Quantifying the pain of creating an advertisement on Craigslist

A lot of people don’t appreciate how much of a pain it is to make a listing on Craigslist. There are dozens of discrete steps involved, as I describe on my post about how to make an ad on Craigslist. I also reveal how much time it takes, on average, to create a classified ad. While 5-10 minutes may not sound like much, if you are emptying out your home prior to a move, or getting rid of a bunch of baby stuff, it’s a major hassle, as listing just 20 items with photos will take more than two hours.

One man we talked with had just this sort of experience. An MIT graduate student, he planned to move out of his student housing shortly after graduation. So he decided to put his stuff on Craigslist. Very quickly he realized that he would run out of time. The result? “I only listed the big stuff, like the sofa,” he said. “The small stuff, I either took with me or put it out on the curb.”

That’s a lost opportunity — he could have made a few hundred dollars if he had the time to sell the other stuff. It would have given value to other people, too. Instead, he only managed to sell a few items, and some of his belongings ended up in a landfill.


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