My craigslist Experience
I'm not a horse person but my wife and youngest daughter are. So once you get a horse it's not too long before you need a truck to move it from point A to point B. After many visits to local dealers I pretty much gave up on buying a used truck the traditional way; I'm pretty sure none of them are willing to acknowledge gas is already north of $4 a gallon and quickly heading to $5 or more. Who's looking to buy a truck in these conditions?! Me, unfortunately.
The newspaper ads and classifieds were pretty much worthless. Those just featured more dealers hyping their overpriced "bargains" and loads of junk from individuals, most of which were in far away locations and not worth the drive.
Craigslist still hasn't become a phenomenon in central Indiana. You'll find several new vehicles added each day but nowhere near the volume found in the local paper. I find that odd since it's free to place a vehicle ad on craigslist, so why wouldn't you? The biggest problem seems to be awareness. Most people around here still don't know what craigslist is. In fact, when I told my wife I think I may have found a great truck deal on craiglist, her response was, "why is our son Craig maintaining a list of trucks?". I love her dearly but she's not the most tech savvy member of the Wikert clan.
Speaking of that great deal... It turns out there's a guy on the south side of Indianapolis who specializes in repo vehicles. He got one recently where the owner missed a few payments, got tired of being nagged and voluntarily took the truck and the keys back to the bank. Mr. Repo keeps a fairly low profile and only advertises on craigslist. Smart guy. He works with virtually no overhead and generally flip his vehicles within 60 days of acquiring them.
This guy is reselling used trucks for about half the price you'd pay at a dealership. Think of the middlemen he's cutting out: The vehicles don't go to auction, they're not advertised in the paper and they don't ever enter the dealership pipeline.
I used to think craigslist's impact was limited to the newspaper industry, but when you stop and think about it, craigslist's ecomonic effect extends well beyond the classifieds.
From a fellow peer in the publishing industry (Ave Maria Press), I wanted to commend you on your insightful blog. It's one of my favorites and a "must read" in my feed reader.
I'd also like to say I really appreciated your post about the economic implications of Craigslist. I am an Indiana resident myself (unfortunately) and I echo your statement about Craigslist unpopularity in the area. It's a widely untapped resource.
Kudos and keep up the great blogging.
Posted by: Jillian Koeneman | June 30, 2008 at 02:46 PM
Craigslist is a pretty big thing up here in the Twin Cities. We were able to move a lot of old furniture and electronics pretty easily. The only issue we found was no-shows; over half the people who emailed and said they'd come to look never showed up. Since we ended up selling everything, I suppose that's not a big deal, but I was somewhat surprised at the number of no-shows.
Posted by: Mchael Miller | July 01, 2008 at 10:16 AM
I recently hired a guy through a craigslist ad. We posted in several places, but the quality of responses through craigslist was much higher.
Dude, a horse?
Posted by: Lori Cates Hand | July 01, 2008 at 11:40 AM
Jillian, thanks for the kind words.
Mike, glad to hear you've landed in a more craigslist-aware location.
Lori, yeah, I'll bet you never pictured me with a horse. Actually, I'm not around it that much, but my wife and youngest daughter are. Now that I own a pickup truck though I find myself more open to country music and mullets...
Posted by: Joe Wikert | July 01, 2008 at 12:15 PM
Happily, usage of Craigslist has picked up a lot in the past few years here in the Tucson area. Along with freecycle (which was actually started here in the Old Pueblo). A favorite site of mine from my Bay Area days, Yelp.com, has been slow to gain traction here, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking to review or find reviews of local services, establishments, activites, etc.
Posted by: Kat Meyer | July 01, 2008 at 03:04 PM
Hey, what is so bad about country music? Hmmmmmmm?
Have you never heard of Kenny Chesny's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy?"
Posted by: Sharon J. | July 01, 2008 at 06:16 PM
Ah, my good friend (and older sister) Sharon... Nope, I've never heard that song but I'm afraid that's the only stuff the radio in that new/old truck plays.
Posted by: Joe Wikert | July 01, 2008 at 09:10 PM
Yeah, Craigslist experiences for me have overall been greater than any other online shopping deal. Except for Amazon.
Posted by: Horse Classifieds | January 16, 2009 at 12:27 PM