EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 375 - February 08, 2015 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 14

Sellers Choice 2015 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2015, 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 sixth place in the 2015 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. The online classifieds site has never broken into top-five placement, but is clearly a resource for a segment of online sellers.

Many respondents said they use Craigslist to sell large and hard-to-ship items - and to liquidate items not worth listing on another venue. Others say they use it only for personal use or very occasionally, but like the fact it's free to use.

"Craigslist is excellent when selling heavier or larger items that could cost too much to ship," said one seller. "However, since most sales are local sales, you have a reduced customer base and therefore not as many sales as eBay or Amazon."

Naturally sellers like the fact it's free to sell items through the site, and sellers said they appreciate being able to include photos of their item sin lisitngs. However, safety is clearly a big concern among respondents, and many referenced news reports about such issues.

Sellers also say Craigslist buyers are unreliable, inquire about items and don't follow up, and there are many "no-shows". Some said Craigslist buyers are bargain hunters. "Buyers expect to get everything for free," said one respondent. "It's time consuming meeting people, people flake out or want to haggle over a dollar," said another.

As in previous years, sellers bemoaned the fact there's no national exposure - they can't make their listings available to more than one locale, and sellers said the problem of having their listings wrongly flagged remains a problem.

One respondent had an interesting suggestion for Craigslist: "I would say they need to add a comment structure on each item listed so people can comment and talk back and forth."

Craigslist received a 5.7 in Profitability; a 4.08 in Customer Service; a 4.17 in Communication; and a 6.77 in Ease of Use. It received a 6.09 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

I have only sold locally on Craigslist. But it is free to list and no fees for selling. It's great! I just get leery with the bad publicity from the stories about Craigslist.

The volume was great for selling the furniture that needed to be sold.

Free to use, but not as secure and virtually no customer service. But still a great deal, and great to reach younger customers.

We sell large items such as lawn mowers and edgers on Craigslist and have been quite successful doing it. Free to list and no final value fees are a real plus to this website.

I use Craigs List for heavy items primarily. I don't like that I cannot list in 2 cities on the same day, and don't like that the listing expires.

We recently did a massive clean-out and listed a LOT of "stuff" on CL. Within about two weeks we made over $1,000. It was easy to post text and photos. I LOVED people coming over and giving me cash for my" junque". No fees, no worries over returns or chargebacks. One note, though: For safety's sake, I had buyers reply with a phone number which I used to make pick-up arrangements. There were always two of us here and most times we stood outside to make the sale exchange.

I don't know of any way to contact them if there is any kind of problem. The listing process is a little easier than it used to be because it's easier to load the photos now, so that's a nice improvement.

Large household items and vehicles (e.g. cars) for sale and pick-up do well on Craigslist. Listing broad market items (e.g. collectibles) effectively is very hard, and time consuming, since you are not supposed to list in more than geographic area at once. Some areas have VERY short listing times.

Some of the worst buyers out there (read the headlines), but great for flea market and second hand items.

I have never had to contact Craigslist to get help from their customer service department so I left it blank because honestly I don't know. Some of the changes that they've made have reduced the amount of spam that you get. Wish there was a way to do multiple renewals or deletion in the My Account section would be live wish list for Craigslist

Craigslist is great for things you can't or don't want to bother trying to deal with shipping due to size, weight, or fragility. A lot of flakes on Craigslist but it's great for what it is.

I love Craigslist. The locality allows customers to come right to you and pick things up so you do not have to wait for payment or shipping. I wish there were more sites like this

Sellers routinely spammed. Kind of a Wild West venue.

When I experienced a problem listing on the site there was no response from customer service to my emails.

This site is very easy to use with a good layout. The one downfall is the scammers. Sales are not that great for me.

Craigslist is an absolute FIRST choice for items that can only be sold LOCALLY. I do not use it for collectibles or "valuables". Only "garage sale type" items

It is useful if you want to sell a large object that you do not wish to ship and you don't mind having buyers come to your home or are able to meet them somewhere.

Craigslist is just a way for sellers and buyers to meet and it's free. But, you have to deal with a lot of weirdos and it's hard to trust people.

There's no personal touch to CL but you can't beat the "price" since there are no fees involved. I only use CL for items that are either too large or not enough demand for other venues.

I've never had occasion to use Craigslist's customer service, but for local sales it can't be beat.

You have to see people you do not know but if you stay in your immediate area it's pretty safe with inexpensive items. Otherwise I would avoid it with expensive items as a buyer and a seller.

The downside to Craiglist is that there is too much volume and not enough buyers that are specifically looking for what you are selling. The buyers are very unreliable as well. It is also very personal, and that can be a problem if you are in the same city and your privacy to remain anonymous.

People on Craigslist are flaky. They inquire about your items for sale then never respond back. Sellers list items for sale and when you inquire about them, they never respond either. Then you have to make arrangements to meet somewhere. It's a pain.

Only had 1 sale and lots of spam and hate and discontent from lots of folks. They may pull your listing but never give you an answer. Sorry CS.

I have never experienced communication with Craigslist. It's easy to sell things on Craigslist because people look for bargains there.

Only problem is... too many scammers! I get so many worthless calls. I don't even answer the phone if I don't recognize the number! All my ads say, call internet number and leave message, period!

Craigslist is good for large local items.

Craigslist has worked great for me in the past but not as a true retail venue. For selling old store fixtures, company vehicles...cool.

Too easy for people to remove your listing - for no apparent reason. Too much reposting to get to top of list. Buyers expect to get everything for free.

This is a wild and wide open platform, everyone suspects the other side, no telling who will call u and what they will want. They should do a lot more to somehow verify/protect, at the same time, not turn into an eBay or Amazon, i.e. leave the 1-1 interaction. Maybe introduce "verified" or "trusted" users, vs wild-guests :)

Have not used too much just for local big items. They are great for local help and ads. Plan on using them more for small items sales. Great service for the money.

I love no fees!

I have made good sales due to CL but ONLY using it to publicize my items for sale at the group shop store where I sell. I strongly recommend THIS use but would NEVER recommend CL for selling anything out of one's home, I am barraged with emails wanting to "meet up" to see the stuff!!! despite clear instructions in the listings giving store hours to come and view the merchandise (7 days a week, 10-5 so you can't say it's inconvenient!). CL appears to be too big to want to give personal individual help but the online guidance isn't bad, the site is easy to use, you get to show lots of pictures and it's free.

I love Craigslist. It is what it is and lacks all the bells and whistles of other major marketplaces but that is also appealing. My profitability on Craigslist is the best of all of my venues but I have to be aware of fraud buyers. Customer service is not as good or personal as other marketplaces but it is such a simple platform that I never really have questions. I would recommend Craigslist to anyone looking to have a quick turnaround on an item with local exposure.

No fees to pay. Sells locally most of the time. No shipping required.

Difficult to list an item to get exposure since it is specific in geographic location.

I use Craigslist all the time for local sales, but I have no clue if they even have customer service.

Competitors and/or bots often flag your posts as spam and CL deletes them.

I don't really enjoy selling on Craigslist. Too many no-shows when you set up a meeting time.

This site works best for large items, don't have to worry about shipping

Craigslist has no customer service, for the most part. Their system of allowing users to flag ads can be irritating, as some people who are unqualified to judge, can see themselves as wielding power they should not have been granted.

I only sell on Craigslist when I have large items such as furniture or appliances that I need to sell. I do not use them for selling smaller items.

Have sold minimally on site, but when listing something, very easy to navigate, very easy to list, and very profitable.

Too many unsavory people up to no good frequent this site looking for victims. I would only recommend selling on this site if you're in a hurry to make a sale and the item is NOT expensive. CL has proven to be dangerous to sell certain items on the site. Security should always be a primary concern for sellers and buyers.

Craigslist is the option I prefer for large items that I don't wish to ship. This year sales have been much slower than in years past.

Craigslist offers ZERO customer support. They don't know how to click the reply button when you contact them to ask a question. All questions go unanswered.

A lot of sales generated from Craigslist.

It is free and is easily searchable for buyers.

Craigslist doesn't really seem to offer much in terms of customer service, but I guess it's rarely needed.

I've wasted a lot of time that I can't take back listing stuff on Craigslist. Not only did I waste time listing, but I wasted time communicating with the load of scammers this site attracts. Good thing it's free otherwise I would've been suing. I did manage to sell a car model recently which the customer bargained so low that I barely had any profit from.

People do not purchase items on Craigslist unless they can purchase them at yard sale prices, so profit is practically 0%. I have never been able to contact the site for customer service; it doesn't seem to exist and, if it does, they don't make it easily accessible.

Craigslist is fast moving no worries about shipping fees, it would be nice if there was a way people could pay for the merchandise on the website then pick it up or pay upon pickup on the website.

I live too far away from a big city to have much luck selling on Craigslist, no one wants to come to where I am to pick it up and it's too far for me to drive for no-shows.

No support, no answers at all if you run into a snag. Craigslist police are a bunch of elite snobs that have no clue!

It's hard to get hold of anyone in customer service. They allow anyone to flag your ad for no reason.

Their model unnecessarily restricts sellers from offering products across multiple markets, even regionally. They have an absolutely draconian system of removing listings without any cause needed to be proven. The system encourages the most negative and time-wasting interaction between competitors - that of aggressively flagging listings to remove competition. New users offering products or services in competitive categories have to spend an incredible amount of time protecting their listings from those who use offshore and automated services to abuse Craigslist's weaknesses and get listings removed.

I'm not a fan of Craigslist. Terrible customer service. Was harassed and flagged so many different times, for selling toys or something as simple as downsizing my home furniture. I wasn't even on craigslist for a profit. I don't get craigslist, anymore? I used to make a few bucks here and there on craigslist when it first started. Now, it's only a place that I go to when I need to get rid of my JUNK and garbage that I don't need anymore for free ads. I could never make any money off craigslist. Listing items takes too long, constantly flagged or harassed by people for no reason. Customer service might as well be robots, because I never get any straight REAL responses other than an automated response. At least my junk gets a re-purpose in life.

Craigslist is a nice place to sell larger items. I'm not a big fan of having to meet up with people to complete transactions. Can make it time consuming especially when buyers don't show up.

Pro: No selling or shipping fees. As a seller, you're sort of on your own. Buyers tend to make low-ball offers, but there are no fees, so this is offset somewhat.

We have sold 2 of the 3 items that we listed on Craigslist. We haven't had to contact Craigslist about any issues. It seems to be a great venue for selling large items that are not easily transportable.

Great for local sales of used items. Mainly used for linking to websites etc. for new items.

So many people scam the seller during a bogus sale. Plus, in the Seattle area, the listings are only good for a week, as opposed to a month elsewhere. Spend too much time relisting. Their software needs MUCH improvement!!!!!!!!!!!

CraigsList is hit or miss with sales and I always get "your posting too fast" which is a pain. I've never contacted CL so I can't rate them either way on customer service. Too many scam contacts from CL which is also a pain and sometimes not worth the effort.

Craigslist is the Walmart of online selling: cheap, fast and disappointing.

CL is "neutral" to involvement w/ sellers, but they are completely UNhelpful if any listing is flagged. Customer contact is fraught w/ difficulty and peril.

Craigslist is a bit of a pain. And, the layout/design/user interface is greatly outdated. Also, sometimes you see 8 listings, same picture, for the same thing. There is also a tremendous amount of scams in there.

Easy to use. Good response from customers. However, so many scammers. No shipping connections or payment options. Customers must come to you. Easy to upload pics.

Good success selling cars on craigslist, but not other items. Rampant scams directed at Craigslist sellers, including me. I only recommend selling on this site items that are too large to successfully ship.

Easy to list, but many items do not fit well into stated categories. Handmade does not sell very well. People are looking for yard sale prices usually. Other items that one is trying to get rid of but which are new or like new sell pretty well. Get a lot of scammer replies, sadly.

Craigslist is FREE so the profit is greatest. It is a do it yourself venue and it needs caution and understanding how it works, you have to understand the potential scams and you have to use a lot of common sense and caution when meeting and dealing face to face. To be honest I believe it is safer than eBay as far as scams now.

It is not great for profit here in rural Iowa. Small audience means my stuff doesn't move. Depends on the item. If it is large and hard to ship I would recommend it.

Buyers want stuff cheap but do sell some items that can't be sold on other sites due to shipping issues.

Love this site! Easy to list. I have a 95% turn around with my items on this site! You just have to use some common sense when dealing with some of the low-lifes that contact you.

Craigslist used to be great. Now, it's a waste of time. Most emails I get in reply to something listed, are not genuine. Tons of scammers on Craigslist!

No fees involved on Craigslist but very limited options to enhance the selling experience. No PayPal, shopping cart, Inserts etc. Listings "age" and fall off in a short time.

The only drawback with Craigslist that I have experienced is that other users can flag your listing for removal, and Craigslist does not give you a reason why (was it because the item was in the wrong category? Or did you violate one of their rules?) and they don't even send you an email to inform you that it was removed.

Not as good as it used to be - more customers tell me they never look at CL anymore - so big items get listing on multiple sites. Seems they shot themselves in the foot about the same time eBay did. They should have stayed away from following in eBay's footsteps.

As a seller and buyer, you have to use trial and error to figure out how to use everything. But once you get it, you get it. Then it just becomes annoying depending on what you are trying to dol.

My only complaint with Craigslist is never knowing why an ad as been flagged and removed. Can never get an answer other than in the forums and those are mostly not helpful at all. I love that they have added more space for photos and the many recent improvements to the listing page.

Craigslist is great for local selling and awesome for renting. Who doesn't love the fact that they keep it free? But small items don't sell well for me. I also wish they had a section for nationwide selling or selling through the mail. Some strangers are very scary these days.

In my area (Seattle/Tacoma), Craigslist only runs listings for 7 days. I am constantly having to repost and then start over every 30 days. They can only "type" listings three at a time. It takes me approximately 3 hours to relist 40 items! Their software is woefully INADEQUATE! Craigslist is an extremely frustrating site.

Features definitely need to be added. We need to be able to DELETE one of a kind items when they sell. Plus if you try and do several items the system says to try later because you are going too fast. That discourages users from adding more products.

Upside: Little intervention from Craigslist and good local visibility. Downside: Overall, low and/or limited visibility outside of the local area.

The listing process is better than it used to be, however there are a lot of trolls and scammers still that respond to your listings. Listings get buried often in just 2 hours. Takes a long time to sell.

Easy to put on a listing. No seller fees. Things are more personal, you have to meet the person to exchange item and money, however I appreciate the free section to be on the receiving end.

Easy to use, privacy is actually well protected, keeps things local. I wish that when you repost ads, all of your images didn't disappear.

Craigslist is so limited in what you can do as a seller on there but still has been an extremely effective way of selling high dollar items for us time and again. We have sold several expensive cars on Craigslist that never received the least bit of attention on eBay (that charged us plenty for it, i.e. nothing).

Other than some annoying glitches with emails that came up a couple times this year it's probably my favorite way to sell. Straightforward, no fees, and very little hassle.

I used Craigslist to direct customers to my booth in a local antique mall. Although a few of the customers turned into buyers, most of the "customers" were looking for something for nothing and wasted my time with extremely low offers. They were also rude and insulting feeling free to make negative comments about the merchandise. However for the time and expense invested, I would probably use Craigslist again for the same purpose.

Craigslist definitely has its place in my local selling venues. It's a great resource, although more to advertise my local outlets than to sell individual items.

Have only sold items that are large/bulky and used. However, I've had very good experiences with that and I'm strongly considering trying craigslist for smaller/new items to see if that would work. Have not had any seller communications or need for support.

For local pickup items it is an option, just hate all the scamming people try to pull when you try to sell an item on Craigslist. Prefer to sell on Facebook local area sites and Facebook auction sites. At least they are local people that get banned if they try to pull anything.

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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