There are disadvantages to using craigslist.org to make money. Although it can be done, and the chance of actually losing money is limited, craigslist.org only reaches a small percentage of customers. This is fine if what you are doing is limited to your location, however if you are selling products, this is a very limited area to do so.
The first disadvantage of using craigslist.org to make money is reach. Although millions of people visit this website, all of those visitors are distributed among 450 locations. This is where craigslist.org is lacking. You are not supposed to post your ad in more than one location at a time. If you are selling widgets, and you want to sell a lot of widgets to everyone, everywhere, then craigslist.org will be very limiting to you.
Another disadvantage of using craigslist.org to make money is that there is no protection for the seller. Many auction sites have procedures in place to make sure that both the buyer and seller are protected from unscrupulous individuals. Craigslist.org has no such protections. You make contact with a potential buyer or seller and hope that they will not rip you off. You do not know if they are legitimate or not and you have no idea if they are a dangerous criminal or not. Online auction sites remove the person interaction by means of shipping the item to a location. On craigslist.org you usually have to either have a buyer come to your home, go to a seller's location or meet in a public place somewhere. Meeting someone is fine if the item is small. However if you are selling a projection TV, it may be more difficult to get it to the local diner.
Craigslist.org does post a notice explaining how to keep safe from fraud. Their intentions are well meant and in this case you get what you pay for. Craigslist.org is free. Most auction sites have fees. In this case it seems that you are paying for an additional level of safety and security. On an auction website there is recourse if someone passes you a bad check or if someone offers to pay you via PayPal and then reverses the payment. With cragislist.org there is recourse only through law enforcement for a bad check or through PayPal. Your chances of recovering payment is not good. You will be out the money and the product.
Another problem with craigslist.org is if you are trying to promote your business. There are many businesses that will keep reporting your ad as being in violation of craigslists.org's rules and regulations or that it is spam or even that it infringes on some else's copyright. In certain categories it can be nearly impossible for a new business to post an ad. For example, posting an ad for carpet cleaning services in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area can be next to impossible. I know of one particular company that finally had to contact Craig Newmark directly in order to get a problem resolved.
Now that you know all about the disadvantages of using craigslist.org to make money you can decide for yourself if it is worth it. Although the ad is free it takes a lot of time to write, post and constantly delete and repost your ad so that it stays on the front page. Is it worth it? Only you can decide for yourself.
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