How Does Craigslist Work?
By Shelley Frost
Craigslist is an online classified ad website divided into different city areas. Users post ads in categories including Services, For Sale, Jobs, Housing, Community and Personal. Basic knowledge of Craigslist allows users to interact with one another safely.
Craigslist divides its ads into several different categories. Anyone can post an ad with or without a Craigslist account. Creating an account allows you to easily access all of your postings to revise or delete them. Without an account, you receive an email after posting with links to modify the ad. Click the Post to Classifieds link at the upper left corner of each page on the Craigslist website to create an ad. Fill the template fields including Posting Title, Posting Body and additional details such as Price and Condition. The ad may take a few minutes to appear in the category on the selected city's Craigslist page.
If you're interested in browsing the Craigslist ads, select the closest city on the right side of the Craigslist page. The main page of your city's page shows the ads organized under main categories. Subcategories appear below to help you find the specific items you want. The For Sale section includes categories such as Antiques, Appliances, Books, Furniture and Jewelry. Click on the desired category to see a list of ads posted from newest to oldest. You have the option of sorting those ads by price instead of chronological order. You can also see the ads from the selected category represented as expandable info-bubbles on a map based on the buyer's location.
Responding to Ads
On Craigslist, all negotiations and transactions happen directly between the buyer and the seller. An interested seller contacts the person with any questions, then eventually may commit to buy an item and make arrangements to meet. Read all of the ad details before responding. Each Craigslist ad features a Reply button in the upper left corner. Click the Reply button to show all of the contact methods provided by the poster.
Craigslist provides a service that masks the seller's email address so it appears as a Craigslist email address and any mail sent to the address, Craigslist automatically forwards to the seller's personal email address. Users choose if they want their actual email addresses or the Craigslist version to show when creating the ad.
Since you interact with strangers on Craigslist, take precautions to protect your identity when inquiring about an ad. Plan to meet in a public location, such as a busy parking lot. In some neighborhoods, police stations encourage Craigslist users to meet outside the station for transactions. Take someone with you or tell another person where you are going. If the situation seems suspicious, trust your instincts and leave. Never wire money or pay for something before meeting with the person.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.