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Sellers Choice 2018 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

craigslist

7th Place Finisher - EcommerceBytes 2018 Sellers ChoiceCraigslist came in 7th place in the 2018 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. The online classifieds site has long been considered a free means of selling hard-to-ship inventory or for advertising a storefront, even though it instituted dealer fees in some categories in 2016.

In January 2018, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 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 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.

craigslist - 2018 Sellers Choice Awards

 

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

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Would you recommend:

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

Not much has changed about Craigslist over its life as an online classifieds site, and that consistency is also reflected in its 2018 Sellers Choice rating, placing 7th for the second straight year.  Many of the same advantages and disadvantages still apply to selling on the platform, according to survey respondents. Sellers continue to praise its simplicity and profitability (no fees in most cases), yet also warn of scams and personal safety concerns.

Despite many rivals coming on scene including mobile classifieds apps, Craigslist remains the top-nominated classifieds site for Sellers Choice and continues to prove useful, especially for selling certain types of items. Interestingly, some sellers use it more as an advertising vehicle than a sales venue.

Sellers generally like the hands-off approach from the site operators, although this can prove troublesome when help is needed. As one responded commented, “In the 8 years I have sold on Craigslist I have never received a response from anyone who works at Craigslist. Early on my first account was banned and I was never able to find out why or to fix the situation.”

Lack of customer support can also lead to misuse of the site, such as random reporting of listings. “Competitors can gang up with friends/family/ employees to have your ads taken down even though they do not in fact violate any terms of use. Ridiculous,” wrote one respondent. There are also restrictions on how much you can list in a single day, another seller noted.

There were complaints of “archaic” listing tools and no official mobile app. “In order to Repost, you need to reload photos, since they are not stored. Uploading photos is tedious and time consuming.” The old problem of no-shows (buyers not showing up) was cited again this year.

Craigslist did garner much praise for the fact that it’s basically free to sell on the site. Craigslist does charge business sellers in certain categories, as we have previously reported, though it’s on the honor system. As one seller reported, “Free except certain categories which most people ignore and post as owner when they are a business just to avoid paying. Not policed enough because of that and until they penalize for misuse and fee avoidance, they should not charge for those categories.”

Craigslist received a 5.67 in Profitability; a 3.99 in Customer Service; a 4.04 in Communication; and a 6.29 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.78 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

As a seller, Craigslist is extremely profitable, but you have to be a whole lot more careful with who you’re meeting and selling to.

Even with the often publicized safety risks, inconvenience of having to “meet up” for CL transactions, it is still a useful venue. CL’s simplicity often obviates the “need” for true “customer service” of other platforms (which to me is usually a good thing). Last time I checked there were about 20 CL employees.

I like Craigslist for (1) big items that are too heavy to ship, (2) low cost items that aren’t profitable to sell with the high (and every- increasing) fees on marketplaces, and (3) local-interest items. Low ratings for customer service & communication were given simply because they don’t offer any interaction beyond notifications.

Many positives to Craigslist. First off, it’s free for selling with zero commission. It also has brand recognition. I have sold items in Illinois and Florida, and have had positive responses to resale items listed.

Craigslist I only use for large items that would be too large or heavy to ship. So far when I have come across items like that, I have had no problem finding a buyer. Craigslist is ridiculously easy to list items on, and as long as you are smart with it (meeting in public place) the transaction is no issue either.

Never ever had a problem with Craigslist! It’s the people and trolls that give it a bad name. Always met nice people and made good connections! Highly recommend. Always use it when online sites fail me!

Craigslist is the best venue to sell large items. Local pick up is easy as long as you use caution and meet in a public place. No fees are an added incentive to use Craigslist.

Highly profitable but it’s a different venue with different payment and rules

Easy to post, good features such as maps, replies can be anonymous and can post lots of pictures.

We use craigslist for big, heavy item and have had great success. I’m unsure how it would compare to eBay or Amazon etc for sales, especially since listings only stay up I believe for 7 days before having to repost. So for furniture, treadmill, cars etc. that we can not ship easily we absolutely would use craigslist and we would recommend others do the same.

I advertise items for sale in my group shop space and give store contact information to CL shoppers. Unfortunately there is NO WAY to tell if a shopper came in because of my Craigslist ad. CL has a bad rep for security, and I would never give out home information or invite a potential buyer to my home. The ads are extremely easy to create, they accept lots of photos and there is plenty of room for description. It’s very easy to re-post an expired listing. The only help I ever needed from CS was several annoying emails demanding personal info, which CL put a stop to when I asked. My best use of CL is to boost exposure to the group shop where I sell.

It’s the Wild West…do whatever you like there! Easy to post; returns are low, as everyone lowballs.

Craigslist is good for big items locally. There is zero customer service or support. Never take anything but cash because the scam/con artists are rampant

It is what it is. No CS help or support, but it’s simple enough to use. No one tells us what to do or how to do it and there’s no cost. However, in light of safety issues across the country, we RARELY give our home address, prefer to meet at a public place. And we ALWAYS ask for a phone number to set up meeting arrangements.

The only things that seem to move on CL are technology items and free things. The worst problem is that items expire and you get no notice and when you go to renew them the photos have vanished.

It is easy, and for free, but occasionally a car sale picture moves into my sale and I have to delete the whole thing and start all over. I have not been able to contact anyone to find out how and why it happens, so I just have to watch for it.

Easy to use, free except certain categories which most people ignore and post as owner when they are a business just to avoid paying. Not policed enough because of that and until they penalize for misuse and fee avoidance they should not charge for those categories when so many just pose as owner just to post for free when in actuality they are businesses. It hurts the site I think but I still like to use it and post truthfully.

In the 8 years I have sold on Craigslist I have never received a response from anyone who works at Craigslist. Early on my first account was banned and I was never able to find out why or to fix the situation. Buyers are usually looking for rock bottom prices so not the most profitable place to sell.

Craigslist is a great place to sell stuff locally. It is the electronic / web based version of the old newspaper classified ads and as such it’s effective. The only downside, (and in fairness, it’s not an issue that Craigslist creates or has control over), is that potential buyers often fail to follow through on inquiries and commitments. There are no sales fees.

Craigslist’s website is old school, which I guess is part of its charm, but can be frustrating. The listing tools are archaic and confusing at times. There is no official app (only poorly rated 3rd party apps) which is a huge drawback. There’s also quite a lot of scams going on there and new unaware sellers are likely to be ripped off or worse.

Craigslist is a good advertising spot but not as successful selling items. They also restrict the amount you can list a day and often listings get taken off by them without any real reason or notification.

The main problem with craigslist is not with the site itself but with the people using the site. Buyers say they will show up for an item and then you don’t hear back. It would also be nice if craigslist had an app to search the site instead of having to rely on 3rd party apps that do not work or have limited options.

There’s a lot of weirdos (buyers) that you have to deal with on CL. Lots of no call/no shows for sales. I don’t feel comfortable going to people’s homes or people coming to my home. You’re limited to locals, where online selling is nationwide. Pro, you don’t have to ship and sales are in cash with no risk of chargeback.

Difficult to keep certain ads up if competition wants to mess with you. Ads pulled for no tos violation. Low ball offers and unsolicited callers trying to sell you something, the lonely person reminiscing over the phone just for the chat?

Craigslist is best for mid-to-high priced items that need local pickup. The worst part is the vast amount of spam and scammers that prowl Craigslist, but you build a personal filter to “sense” them, over time.

Craigslist is craigslist. No frills, no service, competition reports you and gets your listings removed. Still it is useful at times, but only for local items. Needs serious upgrades to be considered competition to anyone.

Craigslist can be a bit scary! You get a lot of scam attempts when you post something for sale and that’s kind of creepy. And the support is all done on-site, as in it’s difficult to actually contact someone there, although one time I did have to they did respond in kind and helped me out. I also find things don’t sell on there as quickly or frequently as they used to for me. I don’t know if that’s a location issue or what the deal may be, but that’s my experience.

It’s technically easy to use because you just toss items up and then wait for lowball offers to pour in, and then decide which person you want to stand you up. No real communication from CL because it’s people that contact you, but the email relay is kinda nice. No real customer service because, again, they’re just providing the platform and buyer and seller do the rest. I JUST brought this site back after not using it the previous year, and literally got stood up my first sale, something that has never happened to me on any other site. Not profitable and more a waste of time than anything else.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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