A classified website is a site where anyone can post ads to promote local business and can find anything needed or wanted. These websites can sell any items to their local audience also. Like another classified website, It can post an unlimited amount of ads like job vacancy, sales, property and much more. Free advertising sites like craigslist consider as the most efficient classified service on the web to conduct business and this website support over 13 languages so, it can post ads over the supported languages. Primarily, when designing an alternative to craigslist website makes money while displaying advertising services.
What is Craigslist and Its Features?
How Craigslist Was Originated
Craigslist is a pioneer among contemporary online ad portals. In the mid-1990s, posting ads in web portals instead of newspapers turned viral because online ads were free and could be displayed to a much larger audience. Another name for such websites is ‘classifieds’.
The same way as Amazon was created and ruled by its incomparable founder Jeff Bezos, Craigslist also is the child of one person: former IBM software developer Craig Newmark. These two billionaires are as different as the sun and the moon in their temperament and lifestyle. Unlike Bezos who fountains with energy and strives for newer achievement, Craig has never made ambitious plans for conquering the world and did not care for multiplying his assets. His empire was created accidentally and even now that he became the owner of one of the most visited websites in the U.S. he still escapes publicity.
Craig does not disclose his share in the company, and, being a famous philanthropist, donates a lot to support projects of cybersecurity, education, journalism, and charities. Craig’s faithful partner and Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster lives by the same philosophy of making a useful service for people rather than increasing profits.
What Are Classifieds?
The mission of ad websites is to connect sellers to buyers through the listings posted on the online portal. In most cases, ad posting is free of charge, but there are other ways to monetize that we’ll cover here shortly. For now, let’s see what features make up a traditional classifieds website.
If you want to start a website like Craigslist, it is best to find out what alternatives already exist in the market. Today’s classifieds are represented by hundreds of websites.
Features of Craigslist
Craigslist’s functionality and interface have not changed much since 1995. The reason is that the website’s owners think the UI should be as simple as possible to be intuitive for users and take no time to learn.
The main features include:
- Listings posting
This is the core feature. Users should be able to add a new post and update or remove the existing ones posted by them. It takes only a few minutes to add a listing on Craigslist. The listings creation process on a website like Craigslist should be intuitive and quick while still including some user verification steps to prevent spamming. The only verification on the site is an email confirmation at the completion of the listing creation.
Craigslist requires a sign-up for some categories of postings and some areas of the site. All the rest can use the website without registration.
Registration usually allows you to increase the security level on sites similar to Craigslist
and benefits marketing research. To encourage users to sign up, you may hint to them that registration will allow them to control their postings and get notifications on views and messages from buyers and other perks from the website.
- Search and navigation
Platforms that manage millions of postings need a quick and smart search engine. At Greenice, we rely on ElasticSearch technologies when we need to create a classified ads website. This search engine is able to run through a huge database in a moment to retrieve the requested result. To make the search easier for users, add filters and categories.
- Events Calendar
This is Craigslist’s specific feature. This feature was actually a starting point for Craigslist. First, Craig Newmark just sent out newsletters with events taking place in a certain area. It has since evolved into the ads portal. Now users use this feature to look up events in the selected date and place.
- Communication Channels
The only way users can contact each other on Craigslist is by email. In terms of security, the real email addresses are hidden and show up as an encrypted address that can be used for messaging between buyers and sellers.
- Ad Moderation
Craigslist allows users to flag ads they suspect to be a fraud or spam. After a while, such marked listings are removed by the system. As the owners of Craigslist note, this minimizes the operational costs and creates trustworthiness in the community.
This is a very controversial approach. For one, it saves the company resources for moderation and strengthens the community. On the other hand, it allows users to remove ads from their competitors while ignoring potentially unsafe ads.
How Does a Classified Website Earn Money?
Craigslist has never asked for money from investors and stated that ads bring more than enough profit to cover all development needs. Craigslist’s CEO Jim Buckmaster said that making a profit is not the company’s goal and all the revenue they receive goes into operating costs. The company’s strategy is ‘network first, profit later’, and that is appreciated by users and allowed Craigslist to gather the largest community of ad posters in the world. Most of the advertisements on Craigslist are free. But they charge fees for certain listings:
- $25-45 for ads in 6 major US cities
- $75 for a job listing in the San Francisco area
- $10 for listing an apartment rental in New York
- $3-10 for a post in some other categories and areas
Even this allows Craigslist to earn good money.
However, their competitors use a mixture of ways to monetize to have a sustainable profit. Let’s review the most common ways you can earn money with a new site like Craigslist:
- Fees for Postings. Undoubtedly, free ads attract huge traffic. However, having even the smallest fees can bring good profits. Besides taking payments, you automatically filter spammers and increase the trust of the website. As a compromise, you can allow posting a limited number of free ads, and charge the extra listings. An example of this model is Oodle.
- Transaction Fees. This feature is more characteristic of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, and Airbnb, but even some modern classifieds have adopted this monetization option. Thus, OfferUp takes its 7.9 percent from the transaction between buyers and sellers.
- Premium Features/Paid Business Account. If your website allows posting free ads, you can propose some advanced features to users who want to sell quickly. However, people are not very willing to pay before they try, so you can either provide a free trial period or explain what unprecedented value they will obtain subscribing for a premium account.
For example, our project NoCowboys allows users to register a ‘Business’ account which gives users extra freedom in managing their information and viewing analytics:
- Highlighting their listings and displaying them higher than unregistered competitors
- Sending email notifications about new ratings added by customers
- Emailing customers directly
- Showing their services advertisements on the unregistered competitors’ pages
- Inviting customers to write feedback and giving them the opportunity to respond to feedback, telling their side of the story.
- Google Ads. Dedicate a space for Google and AdSense ads to draw extra profit from clicks. However, do not overuse such ads not to turn the website into one big blinking Christmas tree. Here you cannot control the content of how ads appear like you can with sponsored ads.
- Sponsored Ads/Featured Listings. While most of your functionality can be free, including ad posting, you can display Sponsored ads and banners above all the other ads to attract attention. Still, as few users pay for the promotion, this type cannot be used alone and needs to be combined with other monetization types. The last two types are the source of revenue for the OLX portal: