Inherent trust of Craigslist listings?

One of the strongest assets a consumer has in acquiring “new” or second hand items is without a doubt, a bare bones services by the name of Craigslist. Recognized on both a domestic and international level, the virtual classified ads and online urban communities resource offers a rich source for anyone in search of random trinkets, employment opportunities, and general interaction with similar minded individuals.

The virtual listings, or online classified ads, continue to surpass my own expectations as I’ve witnessed first hand the ability to serve and sell items on short notice. Popular items often move from sale to sold within the span of an hour as local Craigslist users routinely scan “for sale” items.


I’ve often contemplated whether the bare bones appearance of listing contributed to, detracted from, or was neither in creating a successful selling / purchasing environment. The sheer simplicity of listing allows users to create multiple sale items (granted that items are not repeated listings). However, with these rapid successions of listings, how or what steps can be taken to prevent innocent individuals from falling victim to the scam artists who seem to run rampant on the sale boards?

Granted, Craigslist inserts scam warnings as a safety precaution within listing email correspondances, but what additional steps can be taken to increase the security and peace of mind? Does the appearance of listings lend credence into the validity of an item?

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Discuss - 7 Comments

  1. eric says:

    I’ve dealt with the good and bad of craigslist for a couple years now. i’ve successfully sold a desktop pc, notebook cards, and other older computer junk on there but at the cost of having to deal with the hordes of scammers. the thing you have to remember, is when you first list something of value, probably your first 5 emails will be people trying to scam you. you usually discover this by them saying the are buy this for their child and they are out of the state/country, and although it may seem like harsh judgement, if they can’t grasp the english language then you are probably about to get scammed. i mean all and all i love it.

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  3. poldo says:

    Not to be off-topic here but Derek, you’re on 9rules blog! You’re famous. Can I have your autograph, please?

  4. Jason Brown says:

    Craigslist is awesome for so many reasons other than the ones sitting in front of your face.

    For one, as a seller.. it opens doors almost as wide as ebay, but without all the cost. I have been compiling a list of great resources for people wanting to sell items online ( since I am in Internet marketing full time ) and Craigslist is always on the top of my list.

    I also use Craigslist for marketing in ‘passive’ ways, but lets just say Craigslist is awesome.

  5. Scott Allen says:

    I’m just in the process of wrapping up research survey about exactly this issue – how people create transactional trust between individuals through craigslist and similar sites. I’ve got more info about the survey on my blog. It will be open for responses for a few more days.

    The findings should be published next week — I’ll be happy to post a link here if that’s OK.

  6. You never can really tell if you are going to get scammed on Craigslist or not. It’s like real life. You could get flim flammed just as easily, but the only difference is that you won’t have any idea what your seller looks like or any idea of where they are located.

  7. Derek says:

    That is one of the reasons why meeting in person locally is the safest route to take with Craigslist.