Can you make money on Craigslist

Fraud alert

When I first was asked this question, I didn’t even know what Craigslist is. I’d never heard of it before, nor was I certainly aware of many facets to this online business and of the different and contrasting opinions people working from home have about it.

So, I started digging to find out more. And the more I dag, the more questions kept flooding in my head: how can I make money on Craigslist? or, what are the best ways to make money on Craigslist? Now I’ve learned a little more about it, let me tell you about it, and whether making money on Craigslist is feasible.


What is Craigslist

I shall start by following the same learning curve I approached. Because as mentioned, till a short while ago I didn’t even know there was such thing called Craigslist.

Craigslist offices
Craigslist is deemed to be run by a small team of 28 staff

Simply put, Craigslist is a classified advertisement service based online. It was originally created by founder Craig Newmark in 1995 to cover services provided in the local San Francisco Bay Area. The service eventually was transferred onto the ‘net’ and within three years, by 2000, it had expanded to many more cities across United States. It currently covers some 70 countries, including non-English speaking ones.

If you will, Craigslist is not dissimilar from other selling and buying platforms, namely the most renowned eBay, which was also created based on the same principle. However, the difference, to my understanding, is that unlike eBay, Craigslist does not base its business on auctions, and it covers a wider range of classifications and services. And that, to me, is what makes it more fragile too.

Yet, the success of Craigslist cannot be denied. So, what’s made Craigslist so successful?


The success of Craigslist

Craigslist originally, and presently yet, claims its success primarily from the United States, even if it has now affirmed as a powerful trading platform in so many other countries worldwide.

To this day, Craigslist is and remains a more successful and wealthier business than eBay. And, as mentioned, this is due to the fact that it covers a wider range of services.

Don’t get me wrong, the principle still remain of Craigslist being nothing more than a classified ad tool – and in this it remains faithful to its original principle. But, unlike any other company of its kind, Mr Newmark, along with current CEO Jim Buckmaster, allowed Craigslist to become extremely powerful in the real estate field – to this day, Craigslist still represents the strongest power in the States for advertising properties for rent and for sale.

In fact, since Mr Buckmaster (is it an ominous name, or what?!?!?!) joined the company in 2006, he sprung it to new levers by opening a whole host of new classified categories, which have contributed to an increase in revenue.

But, the sudden expansion has also started causing concerns amongst users as well as amongst the general public.


How does Craigslist work

But before I delve deeper into why some do not trust Craigslist may be always and solely used in bona fidae, let me explain how it works.

When you first access Craigslist, you might wonder what it’s all about, as Craigslist uses a very spartan and sparingly looking layout. The home page is free of banners and pictures, but literally only shows an endless list of categories where you can place the ad.

Craigslist ad
Advertising on Craigslist could not be easier

The site is most easy to use for both advertisers and users. Remember that Craigslist was created with the intent to make it easy to access services and events by a community at a local level. And it stills retains that aspect, in so far absolutely anybody can advertise anything – as an advertiser, all you have to provide is a valid email, which Craigslist will invite you to validate on registration, in order to avoid spamming.

Otherwise, Craigslist will only intervene if any user – or community member, as Craigslist likes to refer to – reports a problem. The potential transaction that generates from a classified ad remains solely arbitrated by the advertiser and his/her customer.

But, where does Craigslist make its money from?

Amazingly enough, posting ads on Cragslist is FREE, where Craigslist only charges for a handful of classified, including job advertising, housing and therapeutic services. And the fees for the chargeable categories varies between the $10-25 per ad.

Yet, even if Craigslist remains practically a free service for most. It has managed to become the 72nd most visited website in the world, servicing approximately 20 million viewers per month. To this date Craigslist refuses to confirm his revenue and profit, but still claims to be run by a compact team of 28 staff.


Who can use Craigslist

As mentioned, Craigslist is for absolutely everybody. Whether you want to sell a pair of old shoes, or whether you are looking for a car; if you want to sell an entire collection of handbags, or if you want to buy an old Amstrad computer; Craigslist will meet everybody’s demand

Craigslist team will not intervene to put a limit in the price a seller wants to flog their old stuff for. Nor are Craigslist team responsible to ensure whether the service you are buying is a genuine one. But in this, Craigslist is not unique. There are risks attached to any buy and sell online marketplace,

However, Craigslist’s uniqueness in this is that it absolutely only ensures the smooth running of their powerful softwares and servers, and will not intervene in arbitrating disputes unless issues are reported to them.


Latest Craigslist scams

What’s prompted me to write about Craigslist is a news that hit UK only a couple of weeks ago, when a BBC journalist did a special report on Craigslist. What prompted BBC to bring Craigslist to the limelight is the fact that its journalist had managed to purchase cocaine, fake cigarettes and a fake passport from Craigslist advertisers in different UK cities.

You may wonder how this is possible, how a reputable and well and long established company such as Craigslist may allow such illegal trades. But if you think of how Craigslist works, these scams should come as no surprise.

Unlike an Amazon, which ever promotes and sell its own products, which are for the majority merchandise, or acts as marketplace for a host of sellers for which however Amazon promptly denies responsibility, Craigslist does not get involved in the legality of activities that may be offered thought its pages.


Controversial classifieds

This is not the first time that Craigslist has come to the limelight possibly for the wrong reasons. At one point it was found that Craigslist openly allowed puppy farms to advertise their dogs on its listings.

Craigslist classified
Some personal ads attracted controversy over whether Craigslist operates an unethical scheme

Since the current CEO took up this role then, personal listings with sexual content were openly accepted by the company. It was deemed that, whilst the company defended this decision by saying the arrangements advertised were purely of a platonic nature, it was in fact found that the ads were openly soliciting sexual and erotic encounters. Mr Buckmaster a few years ago announced the company would do its utmost to fight prostitution and illegal human trafficking, but in some countries such reassuring stance was not enough to satisfy local laws, and Craigslist had to shut down specific classifieds.

Finally, and again since 2000, the company has had to fight lawsuits against other competitors, including eBay which at one stage had become a minor stakeholder, for differences in policies.
In other words, Craigslist seems to have attracted attention to itself for dubious reasons as much as for its success rates.


My verdict

First of all, let me tell you outright that I have never used Craigslist. As mentioned, I didn’t even know of the existence of Craigslist till only recently.

Would I use Craigslist, now I know of its existence? No, I would not. Frankly, and without wanting to underestimate my business acumen, I think there is too much at stake when it comes to genuine ‘punters’, that I would not trust my common sense to be good enough to recognize a true and honest transaction from a scam.

Craigslist is extremely successful. The numbers of ads they deal with monthly overtake the best advertising figures of champions such as Amazon and eBay too. What I am trying to say is that if you intend to sell merchandise on Craigslist, the exposure your ad reaches outreaches much further than any other online marketplace. The likelihood is also that you are going to find a local online Craigslist where you can target a more localized audience.

But, the one thing I would beg any potential user is to pay particular caution to ensure the buyer does truly transfer funds to you before you send your items across. Of, if you are a buyer, ensure the merchandise you intend to purchase does truly exists.

Legal Illegal
Craigslist has often washed its hand of illegal activities linked to the ads it publishes.

And by all means, if you are not sure, do flag the issue with Craigslist, or do not be afraid to escalate your suspicions to Trading Standards or to the police

How do they say, better safe than sorrow!!!

If you have been lucky enough to already have experienced the services provided by Craigslist and had a positive or negative outcome, by all means do leave your comment below. Your contribution will be certainly appreciated by me and will provide a further view point for other readers.

If you are really interested in using a selling platform as an additional source of income when working from home, I recommend looking into Amazon as a more secure transaction online selling method.  Find out why here.

Amazon Worldwide
Amazon Worlwide may not have the wide reach of Cragslist, but offers more security

Of course, you already know from my previous stance on selling and buying that I believe it is only a form of additional income.  If you really want to make a regular and steady income, one that will pay your bills, but also one that will elevate to passive income and will allow you to have a very comfortable life, my answer to that is in the affiliate market industry.

Find out all about how to build your online business and make it a successful venture from Wealthy Affiliate!

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8 thoughts on “Can you make money on Craigslist”

  1. I have used Craigslist for advertising real estate, especially the rental market and had good results. I would also be leery to conduct any other type of advertising because of potential scams. If I were to sell a car or piece of furniture I wouldn’t have a way to verify the buyer. Years ago people sold things through the ‘WantAds’, but it seems the internet attracted more scammers. I agree and think it’s best to go with a trusted online transaction platform than an unregulated one!

    1. Thank you for your contribution, Edgar. Funnily enough, Craigslist seems to find its success mostly in your line of business, where it seems scams do not take place as often and as easily. I guess the fact that, like a newspaper, Craigslist spreads its too far and wide to be able to arbitrate so many different services. If they ever attempted to do so, they would never be able to work with solely 28 staff!

  2. I found this post very interesting I have seen so many Craigslist advertisements on TV that I never even considered that illegal activities would e going on there.

    To think that it’s so easy is what’s really scary to me, personally I’ve never used it and with options like Ebay and Amazon I’m not planning to.

    If you need do go ahead but be careful, there are pro’s and cons just weigh them and make a decision you’re comfortable with.

    1. Yes, I agree with you, always go with what you are comfortable rather than using tools you are not quite familiar with. On eBay for instance, you can find out sellers’ rating as well as their background. Likewise on Amazon. They may not have the broad reach that Craigslist, but they sound altogether more approachable and seem to have safety nets in place which makes their platform more reliable, if not perfect.  

  3. Thank you for this post. I have been wonering about Craigslist for a while and had no where as to where I should start.

    I think they are a bit iffy and not sure if thats where I would want to get anything from.

    Once again thank you for the great post, it eucated me greatly.

    1. Dale, I am pleased to hear I could be of service.  I am not trying to discourage my readers from using Craigslist altogether – not unless you are novice at the ‘art’ of selling and buying goods. You need to ‘see’ the signs, I guess, and you need to be wary whenever transferring money, or to send merchandise out only after receiving your payment.  Particularly when purchasing stock, or services, you may want to try doing a bit of background search about the company or seller you are using.  But I would advise, if you don’t feel comfortable about using Craigslist, then change your action plan or using other online selling platforms. Good luck with your trade!

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