Moves to PAID ADS in most Categories
At one point in Time Craig’s List was a TOP 10 Alexa Ranked site.
Then they had the cops harass them about escort ads and bad news about serial killers stalking personals and the traffic dropped CL out of the TOP 100 on CL.
Job Ads have been the way CL subsidized the costs to operate the servers for years.
Now the huge spam categories of incompetent local companies that filled up Services a once FREE category is nearly empty. The reason, it is now $5.00 to spam CL with bullshit service ads.
It might actually make CL a better place to find competent service oriented companies in my opinion since a company now has to have at least $5 bucks to put an ad there.
Over the years some of the Internet Marketing Companies I founded for stuff like SEO, SEM, PPC and even Web Design have used CL but the quality of the leads were broke ass local startups and broke companies.
So while we did use it to a minor degree, most of our clients came from networking and some from on-line marketing, such as Paid Ads and in the old days a lot from organic SEO.
Organic SEO dramatically changed many years ago and now with mobile devices accounting for over 75% of searches with Google, if you don’t have a PPC ad in first view on-line marketing is almost impossible for local companies. Organic position matters very little for local companies, none of it is first view and with PPC all first view then maps, it’s the bottom of the page for Organic SEO spots and with the ever changing rules and demands on Google for what it now takes to get to page one in SERPS, most organic for local searches now are national portals such as that crap Angie’s List site and other websites that spew thousands if not millions of pages into over saturated portals.
National Companies can still see some results from costly organic SEO work, but the cost for most local companies trying to find a real SEO Guru means they spend more on SEO than PPC will cost them and PPC is the #1 way to generate potential new clients for local companies. PPC ads and MAPS are how you see results now from IM.
So we will be one of the first companies actually paying CL for ads in their Services cateogry, maybe the results will improve, maybe we will just get more calls per post from the usual bottom feeders looking for low priced crap on CL.
But unlike most IM leads, people are LOOKING for what you do on Craigs List just like Google. People are not looking for what you do on FB or Twitter. So social media is a complete flop for local companies. Sure a few local companies have built followings using social media, but that’s different than trying to just buy their ads. If you have say a restaurant and you give people shit to follow you on say FB then you are in their time line, but you used the power of your own traffic to use Facebook the best way a local company can use them. Restaurants see people sometimes every day, or weekly or monthly. A local service company rarely sees the same customer. How many times do you see your plumber or roofer or lawyer? So for these local service companies social media is a flop. When you need a service you LOOK for it, usually on Google so PPC ads in first view on mobile devices WORKS as do maps. People LOOK for shit on CL as they do on eBay, cheap crap. Some look for services on CL and almost no one looks for a service on ebay.
No one looks for a service on FB or Twitter or Youtube, so for small local service companies all of it is BULLSHIT marketing.
Maybe national companies can grind out results from social media but other than restaurants and say bars on FB the fact is I’ve never seen any local company other than food or booze related do well on FB.
As to cost, well clicks for most local companies on PPC ads such as Adwords with Google now cost over $5.00 per click. Most companies are happy to see 5% lead ratios from clicks, we’re pros so we see 20% to over 50% from our paid ads. The industry norm from PPC response ratios is less than 3%.
If we get even one lead per CL post, it is way cheaper than buying clicks at $7.00 to over $20.00 for our services that Google now gets.
FREE was great but it created a swamp of fake and bullshit companies saying they could do what we do and 99% of them had no skills to do high end elite SEM and SMM work or website design work and business video production.
So if you are doing IM (Internet Marketing) for your local service company, you might want to test some quality ads (get a designer to make them up) that will cost ONLY $5.00 with CL to post, and see if having so few companies now filling up their Service categories results in more leads for your company.
Lawyers in niche categories such as Personal Injury Law now pay over $100.00 per CLICK on Google so $5.00 ads could find way more potential clients for any business than expensive PPC marketing ads cost.
Sometimes FREE is not better especially in business, if results show us we get potential clients at $5.00 a pop per ad we will start buying CL in all the top markets.
It might be CL finally found a way to monetize their traffic, it’s still a very busy site, and without all the clown spam ads in Services it might not be such a sewer now.