If you love Craigslist say “Taco.” Anyone who reads this post just said Taco which is both awesome and impressive at the same time. It’s hard to meet people who dislike the service. It’s free, you can find almost anything you want and the company is so “good.”
Then why may they lose in the next 5 years.
“What you talkin about Noah?“
I was scootering down the streets of Florence a few months ago and I thought I saw a company sign that said they solve problems. Imagine a business where I could call up and say I have a problem, will you please get me flowers by 10am tomorrow. Bamn, done.
I thought a bit further about how Craigslist has tons of people looking for work, heck I found an unemployed guy to come over and help me move my things in exchange for $10 and my left over beer. The more I worked through the scenario the more I realized that even though it is a free internet service Craigslist was not ideal.
The same reason you aren’t buying your things off of eBay anymore. You want more.
You want consistency, clear expectations and frankly less bullshit.
The evolution looks something like this:
Internet was born.
eBay helped you get rid of all this extra crap you had lying around. Wow, they have no inventory, take a cut of everything and millions of people are making all this extra money. Boom. Success.
Next, we have Amazon. At first you were for my friend’s dad who was an early adopter engineer, then I graduated college and I bought that book from you since it was a few bucks cheaper than Barnes & Nobles. Recently, I am older and you launched Prime and I am just a pawn in your game. Put it out there and I’ll give you my dollars. I’m easy.
Anyways, the evolution follows how people want things to be easy and predictable. The same reason I sell all my stuff on Amazon Marketplace. I put my upc in and I get a sell quickly. No hassle, no community uproar over another fee, no 18 fields to input my ipod. Same with buying, I just find it, hit go and you have it on my doorstep in 2 days.
People want more. They can’t just have autonomous experiences each time with your product.
Back to Craigslist. Let’s say I want someone to help solve a problem of mine. I post it on CL. Get tons of shit responses, wade through them and maybe that person flakes.
So with Craigslist slipping new companies are picking off pieces like a Lion on a Zebra carcass.
Here are the companies picking off the slivers of Craigslist and, frankly, the sites that are better than Craigslist:
The list can go on of the pieces that are still available, Cars, Jobs, Discussions, etc…
Ultimately, these services provide you consistency and accountability. I know what I’m getting.
The companies above know how to make their customer happy every time. I know what you are thinking. Yes, Craigslist is free and very easy to use. I don’t think it will ever go away but I do think CL at times costs you more in time and money. Also, there is no value created over time while using the site. For instance, having you (as a seller) prefer me more due to my many successful CL purchases vs. the 50 other people who email to rent your apartment.
To me at this point in my life it is worth the few dollars in service fees to start using services that save me time and headaches.
Unless Craigslist adapts to how people are preferring to use internet services as the internet grows up I see a huge downfall in their business.