Craigslist is a bastion of depravity and deals, home of the creep and the cheap… I’ve sold quite a few items on CL, mostly items that would be prohibitive to ship and thus I wouldn’t want to put on eBay. I’ve sold mostly furniture and gave away a few things like a queen bed frame. Selling items is easy, especially if the buyer can use keywords properly. If someone is looking for an IKEA dining table, using “IKEA dining table” as your search terms would bring up perfect results. The problem hits when you are searching for something without clear-cut keywords.
My example would be my current search for an inexpensive road bike. Sure, CL has a “Bicycles” section. Sure, I can set a maximum price of $400. Sure, I can only pull up results with a picture. Beyond that, my hands are tied. What terms do I use to narrow the results? Right now, that search brings up 855 results. I’m looking for a road bike, so what happens if I add “road” to the search? I’m down to a manageable 98 results but I have LOST potential bikes. The most basic of posts would just say “Cheap bike – $40” and boom, I wouldn’t see that bike.
How would I fix that problem? Since I’m only looking for bikes that have pictures, an image view for the results would be handy. I can quickly determine if the result is a BMX, mountain, cruiser or road bike. CL could also use categories, but most sellers would be too lazy to categorize properly. Having “bikes” versus “bike parts” would help tremendously though. Another solution would be the proper use of negative keywords so I could explicitly exclude the bike types I do not want. CL seems to only support a few of these keywords otherwise a “-mountain -BMX -kid -kids -women -womens -cruiser” search would work just fine.
The second issue is sizing. Some people use the proper frame sizing in their listing, others give a random dimension or even state the height of the person they believe the bike would fit. If you search for “56”, results that list “56cm” would not come up. Again, this is a seller issue, not a CL issue.
Third-parties have provided solutions, but CL blocks almost every single one. Yahoo Pipes had amazing results for CL searches, but BAM blocked. CL is not making money off these searches, but come on. They are basically just taking their ball and going home. They could easily partner up with a service like Pipes, having those search results also link to their for-fee services.
I’m just frustrated and want a cheap bike.