A friend of mine prefers
to list her antique boats on Craigslist
instead of eBay. The other day we figured out why.  

Craigslist enables a discussion. 
Craigslist doesn’t just
encourage buyers to interact with sellers through other means, but requires it. Since there is no way to pay someone for
merchandise through Craigslist, a discussion must occur.  

Craigslist doesn’t make money
from a sale. In fact, unless you’re in San
Francisco, New York City, or Los Angeles, they don’t even make money from a

There’s nothing that
prohibits a seller from providing a buyer with an alternative product to the
one listed. In my friend’s case, a
customer might call about one boat and realize that a different boat better suits
their needs.  

eBay enables a transaction. 
Discussions must be
initiated through eBay (although they can be continued through other means). eBay makes money when people sell something
so they essentially force sales to go through them once an auction has begun. Auctions
are finite and specific – something is for sale, at a certain starting price,
for a specific period of time.  

Which one to use?
Craigslist works best if
you’re selling something locally, the transaction requires a face-to-face
meeting, the sales process requires an extensive discussion or clarification
(large ticket items, unique items), or a buying decision may not be possible
within a week. It excels in supporting a
relationship oriented sale. 

eBay works well when
buyers know exactly what they want (and sellers can describe precisely what
they have), when extensive personal interaction is not required, when the
process of transferring title is not too complicated, and when shipping is not too
costly or cumbersome. 

Is there an overlap? Absolutely! 

That’s probably why eBay
purchased a 25% interest in Craigslist in 2004.  Two great tools that provide valuable services! 

Where do newspaper
classifieds fit in to the mix?

Classifieds are usually
local and are more similar to Craigslist than eBay. 

That must be why
newspapers continue to worry about the potential of Craigslist!