What happens on Craigslist stays on Craigslist

As of November 6, 2013, the Craigslist For Sale sections no longer allow external links in ads. Over the past few months, Craigslist has made some significant changes to their For Sale sections and yesterday they made their biggest. It’s a change that will profoundly affect how many dealerships post on Craigslist.

No external links on craigslist

Craigslist no longer allow external links in any ads. A reader may cut and paste a text link, but that will obviously result in substantially less ‘click-through’ than previous ads. As with Craigslist’s earlier changes, this adjustment further reinforces that a post must contain all the relevant information for a vehicle.

What has Craigslist done already?

– No HTML images (all images must be uploaded to Craigslist)
– No HTML text effects (no hidden text, underlining, or color changes)
– Increased ghosting/flagging for suspicious ads

This creates a significant challenge for individuals selling used cars and especially automotive dealerships or other similar industries like Craigslist real-estate ads. Classified ads can go stale quickly as prices change and new information is added about the vehicle for sale. It’s not easy or scale-able to modify each ad over the time the product is available. Consumers will likely become frustrated with out-of-date information on used cars and used trucks available at dealerships.

Can cars still be posted on Craigslist?

Definitely. Craigslist is still a good place to post used cars for sale, but it will never perform as it did in the past. Posts should contain clear contact information and let consumers know the availability and price are subject to change. We think this adjustment will make automotive marketplaces like Mojo Motors all the more relevant. Craigslist is great for consumers because they can see the vehicles available from a wide array of dealerships without a complicated user experience or advertisements. Certainly there will be many fewer dealer posts as the process of managing the ads becomes harder. Time will tell if Craigslist commits to the change or reverts.

We’ll be watching this closely and look forward to any comments you may have.

Written by Dan Harman, VP of Sales & Marketing at Mojo Motors
Photo source: The Steve Laube Agency