From its humble beginnings as a communal mailing list for folks living in San Francisco to its massive reach of nearly 20 billion unique views per month today, Craigslist has always represented the ideal union of analog classified ads with the modern Internet. No matter what you are buying or selling, you can almost certainly find it on Craigslist. But that doesn’t mean the platform is flawless.
In fact, more and more interested traders have begun shift away from reliance on Craigslist for a variety of reasons. The platform’s lack of security remains a nagging concern for those with high-value listings, as does the preponderance of spam listings. Also, despite its high visibility, some folks have found it difficult to sell their specific items on the platform due its structural limitations.
A decade ago, this might have been the end of the road. But today, there are other websites and apps that make it easier and quicker than ever to buy and sell goods and services. Many of these websites and apps follow in the tradition of Craigslist by allowing digital classified ads supplemented with pictures and contact information. But each new platform also ads its own spin on this classic formula, be that through enhanced searchability or added security.
Suffice to say, Craigslist isn’t the only horse in this race anymore. Each of its new alternatives is helping to push the digital classified listing industry out of the late 1990s and into the 21st century.
If you’re looking to branch out from relying on Craigslist alone, consider checking out some of the following platforms that will surely enhance your buying and selling potential going forward.
Nowadays, it feels like Facebook is at the core of our digital life. Photos, games, life updates from friends…and now, a platform to exchange goods and services with people living in your area. Known as Facebook Marketplace, this unique component of the larger Facebook platform allows users to share their classified-style listings with folks on their friends list and in the general public.
While Facebook Marketplace doesn’t offer any one feature that makes it more user-friendly than its competitors, it does benefit from the largest potential audience by far. When you create listing, you’ll be able to easily publish said listing onto your personal Facebook page for all of your friends and family to see. From there, you can even directly promote your listing to the broader public through Facebook’s ad system.
Out of all of the Craigslist alternatives on this list, Facebook Marketplace is definitely the best option if you want to minimize your learning curve by engaging an interface you already use regularly. If you’ve been using Facebook in the past year, then you’re already familiar with the general parameters the Marketplace runs on. This makes it easier to get up and running with your listing or shopping for a desired product in no time flat.
As an added bonus, selling on Facebook Marketplace is entirely free and includes few exceptions regarding what can’t be sold through the platforms (firearms being one noteworthy exception).
The very idea of an alternative Craigslist-style listing service may have come to mind after seeing one of Letgo’s many television ads recently. This recent uptick in promotion has brought Letgo to the front of the pack in terms of popularity, making them a particularly viable option if you are seeking out or trying to sell a very specific type of item.
Letgo’s user interface is centered around its app, which in turn derives its user experience from the simplicity and visuality of social media platforms. As such, it’s easy to scroll through Letgo and see photos of the many items for sale in your area. Cataloging items that you are interested in on Letgo is as easy as pressing the “heart” on a given listing. Similarly, you’ll also be able to easily pair down your searches based on your location and price range using convenient drop down menus.
Compared to Craiglist, Letgo also allows its users to seek out and request more information to meet their needs. Users listing products on Letgo, for example, can add videos to supplement their photos. Meanwhile, users interested in learning more about a listed product can easily request such information through the platform’s in-house messaging system.
Altogether, Letgo’s popularity is well justified. Between its app and its website, this is definitely among the preeminent platforms for efficiently buying and selling goods online today.
Like Craigslist, eBay has long been one of the most well-known user-generated sales platforms on the internet. Dating back to its origins in 1995, eBay has always specialized in providing a platform for buying and selling items with niche value, with everything from collectable figures and baseball cards to old sports jerseys and military paraphernalia included.
This unique property makes eBay one of the best options if you are looking to buy or sell items that might otherwise be ignored or mis-appreciated on more generalized sales platforms. Because of its worldwide audience, eBay is also a great platform to expand your sales audience or purchasing pool if you are unable to find or sell your desired item in your geographic region.
As a drawback, eBay does charge a listing fee as well as taking a small cut of your final sale price. But this can be easily counteracted through small listing price increases that offset this added upfront cost.
eBay’s large company size and scope also allows them to guarantee the quality of some products listed on its site. This in turn makes for a more trustworthy marketplace overall, where buyers can trust sellers and sellers will feel more confident that their genuine products won’t be edged out by cheap knockoffs.
Playing off of the idea that their platform provides “oodles and oodles” of listings, Oodle provides a unique shopping experience that savvy online shoppers can take full advantage of.
Oodle recognized that as the Craigslist-alternative market grew, so would the likelihood that no one shopper could visit every platform in a timely manner. Oodle solved this potential problem by setting up a system that aggregates listings from other platforms and organizes them all on their own platform. This is in addition to Oodle’s own listing functionality, which are given a competitive edge in the platform’s algorithms.
Oodle provides a wide selection of categories, including a “personals” section reminiscent of Craigslist’s recently deceased iteration of the same. When navigating to one of these sections, users are able to page through listings from all of the aggregated sources at once or eliminate some sources in order to narrow down the results.
As a matter of added security and convenience, Oodle also allows you to add your in-house listings to your Facebook page through its built-in interface. By connecting your Oodle account with your Facebook account, you also add a degree of trustworthiness to your sales actions on the platform (whether buying or selling).
While it’s still on the smaller size compared to behemoths like Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist, OfferUp has a lot of room to grow as it makes its mark on the user-generated sales marketplace. If you’re concerned about audience size, rest assured that OfferUp can compete with other Craigslist-alternatives thanks to its nearly 23 million app downloads.
As its name suggests, one of OfferUp’s most unique features is the ability to “offer up” you own price for a particularly interesting listing. The seller can then make a counter offer, allowing you to effectively haggle and find a mutually beneficial price point. For buyers, this is an obvious boon that allows you to constructively lower listing prices through proactive actions. For sellers, this functionality also allows for flexibility when it comes drawing in prospective buyers.
Finally, OfferUp makes it fairly easy to keep an eye on listings you are interested in, but not yet prepared to commit to. With their “watch” feature, you’ll be able to receive notifications regarding a listing’s status, including how long it will remain on the market and if its price fluctuates.
Why Look for Other Quick Buying and Selling Platforms?
Before jumping onto one of these innovative new sales platforms, take a moment to consider why you might need to look for a Craigslist alternatives. After all, Craigslist has been the golden standard for some time; why make listings anywhere else?
Well, truth be told, putting all of your eggs in one basket is rarely an advisable method of buying or selling anything. When you rely fully on Craigslist to accomplish to your sales or purchasing goals, you run the risk of setting for prices that are suboptimal. When you make listings on more than one Craigslist-like platform, you effectively diversify your opportunities by casting out more fishing lines.
With more lines in the water, you have a higher chance of not only getting a hit, but also at getting a hit that meets or exceeds your expectations. If you’re looking to buy, that might come in the form of lower prices resulting from different value appraisals on newer platforms. If you’re looking to sell, on the other hand, multiple listings over a diverse set of platforms allows you to sell your product at its peak value due to increased demand.
Also, as a benefit to both buyers and sellers, many of these new Craigslist-like websites and apps have doubled down on providing their users with a safe, streamlined experience. In terms of safety, most have eliminated anonymity and allow users to set up mutually secure interaction at a public location. As for streamlining, some new platforms have modified their search algorithms to make it easier to find what you are looking for in your geographic area.
All in all, it is well worth your time and effort to check out some these new Craigslist-like digital sales platforms. While trying out new platforms can feel intimidating at first, your trepidations will melt away as soon as you experience how user-friendly, secure, and financially advantageous these websites and apps are.