_______ is the New Craiglist
February 9, 2016 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Where do people go to buy and sell their junk these days? Is Craigslist really as dead as it seems?

I used to sell a fair amount of used camera gear on Craigslist here in NYC, and it always seemed that no matter how cheap or expensive or old and obscure and even useless the item was, I'd have at least a handful of people interested in it, along with just as many scammers trying to send me a money order for twice the value of whatever it was. All of the sudden that doesn't seem to be the case and I just can't seem to get rid of the stuff I list. It does eventually sell, usually, but it sometimes takes weeks. Right now I have a very new, popular, and expensive camera listed for a very good but still realistic price and have not received a single email or call. Has everyone moved on to something bigger and better than Craigslist and I just missed the memo? I'd rather not have to resort to listing it on eBay and dealing with fees and shipping.
posted by Venadium to Technology (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have been using Nextdoor to sell or give away crap, mainly because it's easier to get the word out to people who live in my neighborhood rather than the entire city.
posted by joan_holloway at 10:05 AM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

In my limited experience (in Toronto), CL is still the way to go...anything I've sold on there (mostly records and stereo equipment) was out of my house within a couple of days, max.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:14 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I still would use Craigslist to try to sell a camera, but I have also been using Nextdoor to both buy and sell. People are strongly encouraged to use their real names so none of that weird random texting with an unknown person that was happening on CL, and I haven't seen very much scamminess. Like way less noise. But the downside is you are reaching far less people.
posted by nanook at 10:23 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

In my town, there's usually a yard sale group. This is big.
posted by sandmanwv at 10:27 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Facebook selling groups. They are usually tied to a town / area and there are specialized ones for clothing / electronics / etc. Has the real-name benefits of nextdoor witha ton of users.
posted by momus_window at 10:27 AM on February 9, 2016 [15 favorites]

To elaborate on the facebook thing, a lot of groups are hard to find at first unless someone points you to them but "garage sale" and "free and for sale" are both good search terms to start with (along with a topic or location). Some groups also feature a mix of selling and general-interest; for instance, a decent number of people post furniture on gypsy housing in NYC.
posted by R a c h e l at 10:31 AM on February 9, 2016

Aside: if you haven't been on eBay recently, avoid. eBay takes their cut out of the item price + shipping now, instead of just item price. Combine that with users clamoring for free shipping (because Amazon gives them free shipping!) + .99 starting bids (or 4.99 item prices with free shipping) and it's just not worth it.
posted by RogueTech at 10:32 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes to NextDoor. Fewer people, but so much less noise.

There are a bunch of Facebook selling groups in my area - one for the city, one for our neighborhood, one for free stuff only. You might want to see if there is a Facebook group for specialty items like cameras, even if it's nationwide. It's annoying because you can't set alerts like Craigslist, and there's less random stuff, but there's far less noise and fewer scammers.

But in NYC for a camera - maybe your price is too high? Maybe there aren't enough specs? Maybe you live in a place that's annoying for people to come check it out?
posted by barnone at 10:33 AM on February 9, 2016

Craigslist still rules the roost around my medium sized city. If you're selling SLR related stuff, interest them them in general has gone down a lot (both digital and film), so that might explain some slowdown. You might look for local photography mailing lists or forums that allow for sale postings or put up fliers at universities with art departments. Craigslist pretty justifiably has a reputation for both the sellers and buyers being flaky (or possibly dealing in stolen goods), so unless the used price is substantially better than the refurb price and I have some level of comfort with the seller, I generally avoid dealing with it.
posted by Candleman at 10:34 AM on February 9, 2016

In my experience in Canada (or at least, Toronto and Ottawa), Kijiji is more popular than Craigslist. However I personally use Facebook groups way more than even Kijiji.
posted by barnoley at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Consider also that this is still the post-holiday season and people might not be ready to spend yet.
posted by danceswithlight at 10:49 AM on February 9, 2016

Kijiji is more popular than Craigslist where I am (Toronto)
posted by hepta at 10:50 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

My dude just bought an older-model laptop on Craigslist. Met the guy in person at a restaurant, tested it, it's fine, and the seller seemed happy too.
posted by amtho at 10:57 AM on February 9, 2016

I still use Craigslist, and just this week sold two cable modems I didn't need anymore. Having said that, however, for camera gear it doesn't seem the best option due to lowballers and tire-kickers.

I've had good results with the following technique:
- first image is a stock product photo unless I can take a REALLY good photo
- additional images include all model numbers, flaws, points of connection as applicable to reduce questions
- thorough description of condition and compatibility, including links in body to relevant product information
- write the copy in a brutally honest voice, conveying that I am an Actual Human Person and not a scambot
- include the line "Cash only. No bullshit." which reduces the frequency of non-cash offers and bullshit

What kind of camera is it? Is there a keyword you're not using or are you asking more than what B&H/Adorama/closed eBay auctions go for in comparable condition?
posted by a halcyon day at 11:26 AM on February 9, 2016

Overall, CL is still the place to go. There are others (as mentioned upthread) but their popularity seems to be pretty localized.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:29 AM on February 9, 2016

Craigslist is still the way to go in the cities I have lived in recently. There are at least a few apps people use for this now too though -- I get ads asking me to try Wallapop as well as OfferUp. Might be worth trying those.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:29 AM on February 9, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers everyone. I've poked around in the "virtual yard sale" Facebook groups in my area before but never really considered them for selling more expensive items. I'll give them a shot though.

The camera is a Sony A7R II, so not an SLR or older model or anything. Fairly new and still quite popular. The camera is actually brand-new and unused, and I've priced it for what B&H and Adorama are selling used copies for in comparable condition (full disclosure: I actually work for Adorama so I do have a pretty good idea of how to price these things), as well as what they're going for on eBay. I do usually go out of my way to make the text of the post to have been obviously written by a real actual human.

Anyway, thanks again for all the ideas.
posted by Venadium at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2016

The camera is actually brand-new and unused, and I've priced it for what B&H and Adorama are selling used copies for in comparable condition (full disclosure: I actually work for Adorama so I do have a pretty good idea of how to price these things), as well as what they're going for on eBay.

Do you mean that you priced it the same as what new ones are going for on eBay, or used? Craigslist is plenty active in my city (Pittsburgh) but I still use eBay a fair bit because the larger market means better prices. I detest eBay as much as the next guy, but even after the eBay and PayPal fees and shipping, I can almost always get more on eBay than I could hope to get locally unless I'm selling a very common item. If I sell anything at all specialized locally, I can only be confident of getting about 75% of eBay selling prices not including shipping.
posted by jon1270 at 12:55 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yep, FaceBook groups tied to a town/area.

Ours are weird: one kicks out new people who admit to not living in town but leaves in old members who are from elsewhere, while another one -- for the next town over -- has way better stuff for sale and doesn't care who shows up. (Also, the people in the first group are like 75% time-wasting noodges.)

And this past weekend in one group there was an old, overpriced iPod shuffle and also a $999 car. So…"land of contrasts" and all that.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:19 PM on February 9, 2016

The camera is actually brand-new and unused, and I've priced it for what B&H and Adorama are selling used copies for in comparable condition

My guess is that's too expensive, then. If the price and condition are roughly the same, I'm not going to deal with the annoyance of Craigslist or the potential for buying a lemon. I'd rather save the time/hassle of emailing and scheduling a meetup and spend a few more bucks just to get the thing from a real seller with free shipping (and usually some kind of implied purchase protection, even if it's only for 30 days.)
posted by barnone at 1:26 PM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yep Facebook.

I'm a photographer, there is a private FB group for local professionals here in SF that gets ton of traffic and people sell all kinds of stuff quickly. The attraction is obviously that the people in the group are vetted and aren't flakes. Everyone hates dealing with craigslist, dealing with randos makes it such a giant hassle and then you have to deal in cash with a stranger and hope you don't get mugged. I buy a lot of used camera and lighting gear and I'd rather just have B&H ship it to me even if it's not as good of a deal.

There is an equivalent group in NYC ("NYC Image Makers"). Ask your photographer friends.
posted by bradbane at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2016

Another vote that you may be overpricing.

Purchase protection is valuable; when I buy on craigslist, I tend to assume that I won't get my money back even if the product shows major issues a few weeks down the line. Not so for a used camera from B&H, which probably takes returns for at least 30 or 60 days. That's worth more than a "new!" sticker on the box.

While selling on eBay has issues, you'd almost certainly command a higher price because there is more purchase protection for buyers (even if that's a disadvantage as a seller) and because there is a bigger market.

I've heard people say they prefer buying from facebook than from craigslist for similar reasons - when you can see an actual profile, there's a bit more accountability.
posted by R a c h e l at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2016

I've priced it for what B&H and Adorama are selling used copies for in comparable condition

There is no reason why someone would want to buy this camera from you when they can buy a like-new camera from an established company for the same price. Yes, some people prefer "new" to buying used but they are not buying on craigslist or any other P2P selling site.

You are a stranger to these folks, they don't know that you aren't trying to scam them some way. And it's less hassle to just buy online and not have to figure out how to meet someone, have to go get cash, etc. You are charging too much.
posted by yohko at 2:36 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Venadium: " The camera is actually brand-new and unused, and I've priced it for what B&H and Adorama are selling used copies for in comparable condition"

B&H used stuff comes with a warranty from a reputable company. This is worth a significant premium over a craigslist item. And they'll take credit cards.
posted by Mitheral at 5:59 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

...and you don't have to take time to drive somewhere to evaluate and _maybe_ get the goods...
posted by amtho at 4:26 AM on February 10, 2016

I haven't used it, but NYC and DC are being blanketed by ads for Wallapop.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 10:04 AM on February 10, 2016

I've bought and sold some phones and tablets on glyde without issue.
posted by aerotive at 8:18 AM on February 19, 2016

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