Craigslist versus eBay


(Jeremy Amayun)

While cleaning out your room, you realize that you have a lot of stuff you don’t necessarily need and can maybe turn into profit. A garage sale sounds nice, but that’s a lot of work only to make maybe $17 while a lot of people drive by staring at you like you’re crazy. That’s not worth it, especially since there are many other alternatives to selling your goods in a much faster and profitable way.

One way to sell your items is by using Internet sites that enable regular people like your or I to put items up for sale online. The two most notable websites for reselling things Craigslist and eBay. However, there are many differences between them. The biggest question is which website is more beneficial to sellers?

With eBay, your posted item is available worldwide with default spots for pictures and item description. Your item may well sell in matter of hours. As the seller, you can establish a minimum or set price of how much you want or make the buyers bid auction-style until the sale period ends. They have a lot of security measures in place with regards to your privacy and contact information and they function as a buffer between you and the seller.

There drawbacks when it comes to eBay sales which may stop people from selling on that website. As your items are posted up on the Internet all over the world, there are often many other identical or similar items from other sellers so there’s a lot of competition. One way to find out is to do a search on the eBay of your item to see how many other sales are currently going on. There may be only a few but there could literally be thousands. Also, with selling online to people who may live very far away, the seller usually has to deal with shipping the items as well as handling pay services like PayPal or credit card sales. Dealing with online payments sometimes drives away potential customers who may be interested in your things but are afraid to purchase things online because of security reasons. Finally, eBay charges fees for every sale you post on their site so they take money out of your potential profits. This is true even if you cancel the auction or your item doesn’t sell–there are still fees you have to pay.

Craigslist is a free community-based site that offers a lot of different services. People kind find apartments, look for jobs and yes, sell things on the website. It is very local because most major metropolitan areas in the US as well as other countries each have their own special Craigslist website. So you can target the specific city or area where you want to sell your things. The steps for posting an ad are simpler than eBay and best of all, all sales ads are completely free. Buyers often live very close to you so it’s often easier to have them come get your stuff and you don’t have to deal with any shipping issues. This means they often pay cash so you get the money right up front and don’t have to deal with pay services. You can also cancel your sale whenever you want with no penalty as there are no fees.

However, there are also drawbacks to using Craigslist. The biggest complaint involving their site seems to involve the infamous Craigslist Flake. The Flake is someone who acts very interested in your item, asks all sorts of questions, begs you to save the item for them and even arranges a specific time and place to complete the sale. However, nothing ever comes of it–they never show and just end up completely flaking on you. This always hurts only the seller as at this point, they have invested a fair amount of time and effort into emails and phone calls with said flake and have probably passed up other interested buyers. Another downside to Craigslist is because the transactions are initially emailed based from the moment you post your ad, there are spammers and scammers who may exploit your address or at the least, send you a lot of annoying ads and messages.

As for which one is better for sellers, it’s a bit of a draw as they have different good and bad points. Both sites work just fine for selling items, but depending on the seller, they may be drawn to the local accessibility of Craigslist or the security of eBay instead. Craigslist requires more effort in terms of monitoring and meeting customers but eBay involves a lot of shipping as well as handling online payment transactions. Both of them are available to the general public to view and buy as they please.

When sellers put their items up for sale, it is often creativity and then customer service that sells the item. Throwing in free things, writing a unique ad, and having good pictures are all ways to draw in the potential buyer. Then fair prices, prompt response time and genuine politeness often seals the deal with the customer. If you have a good attitude and realistic expectations, Craigslist and eBay are both useful sites. You can pick one or even use both as they are great alternatives to a traditional garage sale.