5 reasons you should use Facebook Marketplace instead of Craigslist
Facebook's classified-ad section offers a lot of benefits that Craigslist can't match.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Looking to sell some old or unwanted stuff? For a long time the go-to resource was Craigslist, which lets you post local classified ads free of charge. But I'm here to make the case for
Marketplace, which I find superior in nearly every way.
Indeed, I'd go so far as to say it's not only faster and easier than Craigslist, but also safer. Let's take a look at the various points in favor of Marketplace, after which you're free to tell me why I'm insane and Craigslist is better.
It's easier to create listings on your phone
Craigslist has no official mobile app, and while it's not particularly difficult to create an ad using your mobile browser, it's definitely easier with the Facebook app.
Indeed, here's the process:
Step 1: Tap in the "What are you listing" field and then choose Items for Sale.
Step 2: Add (or capture) photos.
Step 3: Fill in the remaining details, such as price, category and description.
Step 4: If you want, add the listing to any local for-sale groups you're already a member of (another perk).
Presto! You're done. I can typically get an item listed in about 60 seconds -- a little longer if it needs a more detailed description. Craigslist's interface is slower and clunkier, especially when it comes to adding photos.
Watch this: 5 reasons to use Facebook Marketplace instead of Craigslist
It's easier to browse listings on your phone
Similarly, the lack of a Craigslist app means you have to use your browser to access listings. That requires a lot more navigation, a lot of tapping as you view an item, go back to the previous page and so on.
In the Facebook app, one tap of the Marketplace icon lands you at your local listings, where you can immediately start scrolling through the available items. You can also quickly filter the listings based on location or distance, category and price. And there's a "free" button if you just want to peruse the giveaways.
Speaking of location and distance, that's another big Marketplace plus: You can specify a radius for your searches, not just counties like in Craigslist.
It's probably safer
For better or worse, Craigslist allows for total anonymity. You can fake nearly anything, from the item you're selling to your address and identity. (Indeed, this may be why the service has resulted in some very unfortunate crimes.)
Facebook Marketplace is tied directly to buyers' and sellers' Facebook accounts. Obviously those can be faked as well, but at the very least you can look at a person's profile, find out how long they've been on Facebook, check their previous Marketplace activity and so on. (You can also report them if something seems suspicious.)
Because of this accountability (of which there is zero on Craigslist), Marketplace should be the safer way to buy and sell items. There are no guarantees, of course, and I can't point to any data supporting this theory. I'm just saying, when someone attaches their name and face to something, they're less likely to do a shady deal.
Allow me to speak from both personal experience and anecdotal evidence. My success rate for selling items on Facebook Marketplace is about 70 percent. In some cases I've sold things the same day I've posted them.
On Craigslist, it's more like 25 percent. I have a few guesses as to why. First, there's the aforementioned ease of browsing items via Marketplace. On Craigslist, I don't think people browse; they search. So there's less opportunity for someone to stumble upon my item.
Second, at last count, Facebook had some 2.2 billion users. That's a lot of eyeballs, and while obviously only a small portion of them will be looking at your ad, it's a good bet there are more than will be looking at your Craigslist ad. It's purely a numbers game.
Add to that mix the greater simplicity of communication (see below) and higher accountability (see above), and I think you're definitely more likely to make the sale on Marketplace than you are on Craigslist.
You don't have to give out your phone number or email address
When you're dealing with strangers, you may not feel comfortable sharing your phone number and/or email address. Thankfully, Facebook allows for communication without revealing either of those details.
Instead, you get instant messaging by way of Messenger -- which, as it happens, also allows for phone calls. So you can easily communicate with the other party just as you would through traditional means, but without revealing any private info.
And that's it! That's my case for Marketplace over Craigslist. I just think the former is a better platform for buying and selling locally. Agree? Disagree? Hit the comments and tell me why.