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Kelly Kleinman

Kelly Kleinman Digital Content Director

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Out Goes the Baby with the Bath Water: Craigslist Eliminates Personal Ads, Auto Leads Drying Up

 

 

The US gov't has closed down all eclectic classified sites that deal with questionable "personal" sections that may deal with sex trafficking.This means that vendors and dealers that list vehicles on Backapage.com, Craigslist.com, and others, are seeing a substantial drop off of traffic and auto leads, and it's being noticed by our industry. Apparently, people like to shop for cars while they shop for companionship.

Vendors that service dealers by listing inventory on Craigslist cheaply, also regularly posted inventory to Backpage.com for free, and got extra bang for their client's buck, especially when Craigslist started charging for automotive listings.  Whereby you'll get a lead in an hour, or at least in the same day by listing on Craigslist, Backpage, would list inventory for free, but you might see a lead show up the next day.  There was far less traffic on Backpage.com, but it was the wild west for hook-up ads, and did drive some leads because of that increase in volume traffic it inherited from Craigslist when Craigslist started to charge for listing inventory.

The Craigslist personal section drove a ton of traffic into the auto section and was apparently a robust source of automotive lead traffic.  That "cruising" traffic that provided healthy automotive leads, has hit a road block and now vendors that don't own their own classified sites on which to list their client's inventory are sweating it out, trying to figure out the most cost-effective alternatives to get inventory visibility, leads, and not lose a client.

DealerLeads.com has been inundated with inquiries.  They own their own classified sites (350 of them), and work on a performance basis which many dealers find attractive.  In fact, one of their sites, usedcarsforsale.com, is a totally free classified site for used car inventory.  Their spokesman says it's free for life so, I'll take them at their word.  It's certainly no Craigslist, but what is?  Still, their sites show up organically in the search engines so, if I were a nervous vendor or dealer who has been listing on a far less "busy" Craigslist, that would be a good place to start.  Anybody have any other cost-effective solutions?

Craigslist says bye-bye to personals:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, "FOSTA", seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

 

Sherri Riggs

It's interesting to see how trying to shut down one specific marketplace is affecting a completely different area. I wonder what other sectors are being threatened?

Kelly Kleinman

Hi Sherri, I doubt anyone saw this coming and your question is a great one, I wonder as well.  The way a riff in the force was detected was when various vendors who post to Craigslist (and by default Backpage.com) started reaching out to other entities that own their own classified platforms.    

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