Kijiji VS Craigslist-How To Pick The Best Site For Your Needs
Have you ever needed to post a classified ad? Back in simpler times, people used to browse their local newspaper looking to buy used goods or find a job. Nowadays, there are tons of classified ad sites to choose from on the Internet, and they can actually be really helpful if you’re looking to run an online business. Only a handful of them get much traffic, though.
Craigslist – A Mixed Bag
One classified ad site that you probably already know of is Craigslist. Though most popular in the United States, their website serves many countries around the world. You can buy and sell goods, make job postings, find a gig for yourself, or even look for love.
If your goal is to target people from the United States, Craigslist is a good place to start. However, the site is open to just about anybody, anywhere. You don’t even need to make an account to post there—you can edit your ads straight from a link that the site emails to you.
However, just as with any other popular and wide-open websites, there’s a dark underbelly that you should be aware of: Craigslist is filled to the brim with scammers. Though there are genuine users, the scammers riddle every section of Craigslist and ruin the fun for everyone.
And when I say every section, I mean every section. From fake job postings that lead you to spammy sites that will steal your identity to con artists trying to give you fake cheques for your merchandise, to fake prospective dates that try to push their scam dating websites on you.
You constantly have to be on guard when you use Craigslist. Keep in mind that anyone in the world can use it, and Craigslist’s abuse-prevention system is thin to non-existent. In fact, here are a few of the worst kinds of scams that frequently make it under the radar:
Buying a used car is never easy, as many sellers will stretch the truth, and you can never really know what’s wrong with the vehicle until you’ve driven it for awhile. This is even more of a problem when you’re buying from complete strangers on Craiglist. You need to be vigilant, or you may never even see the car that you paid for!
There are a few variations on the used car scam, but it basically involves con artists posting ads for cars way below market price. There’s usually some kind of story that the seller has to explain the “too good to be true” prices.
Once they have a buyer, they ask them to give the money (or a deposit) upfront through some shady payment system before they’ve ever met. Since the price is so low, many buyers relent—and, unsurprisingly, never receive the car or ever get their money back.
Ebay Phishing Scam
A common variation on the traditional phishing scam, this one starts when the con artist lures buyers to a Craigslist ad for a popular product. The price is great, but when the buyer contacts the seller, the scammer tells them that they posted the item on Ebay instead and sends them the link.
As you might expect, the link is not to Ebay, though, but rather a fake site that is designed to look like Ebay. The moment the hapless buyer puts in their login information and taps ENTER, the scammer has their login credentials for Ebay. This allows them access to the Ebay account, and possibly the buyer’s PayPal account if they are unlucky enough.
From there, the scammer can not only directly steal money from the victim, but they can also make fake Ebay listings from the victim’s hijacked account. Having many different accounts with scam listings reduces the chance that the scammer will get caught.
This next Craigslist scam is so common that probably everyone who sells products on Craiglist has been offered this fake deal at some point. It is so pervasive these days, that it’s actually slightly shocking if you don’t get one of these canned email responses if you try to sell a car or rent an apartment.
Basically, as soon as you make your posting, the vultures will swoop in. You’ll get an email from a scammer saying that they’re extremely interested in what you have to offer. So interested, in fact, that even though they don’t have time to check out the car, property, or apartment, they’ll forward you the money. How convenient, right?
In fact, they’ll give you a huge lump sum in a cheque. All you have to do is receive it, deposit it into your bank account, and they’ll come by later to pick up the item or move into the place you’re renting. What could go wrong?
Well, needless to say, there’s a catch. The scammer “accidentally” sent you more money than you asked. Whoops, you’ll have to take out the difference from your bank account after you deposit the cheque and send them the money. No big deal—except that a few days later, you learn that the cheque bounced, and now you owe your bank for all that money.
These are just a few of the common scams that you’ll find on Craigslist. Though there are great things about this site, like the fact that it’s so simple, it really is a con artist’s paradise for the very same reasons that it is so popular with legitimate buyers and sellers.
In addition, it has a few other glaring problems that make it less than ideal, in my opinion:
1) The Site is Outdated
There’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple, but Craigslist has barely changed at all during its entire lifespan. It literally uses the same basic design it had during the 90’s, with very small differences.
While some people like the simplistic retro feel, this is hard to navigate compared to more modern-looking websites. For example, it’s not always easy to filter out what you don’t want. Good luck using their forums, too. They might appeal to you if you feel nostalgic for those old bulletin boards of the early Internet, but otherwise, they are visually a total mess. It’s not exactly a treat for the eyes on mobile, either, though I do have to admit it is responsive at least.
This is all sort of understandable on a certain level. Craigslist has never been a company that focused on growth or profit, so they don’t really care about keeping up with the times. Their attitude seems to be more or less: “Well, here it is. Use it if you want.”
2) They Have Few Systems For Eliminating Abuse
The fact that Craigslist is an open site that anyone can use is only part of the reason it is filled with scammers. The other factor is that it is hardly policed by the people who maintain the site. Craigslist relies on users flagging posts that are made by people who are obvious scammers or who are breaking the rules.
The problem with that is that sometimes these bad posts never get flagged, and even if they do, the scammer can just go right back and re-post. Even worse, there are people who abuse the flagging system itself for their own ends. For example, if you post a service that you provide at a reasonable price, don’t be shocked if your competitors rush over to flag your post within minutes. There is no legitimate reason for the flagging—they just don’t want to compete with you fairly.
If you’re flagged enough times, the post is automatically removed. There is no human review process.
Since Craigslist is such a huge system, filled with scammers, time-wasters, trolls, or even just people who are honestly not a good business match, it takes awhile to get anything done. Let’s say you post a job listing—it’s going to take a long time for you to sift through the scammers as well as the people who just spam their resume to any job listing, even ones they aren’t qualified for.
The Best Alternative to Craigslist
Now, there is a solution to these issues with Craigslist—if you live in Canada, that is. One of my favorite classified ads sites is Kijiji. It may have a funny name, but it excels in a lot of areas where Craigslist is simply flawed. The main benefits, as I see it are:
1) Kijiji is Smaller and Safer
I’m not trying to be an Internet snob, but there’s something to be said for dealing with only people who live in a limited geographic region (Canada, in this case). Sure, this means that there may be fewer listings and less opportunity in theory, but it’s also much less likely to attract scammers.
Because you waste less time filtering through stuff you don’t want, I would say the benefits outweigh the small costs. In my experience, there are way fewer time-wasters trolling Kijiji. The team that runs the site also seems more on top of things.
For safety’s sake, you can’t post on Kijiji without making an account, which actually serves as a deterrent for casual scammers and trolls.
2) It’s Easier to Open an Account
While you can use Craigslist without making an account, you will probably want to make one if you’re going to be posting frequently. On Craigslist, you have to confirm your posts and your account with a phone number in most cases, which can be a hassle. With Kijiji, signing up takes just a few minutes and you don’t even need a phone number.
3) Posting is Faster
Just like making an account, posting is much more straightforward. You simply go to the category you want, and you can post an ad without any additional requirements.
4) It’s Way Easier to Navigate
One of the more annoying aspects of Craigslist is its poor navigation experience. The interface on Kijiji makes a lot more sense to me and is a lot cleaner-looking. The ads are listed vertically, with useful category tags on the left sidebar. Overall, it is less “busy” than Craigslist’s interface.
It reminds me of any other generic Web 2.0 site, to be honest. This doesn’t necessarily make it stunningly beautiful, but it does make it functional. If you can navigate a blog, you can navigate Kijiji.
Kijiji may not be as explosively popular world-wide as Craigslist is, but sometimes bigger isn’t always better. Within Canada, Kijiji is actually really popular, with hundreds of thousands of listings. More importantly, a large percentage of those listings are legitimate, and you’re much less likely to run into a con artist.
6) The Site Has a Good Reputation
Part of the reason why it’s so popular is because the site has a good reputation for being well-maintained and safe. Rather than taking an anarchistic approach, the people who run it take an active interest and you can report problems directly to them. In turn, this gives them good credibility, so people from all over Canada flock to the site a make listings.
7) It’s Free
Yes, Craigslist is also free, but I thought it was worth mentioning here. One of the ways to avoid scammers and to find a better-maintained system is to use paid classified ads sites—but this is unnecessary when you can just use Kijiji.
I use Kijiji for a lot of things, including advertising or even job offers. So far, I’ve had much better success than with Craigslist. Does this mean that Craigslist is a cesspool of criminals and should never be used? While, yes, it is a cesspool, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its uses. Obviously, if you need to make a classified posting and you want a wider audience, then Craigslist is absolutely the most popular site of its kind in the United States.
It just comes down to quality for me. Sure, Kijiji isn’t perfect. Some of its benefits are also its flaws—for example, the fact that it’s only for Canadian residents—but that’s the small price you pay for safety and convenience.