When Craigslist realized that they provided better leads for used car dealers than any of the paid classified sites, they decided it was time to get paid for it. They are no longer free, but do, on average, provide better quality leads than the paid sites. Enter, by default, the new, slick looking "FREE" classified site Usedcarsforsale.com. It is fast becoming the "automotive industries go to classified".
They are currently signing 150 car dealers per week to the platform, with no end to their growth in sight. They are now posing such a threat that carsforsale.com will no longer "volunteer" to provide inventory feeds from their (cfs.com) clients to the Usedcarsforsale.com classified site. This in spite of the fact that they still provide those feeds to the other sites and had been providing those feeds to UsedCarsForSale.com for two months before the stoppage. Remember "fear the beard"? We now have "fear the free automotive classified site."
With the larger dealer groups jumping on board (Lithia Motors, Group 1, Larry H. Miller), I can see why some vendors might fear the "free". After all, once UsedCarsForSale.com reaches proper inventory counts per market, dealers will see results that may make them reconsider expensive classified pay sites. Search is still the dominant force in car buyer research activity, and "used cars for sale" in exact and broad match search queries, drives way over a million searches per month! It's inevitable that this classified site will be a top organic search ranker within the next several months.
How does UsedcarsforSale.com make money you ask? The answer is apparently via 3rd party vendors who use the platform to test a number of emerging technologies and pay for the opportunity. Dealers become the benefactors at no cost to them because the tab is picked up by technologists testing a variety of concepts to see what best drives serious, bottom of sales funnel car buyers into dealerships both online and into the lot.
One salesman at UCFS.com explained to me that the toughest thing they have to deal with is explaining that it's an absolutely free, basic platform and having the dealerships believe them. It's true, but some of the dealers they speak to are apparently so jaded that they can't conceive of a concept that includes the word "free". Imagine that.