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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Frank Minder

Frank Minder GM

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$5 craigslisting for dealers, boost or bust

Ok, why would any website drive away content contributors? Even with all the spammers, over listers, scammers and so on, Craigslist is a content monster. It has a walking ton of content for the bots to consume to orgasmic levels. The idea of curtailing this can only be driven by one thing, increase cash reserves to look better for investors. You see, even if they loose millions of listings, the remaining listers are paying up. This means instead of collecting nothing from millions of content drivers, they collect thousands from customers. Would you rather invest in customers or content? That's right, customers. The problem is, you can't take a FREE site and convert it to a pay to play site. You see as the content level dramatically drops so too does the unique visitors. Poeple like to have a giant selection not a limited slection from dealers who are the most expensive retailers to offset the cost. So, as a short term gain, good job Craigslist, as a business plan, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! The only people that will absolutely benefit from this move are the Auto Trader.com, Vehix.com, cars.com, you get the idea. Mark this blog, I say this move will not hold.

Jared Hamilton
Frank - Im not sure I agree with your logic. Reducing content does not necessarily correlate to unique visitors. Too much content, especially if there is lots of spam, makes it hard for the user to find what they want and pushes users away. Craigslist move is obviously to improve their quality. They have a huge audience, and i bet they will get a more engaged audience through this move. In fact, this move brings them into more competition to the traders and cars.coms of the world... I bet this move will not only hold, but it will increase. There has been debates for years about why craigslist does not do this in more areas (or verticals) and the answer may be that they are now going to start growing opportunity by opportunity.
Mark Hoffman
Frank - You are making the assumption that Craigslist is profit motivated. They are not. At least not in the same way that you and I probably are. Their founder, Craig Newmark, has made it abundantly clear he isn't interested in gobs of cash, investors, IPOs or the like. So this move isn't about making more money. Content levels will drop, but is that a bad thing if the bulk of the content is dealers spamming and over-posting the same cars over and over again? And then posting that same car to 6-8 different regions? This move is about increasing the quality of the content by getting rid of the spammy dealers who abuse Craigslist by posting their entire inventory 3-4 times a day to multiple regions. It's obnoxious behavior like this that has caused Craigslist to implement this policy. Some dealers will be upset that their free marketing tool is going away, but many more dealers are thrilled by the change because it will increase the number of views that their postings receive. It's a level playing field; everyone spends the same amount of money to advertise a vehicle. No more free spamming and that is a good thing for dealers and consumers. So not only will this change stick, it will be present a significant opportunity to most dealers.
Jared Hamilton
I completely agree with you mark. This move is a fantastic one for dealers. Its much better to pay $5 per car for good exposure to good customers then get free access to get buried in a pile of spam. This will be a good move for dealers.
Matt Watson
As a major decision maker at my dealership, this has become quite the obstacle! Depending on your inventory count, your market, and your posting agency you could be looking at a sudden 300-400% cost increase - scary. We will be cancelling simply because we know we can achieve a higher ROI on other lead providers. I'm definitely keeping my ears open to see how the return is with fewer dealers involved. We may just find ourselves back with them in the near future.
Mark Hoffman
Matt - Because CL has been free, most dealers simply post all of their inventory on CL, regardless if it really made sense. There are some types of inventory that just doesn't move well on CL, but it didn't matter if posting cost the dealer nothing. Obviously the "shotgun" strategy isn't an option any longer. So with the change, dealers will need to be more focused about what they are post. However, for those vehicles that they post they are almost certainly going to get more page-views and that should increase the number of qualified leads that are coming in. It will be interesting to see the kind of return dealers are seeing for a $5 posting. If you send a vehicle every week to CL that is going to cost roughly $20/month. For that $20, what kind of leads are you going to get? I'm going to guess it's going to be a good return. However, I'm a math guy myself and I like actual numbers and metrics. That's why we're working on tools to allow dealers to see what kind of return they are getting on Craigslist. Then, they can compare the CL spend to what they are spending on AutoTrader, Cars.com, eBay, etc and make an informed decision instead of just guessing what works and what doesn't.

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