What Is Craigslist And How Does It Work? All Revealed

Updated On October 31, 2023 | by Manpreet Kaur Sandhu

what is craigslist and how does it work

The name ‘Craigslist’ came from its founder ‘Craig Newmark’ who aim to provide people with a helpful and non-commercial way to connect with others in their communities. Way back in 1995, Craigslist was created in the form of an online hub where people used to obtain information about the events happening around them. With its continuous usage, this online hub got converted into a platform to post jobs, items for sale, housing services and others. Originally, Craigslist.org was an electronic newsletter and now it has become one of the most visited websites with local classifieds for more than 450 cities from all over the world. 

Key Sections of Craigslist

The main function of the Craigslist Website is to host classified ads. On visiting the Craigslist’s home page, you will see a variety of sections that have something for everyone. Here are some of its key sections: 

Community: As the name suggests, this section will let you know about all the happenings within your community. You will get information about everything such as lost & found items, politics, local news and much more. In the section named ‘Rants & Raves’, you can let your thoughts and feelings flow to the world.

Services: Under this section, you will find a number of useful service providers. If you are looking for someone to repair your bike or to create a website for you, this section is all you need.

Housing: This section will serve your accommodation related purposes. Even if you are in need of your own house or just want a rented accommodation, this section has all the posts related to housing in your local area that is on sale

Jobs: Craigslist has all the open vacancies from different fields like education, accounting, farming, security services and others. So if you are looking for a job whether part-time or full-time, explore this platform as there can be the ultimate job waiting for you.

Sale: Looking for a thing for cheap? This online platform contains a number of ads from the persons who are selling everything from toys to household items.

Discussion Forums: Apart from buying and selling, Craigslist has much more to offer. You can just talk and discuss the things that are trending in the market or just participate in a random discussion like political or religious ones.

How Does Craigslist Works?

Craigslist is not only a large online classifieds forum but also lets you contribute in community discussions, apply for job postings, etc. As a visitor, you can also post an ad or take the benefit of the one already posted there. 

Mainly, Craigslist serves three basic purposes:

Posting Ads

On Craigslist, you will find several ads divided into different categories. You can post an ad with or without a Craigslist account. But it is better to create an account as that will let you easily access all your postings, in case you want to revise or delete them. If you will not create an account, you receive an email with links after posting the ad to modify it. To create an ad, click on the ‘Post to Classifieds’ link at the upper left corner of each page. Fill the fields such as ‘Posting Title’, ‘Posting Body’ and additional details such as ‘Price’ and ‘Condition’. It will take a few minutes for the ad to appear in the category for the city you have selected.

Finding Ads

To browse the Craigslist ads, select your closest city from the right side of the page. On the next page, you will see the ads under different categories for that particular area. You can also check the sub-categories available to look for the item you want.

For example- The ‘For Sale’ section includes categories such as Antiques, Appliances, Books, and Furniture. Click on the desired category to see a list of ads posted from newest to oldest. You can also sort those ads by price instead of consecutive order. You can also see the ads from the selected category based on the buyer’s location.

Responding to Ads

Then comes the negotiation part where the transactions take place directly between the buyer and the seller. An interested buyer contacts the seller with any questions, then eventually they make arrangements to meet and if everything goes well, the buyer will purchase the item after paying the pre-decided amount.

It is important to read all the details before responding to a particular ad. Each ad has a ‘Reply’ button in the upper left corner. Click on the button to see the contact methods provided by the poster.

Craigslist has also provided you with the authority to monitor the content posted on its website. You can use different tags to let other users know about what is interesting on the website and what should be avoided. The tags include: ‘Best of Craigslist’, ‘Miscategorised’, ‘Spam’ and ‘Prohibited’.

Note- Craigslist offers a way to hide your email address, subsequently, there is no need to worry about your email ID getting exposed to all the members of the community. The transactions that take place are solely between the person who posted the ad and the person interested in it. 

How to use the Craigslist Marketplace?

Looking for the item you have been yearning for a long time? Here are the simple steps that you can undertake to search for the required item in the Craigslist Marketplace:

  • As soon as you reach the Craigslist home page get your location services on. This is required to let Craigslist bring all the people that are closest to your area on its home page.
  • Use the search bar given on the left side of the screen to search manually or you can browse through the various sub-sections given under the ‘For Sale’ section.
  • Select the section that best suits the requirement of your product or item and it will show what it has got for you.
  • The lists will have different items depending on what has been posted by the person. You can also view the location of the item along with its description if you will click on the ad.
  • If the item matches your interest, select ‘Reply’ button and that will let you reply to the person via email. 

Tips to stay safe on Craigslist

  • Never invite buyers to your home but to a safer place such as your company or business place.
  • Accept cash only and say ‘No’ to cheques or other money transfer methods so as to avoid getting scammed.
  • Never add too much of your contact information that can be misused by the party on the other side.
{Disclaimer: The article is meant for informative use and we do not encourage piracy or illegal streaming of content in any manner. Consuming pirated or copyrighted content is a punishable offence in many countries.}

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