalize the sale and convert interest into purchase. For that reason I rate it very poorly for profitability.

Simple easy but without html ads is difficult to show. Also I find arbitrary their policy enforcement.

I put lack of customer service, but I like that better on there as you can set all of your terms. Only area I wish is it was easier to report fraudulent posts or spam emailers.

I loved Craigslist when I lived in NY but now I live near Albany, NY and my listings don't sell as well and people never show. Nearly 90% of listings used to sell. Not sure why this is.

I use Craigslist occasionally to sell a larger item that is not worth the shipping it would cost. It's inconvenient as people are rude and do not show when they say they will. I do not use as a mail order shipping venue.

The only problem is that listings have to be relisted every 7 days and then redone every 30 days. Would like them to last longer. It's a lot of work redoing them every 30 days. Craigslist is great for the individual seller, there are no fees but there is little security and is more of a one on one sale.

We do very well with the things we list. The only contact with them is if we inadvertently do something wrong. We never know why and their forum is really awful.

Needs options for relisting without uploading all the photos again.

Free of course. So great for that, good for selling locally but way too many scammers and spammers, other trolls.

Very poor experience selling on Craigslist. Aside from obvious security concerns from bogus Buyer's trying to visit my home at midnight, I was bombarded by bogus Get Rich Quick Schemes and other dodgy solicitations as soon as my item appeared for sale on Craig's List. Yet I was prohibited from offering a neutral address at a friend's consignment store for the Buyer to view and pay for the item. Meeting at the police station to conclude a small sale really sucks.

Know many bad experiences selling here, many fraud buyers, awful people just looking for opportunities to steal from others.

Didn't find it user friendly. Has its uses for items too big to ship. Local buyers can pick up. A bit like putting it in the paper.

Lack of security, loads of spam.

Craigslist is only a good platform for me if I am selling a very large/heavy/bulky item. I don't feel that there is any protection for sellers, and their customer service is virtually nonexistent.

Craigslist used to be awesome. I used to sell a lot of stuff there. Now whenever I post a listing, all I receive are fake /scam messages that's probably why a lot of buyer don't use Craigslist anymore.

Craigslist is easy to use, but if you have a problem or a question, you won't get any answers from them. Best you can do is guess what's wrong and keep trying to fix what may not even be the problem. Ehh.

Craigslist just isn't what it used to be. There are too many sellers who will intentionally flag your listings as fraudulent, illegal, or against the terms of Craigslist solely because they are offering the same products as you and you are asking a lower price for the same items. They dishonestly get your legitimate listings removed to eliminate the competition and Craigslist's customer service is a joke. They do not check these claims for validity, the instant someone flags your items they are deleted from the site without question and Craigslist sends a canned automated response when you email them that has nothing to do with your concerns. The owners will not help you or respond to your inquiries.

They do not treat sellers very well. More like a social outcast. They instead, are good for just getting rid of something you no longer need. People trying to make a living or profit there are treated like dirt!

you get spammed, there people write and never show up, once in awhile something sells but we live in a small town might work better for people in larger cities.

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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