Interconnectivity is what the digital era is about, and no matter where we are in relation to anyone else on the planet, it’s become a lot easier for us to get in touch with our fellow members of mankind. That global network has also been the best way to advertise goods and services, as demonstrated by websites like Craigslist, or any of this list of 10 alternatives that we’ve hunted down for you. Job and message boards are all but going the way of the dodo any longer, and it’s all in the name of taking charge of what you want to sell (or, inversely, what you want to buy.) Got your curiosity piqued? Good, then read on!
If you’ve never used Craigslist or any of these similar services that we’ll be talking about in this short guide, it’s understandable. If you’ve never heard or them, then where have you been?!
At their simplest, Craigslist and others function as online “classifieds,” allowing you to sell, buy, or trade goods and services between other people. Quite a few people find their first roommates through Craigslist, and it’s not a bad way to look for everything from jobs, cars, places to live, to help with a particular project. If you can imagine it being listed in some way, shape or form within a newspaper’s classifieds section, then there’s a good chance you can find its equivalent on Craigslist.
Classifieds have been popular because they often eliminate the “middle man” from the dealings you make with other people. If you buy a vehicle from someone’s classified ad, then you don’t have to be subjected to the same fees and costs that you would be if you were buying it from a car trading business or dealership. The same deal goes if you’re trying to avoid dealing with a property manager, and you choose to rent an apartment or living space directly from someone that’s offering exactly that. It can be a great way to save a bit of money and a bit of the complication that comes from doing business with more guided, demanding services.
However, shopping through Craigslist or any site similar to it requires a fair bit of caution, something that we’ll stress throughout this guide. While many of the alternatives that we’ve gathered below offer several levels of protection for you as a consumer (or a seller), others don’t, and it’ll be up to your own wits to keep you safe when you’re dealing with other people. It probably doesn’t need to be said outright, but I’ll do it anyway: the same way that not everyone who places a classified ad is thoroughly honest, so too should you not expect everyone posting on Craigslist and similar sites to be 100% honest with what they’re offering.
Most? Yes. All? Absolutely not.
With that safety precaution in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular online trading sites that you can use instead of Craigslist, and what makes each of them a good choice.
It might seem odd that we’re listing eBay Classifieds before the full-blown eBay service itself, but there’s a reason for that. When it comes to “classifieds” style online listings, eBay classifieds is far and away the closest thing that Craigslist has to a competitor.
While Craigslist is thorough, and you can find practically anything that you’re looking for on it, eBay Classifieds is organized. With it, you get the clean, detailed interface and the familiar host of categories separating the hundreds of thousands of listings that you’ll find on the site. It’s fairly good at weeding out dishonest listings as well, and best of all, the listings that you place on the site are free!
When we look at the full eBay website (rather than just eBay Classifieds), you can start to see why it’s not as close of a direct comparison to Craigslist. In spite of this, it remains the e-commerce site to check out whenever you’re looking to buy practically any type of trade good, from cars to baseball cards.
You won’t find people trading services to one another (that’s reserved for the classifieds), but you will find sales of practically any item that you’re looking to get ahold of. Like Craigslist, all of these listings are person-to-person sales that, while protected by eBay’s customer safety standards, remove the “middle man” from anything that you’re buying.
We’re back in the land of all-things-classifieds with the website Recycler, and it’s another direct competitor to Craigslist. This website hasn’t been around for quite as long, but don’t let its minimalistic approach and lack of flair fool you–this is a top-notch online classifieds system that even has some social media integration, to better help you advertise your listings on sites like Facebook.
The search tool reveals a pretty tightly organized collection of listings, and like Craigslist, you can find everything from apartments to pets. Apart from some premium features that will cost you a bit of money, most of what you’d ever want to list on Recycler can be done for free.
In spite of other sites like Recycler and Craigslist having social media integration, Oodle is the hub for online classifieds. You can search for practically anything, and instead of pulling from a collection of listings made through its own site, it compiles an accumulation of classified ads from other sites, ranging from eBay to more local advertisements, even from newspapers.
The icing on the cake? Oodle has a pretty fantastic mobile app that will allow you to perform organized, quick searches while on the go.
If Craigslist is the online equivalent of the classifieds section, then Pawngo is a similar representation of the pawn shop. While other options on this site are often about removing the middle-man from traded goods and services, Pawngo has a dedicated team that appraises the value of anything that you’d like to list. Like any excellent pawn shop, this team is very accurate when it comes to determining the resale value of practically any item.
You might be tempted to worry about the legitimacy of a service like this, but they have actually had very strong user reviews and testimony.
Much like Oodle, Adoos banks on the popularity and accessibility of social media services in order to advertise its listings. You can log into Adoos through Facebook, and browse listings that are just as diverse as what you’d find on sites like Craigslist.
Also similar to Craigslist is the fact that you’re able to contact advertisers directly, whether you want to haggle them down from initial prices or ask more questions about a product or service.
Oddly, USFreeads has been around for almost as long as Craigslist. It’s similar in aesthetic and offers practically the same types of listings, but isn’t nearly as widely recognized or used. Still, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an excellent classifieds resource, and considering just how long it’s been around, you can count on it being reliable.
If you’re willing to pay a small fee, you can get access to a plethora of useful tools that will help you to spread knowledge of anything you’d like to advertise. While goods and services are prevalent across USFreeAds’ listings, the site seems to offer a particularly large crowd of people trying to sell pets (27,952 listings, as of this guide’s publication.)
When you look at Craigslist competitors, it’s easy to see what the larger service got right. The same minimalism and ease of navigation that makes Craigslist simple to use are also present in Backpage, which offers much of the same in terms of types of goods and services listed.
Even though you can list from anywhere, the vast majority of Backpage’s listings are from metropolitan and urban areas. If you’re a city mouse, it’s worth checking out!
Hoobly is straightforward and to the point. It can be compared to Craigslist in every way except its size, and it does a fair job of helping to keep spams, bad listings, and other junk off of the site. You’ll need a registered email address if you want to list anything, which is a small step towards keeping Hoobly dealings honest and productive.
This is a newer competitor to Craigslist but carries a lot of the same features and benefits that we’ve described above. It’s entirely free to use, without any features being locked behind any sort of paywall.
While it started in an urban area, ClassifiedAds.com has expanded its services to include the entire US, and if your web browser has location services enabled, you can navigate to listings local to you right from the bottom of the web page.
As you can probably see, the success of Craigslist isn’t difficult to emulate. It’s an exceptionally straightforward service that gained a majority of its popularity by arriving at the right time and being embraced by millions of users at once. While it’s probably still one of the very best classifieds sites online, many of its competitors offer just as good of service, or an entirely different angle of approaching sales and trading.
Any of these 10 alternative websites can be compared to Craigslist in one way or another, but there’s a lot to like, a lot to enjoy, and always something a little bit different about the way that each of them operates. We’d love to hear your stories about using online classifieds services, so post in the comments below and don’t forget to share!