EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 399 - February 12, 2017 - ISSN 1528-6703     9 of 12

Sellers Choice 2017 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2017, 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.


Customer Service:


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Would you recommend:

Year Established: 1996
Description: Online classifieds; general merchandise, real estate, help wanted
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Craigslist came in seventh place in the 2017 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces, up from ninth place in 2016.

Craigslist underwent a big change in 2016 - it began charging sellers fees if they listed in certain categories as a "dealer," as we reported in the November 30th issue of EcommerceBytes 411. But for many respondents who said they use the site occasionally - to sell large items, for example - it seemed to be business as usual. In fact, not many respondents even mentioned the new fees.

Craigslist had made no announcement of the change at the time, and we were one of the first and only publications to report the new fees.

The same problems sellers have previously reported were mentioned: scammers; lots of would-be hagglers and low-ball offers; sabotage by other users; abysmal customer support. "Craigslist needs to make more easier to post in different areas and allow sellers more listings daily," said one seller.

On the other hand, the same advantages were named: ease-of-use; no cost; exposure to local audience.

And while sellers said the site is very easy to use, they also said it's difficult to relist items or edit in bulk. "They make you relist like almost every day on some items and even end your items with out telling they are about to expire from the site," said one seller. "It annoys me how many times I have to go relist and install my pics once they let it go out before it expires."

Typical responses:

"It's free and easy to use. On the downside, too many scammers get in touch with you and photos aren't retained when you try to repost an older item."

"Sales can be great or non existent, depending on what you are trying to sell and the area that you live. Never used customer service on CL. Good venue for certain products."

Some use Craigslist to advertise brick-and-mortar stores or other services. "We advertise our tv shop on Craigslist and it brings in a few jobs each month with no cost to us," said one respondent.

Craigslist received a 5.57 in Profitability; a 3.7 in Customer Service; a 3.73 in Communication; and a 6.29 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.79 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 love Craigslist. It lets me deal locally, and it's really fast and easy to create and manage listings.

I only use Craigslist for items that can be sold locally and are too large or heavy to sell on the other sites. I've had a 95% - 99% success rate when I do.

Almost every time I post on CL the items sells. Sometimes it may take longer but usually the items moves. iPad version can be quirky.

We have listed items on there for years and have not had problems selling any of the items that we have had listed on there. Awesome site for those who enjoy selling locally.

Like that there are no fees, no micro managing of your business. Easy to use. There is no customer service to speak of.

Craigslist is easy to use. You do have to renew listings every week. I've sold a cabinet in my antique mall space that was listed on Craigslist. You do get some wacky questions sometimes.

I mainly have used Craigslist for large items that are too big to easily ship. Aside from the typical low-baller or buyer that wants you to meet them halfway while low-balling you, I have not had any problems with Craigslist. It is very simple to use and as long as you are smart with it, can be a very effective and profitable place to sell.

No shipping or listing fees is a no brainer for profitability. Easy to list items. 24 free photos A no frills no fee site, good for selling large items locally.

I do recommend Craigslist to people but tell them to be careful and to meet up at public places. It can be dangerous. I have however had good experience with them and sold several things on Craigslist. It is not a place for everything though and some things just don't even get a nibble.

There are no fees and everyone is local so it can be very profitable depending on what you sell.

I like craigslist, as you do not have to worry about fees and you are able to sell most of the things that you list on there. Easy place to list items locally and do business.

I see limited opportunity for me to use them on a daily basis. But do use them for larger items with local pick up, Dealing only in cash from local buyers. They certainly have their place in my sales program.

It's very easy to use, and I use it to send potential buyers to my rented space in an antique group shop. I haven't used Customer Service enough to rate them, have not needed them but the few times I had a problem they were right there. The most annoying thing about CL is users who demand to come to my home, want my real email, etc. I would NEVER use it if I had to have them come to my home. It has a bad rep that way in our locale.

For specific items, sold locally, can be handy and virtually fee-free. Some risk and a "creepiness factor" associated with sales. Too much hassle to sell low-value items. Buyers do not want to deal with mail-order on Craigslist. Craigslist restrictions make it difficult to sell are/region/state/inter-state wide.

Limited but successful use for certain large vintage items.

Craigslist is a good source to sell products. However the inconvenience is that you have to keep updating your listing all the time in order to be in the first pages.

Craigslist is great for reaching local buyers who pay cash. There is generally more profit in these sales as there is no middle man taking money. The downside is no-shows and basically non-existent customer service if you have a problem with your listings.

It stays the same with very few to no changes. User friendly. It's more convoluted with a lot of stuff under limited categories. There are not enough search values as other sites to filter what people are looking for but for a seller the ease of use and zero commission is really nice. This is the best site for selling used items.

It is unorganized and hard to find things. I experienced a scam (which I did not fall for) but was still disheartened by it. It's OK if you are careful of how you ship or have items picked up but have to be aware of strangers.

Only issue is it is cash only and in person sales. Not comfortable with strangers appearing at my home for large items too big to move myself.

Craigslist is O.K. for selling in your area. However, people must come to your house. So that is a big security risk. I find it takes a long time to sell items on Craigslist...especially higher priced items. The advantage is when it's too heavy to ship by mail, the buyer can then just pick up the product.

They're free but you get what you pay for - good for resale of things other than our items - not the best for antiques and collectibles. Great for used baby and kid stuff - depends what you sell.

This is a true "do it yourself" site that requires a lot of common sense. Absolutely no customer service and if you go on the questions board all you will get is snarky answers so stay away from that. I use it for large items that I sell locally and have excellent results. Again use common sense, take cash only, I will only recommend this site but urge strong cautions.

I live in small town btw larger towns, which makes it hard to decide which town to list under. also, am afraid so I only list where I can meet someone at McDonalds, not at my house.

Most everything I list there sells eventually, but it can take a long time. Like the renew feature. Would like them to eliminate the time out to renew and relist. The site shows as unsecured without the https. Categories are odd and could be improved.

Craigslist is great, depending on the item being sold. Drawback to Craigslist is that for larger items, there is a risk of being scammed. I've bought and sold on Craigslist, and always had a good experience.

Listing ease has improved over the yrs. Big negative is the awful people you have to deal with who scam and send you nasty emails and the immoral categories it allows. The hassle with people is not always worth it compared to a more structured site but selling locally with no shipping charges is sometimes the best option.

The method by which to speak to someone for help is poor and lengthy. They allow others to remove listings without merit. They now charge for employment, dealer ads etc..

Very easy to use, but there is no customer service at all. This often means that if there's a problem there is literally no way to resolve it other than to just not post the item at all. No way that I know of to communicate with the site itself. Abuse of competitors is common with unethical sellers, and they absolutely get away with it, which encourages more. Scammers abound. One must be ready to fend for oneself in every possible way.

Craigslist ghost my listings from time to time. and that is a fact! if they would not do so - it would be one of the best platform to sell.

We have sold on here in the past and have sold hardly anything. So many people post to it that as soon as you post your listing is bumped to the bottom and are no longer a new listing-so many people use it. You have to hope someone is on at the right time or search your item in order to find it. It's bad for selling antiques and high end items. People always want cheap stuff or deals and are confused when you say you are a store.

Sold large items that we couldn't ship but pick up at the actual shop. Unfortunately there were too many false buyers and scams. We do not use craigs list for fear of telemarketers and scams.Not good experience.

The web is not secure, is a lot of scams, is not customer service, and sometimes you sell something, sometimes nobody see you.

I don't know if they have any customer service but I especially like Craigs List for items that are just too large/heavy to ship. We live in a rural area so sometimes it is difficult to get people to come for large items, but if it is "portable" enough I can meet with people in town. Since there are no fees you can just keep relisting items until they sell. And they allow a LOT of photos which is great. It is always good to have someone around when people come to the house to see something.

When Craigslist took emails in-house the site was no longer viable for me. I still list big items but it is rare for a buyer to actually show up. The scammers have taken over this site.

Have never needed to contact customer service. Craigslist's emails are not as "pretty" or concise as they could be - lots of exclamation points and ### ***... but they get the job done. It is quite easy to list on Craigslist but I hate searching through that long list to find my geographic region. I would recommend selling on Craigslist to anyone (already have recommended) however I would include a caveat for safety. Always meet in a public place etc.

Don't really use this site as much for selling items as I do for advertising yard sales

I like Craigslist to sell some items or to post a rental. Some items just don't sell on Craigslist. There is no demand for them.

I hate the fact that items only stay up for a few days and it is a BIG pain to put items back over and over and over.

Craigslist is full of spam. After posting an ad you are going to be spammed either through the computer or calls you receive.

Craigslist is good only for getting rid of things you no longer want at a minimum, sometimes zero, profit. Things sit there for months and months without selling and then when someone contacts you, they want to haggle to the lowest price, ever!

The one major downfall is there is no way to renew your items in Bulk at one time. You have to click on renew for every single item, one by one and this takes a lot of time. Also there is a Prohibited option on each items page and that means anyone can click it repeatedly even if your item is in the guidelines with the craigslist site and a lot of times people just click it and it takes away your item up for sale so you have to completely redo your add all over again just because some idiot out there thinks it's funny or they just like being mean.

Craigslist sales have all but stopped for us. I think it's oversaturated and the buyers that remain are looking for absolute bargains.

Their ("you do our work for us for free") flagging system ismore of a problem than a help. Craigslist need a complete redo if sellers need to log in or prove who they are by phone # verification so should buyers.

No search feature - everything in chronological order so items get pushed down and can only be re-listed after time.

I have been on the system since it started and go with the flow. Not an easy sell but I do sell items. I especially like dealing in person with buyers. My biggest hate for it is the spoof responses that still exist by scammers and looking to take ones money and goods by deceit. This keeps newbies away big time

There is no customer service on Craigslist. Sellers should only accept cash on Craigslist because it is ripe with scams. I find that there isn't as much traffic as in years past and that may be do to bad publicity with robberies and murders.

Very dangerous if selling electronics or high end stuff. Because of limited reach I'm not able to sell a lot of stuff that I could easily sell on eBay. For example I was trying to sell a $200 Encyclopedia set for $50 on Craigslist but no one responded. I listed it on eBay for about $200 and it was gone in a week.

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 and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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