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OfferUp vs. Craigslist: Which One Is Better for Selling?

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Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.

Which platform is superior for selling?

Which platform is superior for selling?

Is OfferUp Better Than Craigslist for Selling Things?

OfferUp is a free smartphone app that allows you to sell things locally from your home, much like Craigslist. Designed in 1995, Craigslist is a free classified ad website. The question is whether one is better than the other.

I've used Craigslist for several years for selling refinished furniture and other things from around the house. I've also used OfferUp quite a few times as a seller.

In this article, I detail some of the pros and cons of selling things on both platforms!

OfferUp Home Page

OfferUp Home Page

Personal Protection

Different sites have different degrees of security for protecting your identity while selling goods. Craigslist and OfferUp have two very different methodologies!

OfferUp: TruYou Verification

OfferUp verifies a profile through a driver's license and phone number, unlike Craigslist. You can also sign up on the app using your Facebook account too. Verification is usually completed the same day at which time a badge is displayed on your profile showing the account has been verified.

While verification isn't a requirement, it's a great feature because you can choose to do business only with verified accounts. This makes using the app feel much more secure and trustworthy.

Craigslist: Anonymity

On Craigslist, you can exclude personal information from your ad, allowing the buyer to simply reply to the ad itself, which is done anonymously via email, but this system is totally outdated by today's standards. In my experience, I sell things a lot faster when I provide a phone number in the ad. A serious buyer will almost always call me, at least that's been my experience selling things over the years.

The biggest problem with posting a Craigslist ad with your phone number is bots harvest the number and you end up with telemarketing calls. Never post your actual phone number digits in the ad. The trick is to type words instead of numbers, or a combination of the two.

OfferUp: Anonymity

The main advantage of using OfferUp as a seller is not having to publicly disclose your name, email, or phone number in your ad. Sales transactions and communication with the buyer are done anonymously, similar to meeting someone on a dating app.

OfferUp: Buyer Ratings

The seller can rate the buyer. The rating is then displayed in their profile. The rating comes in handy when deciding whether or not to sell your merchandise to someone. I only accepted offers from people who had a verified profile and a good rating.

Craigslist: What's a Buyer Rating?

Craigslist doesn't have any rating system as of this review update. You never know exactly who you're dealing with.

Is Craiglist still a valid marketplace, or is OfferUp a better option?

Is Craiglist still a valid marketplace, or is OfferUp a better option?

Posting an Ad

Both sites allow you to post ads quickly and efficiently. Which platform offers the best interface for posters?

OfferUp: Posting Ads

Creating and posting an ad on the app is fast and usually takes less than two minutes on your phone. Simply snap a picture of the items you're selling, upload them to the app, and write a brief description along with your sale price. When someone makes an offer on your items for sale you'll receive an instant notification with a "cha-ching" cash register sound effect, which I have to say is quite exciting.

Craigslist: Posting Ads

Posting an ad on Craigslist takes longer on your phone. It's pretty straightforward on the computer, but you'll have to take photos of what you're selling and upload them. You can also post ads repeatedly without them being flagged or removed, so buyers often sift through spam to find gems.

What are the key differentiators between OfferUp and Craigslist?



Ghost email, must post phone number if you want people to call

Identity verification available

Ad Posting

Easy, but with little gatekeeping for spammers

As easy as opening the app and snapping photos

Meet Up

Never know what you're gonna get

Buyer rating system allows for a degree of confidence in the purchaser

Offers and Meet Ups

In order to sell your stuff, you'll have to meet up with the buyer. The meet-up experience for both platforms is pretty similar with one key difference: Craigslist is flakier. Anyone who's sold things on the site would agree.

Both: Get Ready for Low Ball Offers

I've sold a lot of stuff on OfferUp, but similar to Craigslist, the app is loaded with people expecting ridiculously low prices, and typically, when you make a counteroffer these low ballers vanish. But there are also a lot of people using the app who are willing to pay a reasonable price for your items. I've sold quite a few things on the app. It is very popular with a large user-base, depending on where you live. In a big city, your ad will be seen by a lot of people, similar to Craigslist.

Both: Meeting for the Sale

On both OfferUp and Craigslist, you sell items locally, making arrangements with the buyer on where to meet for the transaction. I highly recommend not having someone come to your home if possible. Meet them during the day in a public place.

The only time I had someone come to my house was when I sold furniture, but the items were taken outside in advance and the transaction was done during the day.

No one ever no-showed me after making arrangements on the app. On Craigslist, it's a different story. I've dealt with many flaky people over the years, some of which never showed up. What I've learned to do is give people a two to three hour window to arrive for the items instead of an entire day. If they're serious, they'll show up.

OfferUp Product Page

OfferUp Product Page

Is Craigslist Worth It Anymore?

Using Craigslist is like stepping into a time machine back to 1998. The site literally looks exactly the same year after year. Although the site is ugly and totally outdated, it's still a good place to sell things locally, especially furniture. I prefer OfferUp for the speed and ease of posting ads.

I can post an ad in less than one minute using OfferUp. I can also see buyer ratings to help avoid doing business with shady people. I also don't like having to communicate with a buyer through email or have my phone number exposed to the general public.

Even though Craigslist is really old and no longer the only option for selling things, it does still have a massive user base. When you post an ad on the site it will be seen by a lot of people in a short amount of time. I remember posting ads and getting responses within the hour.

Craigslist has made policy changes for posting ads, but it's still free for an independent seller to post items for sale. They do charge fees if you're a business selling things.

And the Winner Is...

Craigslist is worth it if you're willing to put up with potentially flaky sellers. If you're a regular seller who hopes to generate a reputation with buyers, OfferUp is the way to go! It's easy to use and great for regular users.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use my desktop instead of my cell phone for OfferUp and Craigslist?

Answer: Yes, Offer Up has a website too if you don't want to use their app. I've only used the Offer Up app through my phone. For Craigslist, I've always used their website, but there are a few Craigslist apps available.

© 2018 Matt G.