Craigslist is now Pay to Play!
Why is Craigslist charging us to make posts? For a few years now Craigslist has been testing in limited markets the feasibility and methodology for charging users a fee to make posts on their site. This has not been widely known unless you deal with Craigslist on a regular basis, like we do. We reported on this when the testing went into effect around the end of 2015, but many people didn't believe it was actually happening.
Well the day has arrived and after more than 2 years of testing, Craigslist now feels comfortable enough that in early 2018 they rolled out this new methodology of charging users to post in their most popular sections. Currently they are charging for people to post in the Gigs and Services section, Employment sections, and the For Sale sections. Now, before you jump out of your seat and start screaming "NO THEY AREN'T!!!!". Yes, they are, except that they are rolling it out slowly and differently in every market. It may not be affecting you or your market just yet, but it will eventually.
Craigslist is in the process of rolling out this major change and it will eventually affect all markets. Will it affect all sections of Craigslist? That is a good question for which we do not have an answer yet. Are they charging for each and every post? Yes, yes they are. Will there be group discounts or any type of discount for regular users? That may be possible but at this time we can't say what the full pricing structure will be since it just rolled out and just like everything Craigslist does, there is never full disclosure or transparency.
Currently to make a post you have to use a credit card but I predict that eventually they will also allow you to use PayPal, Payza and other options. Why do I believe this? Quite simply because that is the way the internet works. Most internet transactions use PayPal or their countries equivalent to make payments. I'm sure most users will eventually start clamoring for Craigslist to add PayPal to their payment options. Another reason is that a LOT of people out there in the real world have bad credit, and can't get credit cards. So this is a huge amount of people not being able to post on Craigslist. I don't believe that they will purposely want to loose this revenue.
I Know what some of you are already thinking. "Was this new method a way for Craigslist to make more money, or just another way for Craigslist to track users?" I think the answer is "A little of both." Craigslist is not stupid. They have this huge revenue making machine but they haven't tapped into even a small portion of it's potential revenue stream by keeping it free. So, why keep it free if you don't have to? Also they have allowed the problem of scammers and over posting to get way out of control, so this is just a new method for controlling who makes posts and how they make them (while making a hefty change on the side).
This is the reason that I believe they are mostly focusing on credit card usage at this time. It is a way to control and limit over posting and scams. They believe that by having people use real credit cards they can track who you are, where you are, and how many posts you make. You can rest assured that they have upped their game when it comes to cyber security and tracking is a major part of that. Craigslist like most internet companies (ie: Facebook, Google, etc) are obsessed with controlling users and making money off their information in the process. I'm not a conspiracy nut, but it's very Orwellian. I will warn you to be careful with your information also because Craigslist is a major focal point for scammers, so let's see how long it takes before Craigslist gets hacked and millions of users personal information is stolen.
For the average user this new pricing structure is a minor inconvenience. Yes, Craigslist is no longer free, so it will hurt a little, but if you do not make posts very often, then you really don't care. For other folks who use Craigslist regularly to make lots of posts and make money from their advertising on Craigslist, this is a major problem. More restrictions, more tracking, more hurdles, what a PITA! Oh, and by the way, don't think for a moment that all the other fun stuff that Craigslist is known for is going away because of this change. You will still have ghosting, flagging, and scammers on the prowl. Scammers will pay to post if they have to, because they will continue to make plenty more money off their scams. Also, even though you make a post and pay for it, your post can still be FLAGGED and removed by the community. So you can kiss your money goodbye if it is flagged and removed. NO REFUNDS for Flagged posts. This is why we are not changing or removing any of the information from the rest of our site, The reality is that Craigslist has only changed to become more inconvenient and more expensive to post, but all the previous problems will remain. So please do not relax. Continue to be wary of scammers and flaggers.
Of course we have not been sitting on our hands just watching all this happen without taking action. We have been doing considerable testing and have come up with various work around and methods to deal with these new changes imposed by Craigslist. Will we disclose them here? Heck No! We don't want Craigslist to know everything that we know about their system or how we will be dealing with their new roadblocks and exploiting any weaknesses it has. But we will be adding this to the Members Section. So all of our Members will have access to any and all changes and work arounds as they become available.
Is this the END of CRAIGSLIST?! Probably not, but maybe. I have had people ask me this several times, and unfortunately I cannot see the future, but I can make a few observations. Craigslist based itself on a few simple tenants. It was local, it was easy to use, and it was free. It grew in popularity because of these simple tenants. Unfortunately over time it has lost it's way. It has become really hard to use for regular folks. It has become full of scammers and for profit organizations advertising out of their area, and now finally, it is no longer free. Over the last few years many people have been bailing out of Craigslist or using it grudgingly. Will they continue to bear these problems now that they have to dig into their wallets? Hard to say, but I don't think Craigslist will die any time soon. It has grown too big and too popular. Over time it may fade and sit alone and ignored in a corner of the internet like so many others before it (ie: Yahoo, Myspace, etc), but some die hards will still use it. Mind you I am not talking about this happening tomorrow or next year, but maybe many years down the road.