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Question about non-responding replies to Craig's list posting
March 12, 2007 8:22 AM   Subscribe

I have a question about replies that i got to a craig's list forsale posting.

I dont use the list much. But I recently posted an ad for a furniture, twice. I noticed I would get replies asking if i still have the unit and they are interested etc. I then reply saying yes and they can come by and look at it. After that I dont get any replies. This has happened with multiple responders. I even tried contacting them again from an alternate email address thinking may be my email was being blocked or something. It was of no avail.

Can somebody who is better familiar with craig's list tell me what is going on. I reposted the ad twice and at least one of these people(or bots) replied to both the postings. I did not include my email address in the post. Are they trying to get my email address for spam, etc ? Or is it just coincidences.

thanks
posted by flyby22 to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Craigslist is just full of flaky people. They found other furniture or something, and felt no moral obligation to write back to you to say "no thanks."

Post again, and try lowering your prices. That's one problem with selling on CL: people basically only shop there to get a bargain, no one ever wants to pay anything like the full market price.
posted by rkent at 8:35 AM on March 12, 2007


If it's still available, it isn't in high demand, which means it sucks, which means they don't want it.

Instead of saying "yes, you can come by and look" say "it's still here, but maybe not for long--you better hurry if you want it". If you don't mind lying, mention the several people who have expressed interest.
posted by DU at 8:50 AM on March 12, 2007


Are there photos of the item? If the item isn't rare or expecially cheap or in demand in some other way, having to come by to look at it might be leading to flakeouts because it's either too much hassle or it sounds dodgy. (I'm wary of any situation where I have to go to a stranger's house, so the item would have to be really something I wanted if I was to do that.)
posted by xo at 9:02 AM on March 12, 2007


No-shows are but one level of Craigslist hell. Other levels include people who offer items in trade even though your ad specifically states "no barter," people who relay convoluted sob stories, the punchline of which involves you giving them the item for free, people who want to telegram twice your asking price if you'll write them a personal check for the difference, and people who want you to deliver the small, expensive item you're selling to a darkened parking lot at 1 a.m.

In my occasional craigslist sale classifieds (two cars, several large items of furniture, some random tech gear), I've noticed signal to noise = ~1:20 responses.

I hadn't thought of the email harvesting angle, but then I've always used disposible accounts each time I've posted there. It's not unlikely. Was it the same email address who responded to both of your ads?

If you haven't already, add photos to your listings. Especially for furniture.
posted by jamaro at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2007


There is nothing nefarious going on. I've emailed about craiglist items, and after I checked availability, I've asked Ms Mediaddict whether we should buy it. Often we decide "no", and I have occasionally forgotten to get back to the seller.

If you held a garage sale, and someone looked at an item and then put it back down, would you wonder "what the heck are they doing?"
posted by mediaddict at 9:26 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


This has happened in the opposite direction in our case. We'd spend huge amounts of time emailing people about their places for rent with no replies whatsoever, and no removal of the ad once it was (presumably) rented. We just decided that some people don't feel it's important to return emails. When I've sold items, however, I make sure to email everyone who's shown an interest and take the ad down/mark it sold. Clearly people see their obligations differently. I second DU's suggestion in response.
posted by monkeymadness at 10:03 AM on March 12, 2007


I posted an item a few weeks ago, and emailed/phoned a few flakes for two days. I then had to leave town, so I emailed everyone I had talked to (bcc) and told I was going to relist in five days, first come first serve.

I relist the item, and two high school kids are at my house within three hours picking up the item. I then get an email from one of the original people, and I reply that the item was sold, sorry. From then on I got no less than 6 or so nasty-gram emails from this person, full of foul language and vitriol about how I sold it out from under them. A few had threats too.

I think they spread my email around to spammers too, becuase I have seen a huge increase since this.

Craigslist: Flakes, freaks, and a few bargain hunters
posted by Big_B at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2007


i did post photos of the item. Just that I usually let people know if I am not interested when I do similar inquiries. Since it happened with every single replies I received, therefore I was a bit surprised and got little suspicious. Always curiious to hear about latest scams and phishing schemes thats going on. :)

Speaking of no shows, last year when we were trying to sell my wife's furniture on craigs list we had some bad no show experience just before our move.

Freecycle always works, because everybody loves free stuff :-)

I seem to have had better experience with ebay. But then again I am a casual seller and not a pro. If shipping was not a hassle I would have rather sold it on ebay.
posted by flyby22 at 10:36 AM on March 12, 2007


Seems like an awful bother to go through to harvest an email address.
posted by mkultra at 11:25 AM on March 12, 2007


Actually I think there may be something nefarious going on: specifically, spam harvesting.

I recently posted an ad for a room-for-rent on Craigslist DC, and was inundated by nonsensical replies from outside the US, generally written in poor english and asking vague questions about whether the room was available.

I didn't think much of it, until I got the exact same message multiple times, from different addresses. Right down to the same misspellings.

Here's my theory: someone, or multiple someones, has a bot that goes through CL and harvests the anonymized email addresses. Then they send out generic emails in order to get you to reply from your real email address.

You reply, and bingo: they've got your real email, and they know it's an active address, with a real person at the other end of the line, which are the best kind of addresses to have, if you want to sell lists to spammers.

Watch for an increase in spam, particularly stock-pump spam, in the near future.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:44 AM on March 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


flyby22 writes "Freecycle always works, because everybody loves free stuff :-) "

Even though I post photos I'm having a problem with no shows on freecycle. Doubly irritating 'cause the only reason I'm freecycling the stuff is I'm moving and I've got a time crunch happening.
posted by Mitheral at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2007


kadin2048, that was my suspicion. in my case I see email from same sender with exactly same message body.

Mitheral, yes i would be lying if i said i have not had no show problems with Freecycle and somehow they seem to happen just when you really need to get rid of stuff. However, the percentage of bad experiences with craigs list has been higher for me.
posted by flyby22 at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2007


I agree that mostly it's just the nature of Craigslisters, but how are you phrasing your reply? I've written sellers asking for further info, and if they sign off saying something like, "Drop me a line if you're still interested," and I'm not interested for whatever reason, I usually don't write back.
posted by amarynth at 1:19 PM on March 12, 2007


CL: people basically only shop there to get a bargain, no one ever wants to pay anything like the full market price.

What people are willing to pay is the full market price.

Instead of saying "yes, you can come by and look" say "it's still here, but maybe not for long--you better hurry if you want it". If you don't mind lying, mention the several people who have expressed interest.

If your price is right, you won't have to play funky mind games with buyers. You might be able to extract a few extra dollars with a tactic like this, but it probably isn't worth your time.

Are there photos of the item? If the item isn't rare or expecially cheap or in demand in some other way, having to come by to look at it might be leading to flakeouts because it's either too much hassle or it sounds dodgy.

Yes. Also, in urban sprawl cities getting to the seller's location can be ridiculously arduous. So, along with photos and a great description, put a good approximation of the location and details about viewing times, meet-up, or delivery.

Here's my theory: someone, or multiple someones, has a bot that goes through CL and harvests the anonymized email addresses. Then they send out generic emails in order to get you to reply from your real email address.

If you can't learn to live with spam, you should probably quit using email. Spam is much easier to deal with than telemarketing and direct mail, so I have trouble understanding the paranoia..

Even though I post photos I'm having a problem with no shows on freecycle.

I think they are just a different kind of flake.. I have great luck with BST forums and Ebay (under 10 problems in ~500 transactions). Freecycle and Craigslist have been okay, but they are a little less professional (if that is the word).



If you post good prices, and you are selling good stuff, people will buy. Serious buyers (dealers, "bargain hunters", or whoever) are going to respond faster than the general public, but if you want fewer flakes, you should be looking at this as a feature.
posted by Chuckles at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2007


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