Craigslist will charge auto dealers $5 per listing starting December 3, 2013

Here's the screenshot straight from their website.  The true question is "Will we stay or will we go?"  The fee is a nominal amount and a format that's already been proven in other categories, but what remains to be seen is if dealers are willing to pay for each ad, or if this change will push traffic back to other sites like eBay Classifieds and Backpage?  

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Here is the information to the specifics about the new plan.

5 Key Questions on the $5 Craigslist Posting


With Craigslist now going to charge $5.00 per car ad posted how do you feel this will affect your business? 

What do you plan to do to replace the lead volume that came from the free ads on Craigslist?

Will this change entice you to start using Craigslist again if you stopped because of the spammers who diluted the lead pool will be gone or maybe ramp up your advertising on Craigslist?

How much of a budget do you expect to set aside for your Craigslist advertising?

It looks like posting to Craigslist will be harder requiring another step because of the billing information needed.  So, do you plan on using any ad management software for your Craigslist marketing or do you plan on attempting to manage everything manually via Craigslist?

The 8 Year FREE TRIAL on craigslist is over! This change will continue to legitimize craigslist and clean up the mess of these spammers and duplicate vehicles and what craigslist refers to as "traffic leechers". This really isn't a change to the dealers that have embraced the 'Spirit of Craigslist" from the beginning. If you have been a dealer in the past that has been serviced by a company or has taken part of sending as many vehicles to craigslist as possible, you will need to think about one thing: "How are we going to replace the traffic and leads from craigslist"? If you are a company that has been leaching traffic and being dishonest with the dealers on where their traffic or leads were coming from, I am sure this is a scary change for you. As we all know, nothing in life is free. Although this is going to be painful for some, I predict that this is going to be the best outcome and I am happy that the craigslist team continues to move in this direction. For dealers who realize they are going to remain on craigslist (because that is the answer to where you are going to replace the traffic from the question above), I suggest doing the following now.

1. Get a budget in mind, work with your internet managers, vendors and/or software providers to establish this. This is going to depend on the size of your inventory/dealership and your internet department or sales people. A simple quick rule would be to start with all pre-owned vehicles under 42K.
2. Get your payment plan together. There are two ways to pay 1. By Post ($5.00) or 2. By Blocks of Post ($2,000.) blocks. The later is my suggestion for dealers that are going to have a budget of over $250.00 or greater per month. This change is coming on December 3rd, so for dealers who will be buying "blocks" of posts here is the application on craigslist:

I remember when TV was free when I was a kid, it was awful (those crazy little rabbit ears). Now my cable bill shows up every month for this thing that used to be free, not even an issue. Progress!

The fee is totally reasonable, certainly, and with its momentous traffic still a great value. However, Craigslist has blocked HTML tags now, so along with charging a fee, it is also eliminating all those templates that allow rich-media advertising on Craigslist, and links outside of the platform. Does that matter to anyone? Have your ads been affected by this tag block? What has happened to response as a result?


We saw an immediate drop in traffic but a tremendous growth in the number of phone calls.  Unfortunately there were so many companies trying to leech traffic that this became a necessary process.

Matthew Brown, the industry leading authority in Craigslist, would like to personally address your dealership on these matters and respond directly to questions dealers may have.  Please join this upcoming webinar to discuss the Craigslist changes and what they mean for your dealership.

click here to register

Looks like several updates have occurred on the craigslist FAQ:

Dealers who buy blocks of ads on Craigslist will be limiting the block purchase to one account, one section, and one market.  No discounts for blocks purchased!  Blocks do not expire.  If rates ever go up your block is guaranteed at the previous rate like the forever stamps from the post office.  Also, purchasing blocks will allow you to advertise without having to put in your payment information for each $5 ad and if you spend enough monthly with Craigslist you can apply to be invoiced monthly. 


Do you think buying blocks of ads is very advantageous and if so how much do you think you will spend on your first block purchase?

I am interested to see how many vehicles are posted in each market.  It has always been interesting to see how many pages of 100 vehicles post by day.  Craigslist will likely become more valuable real-estate than ever before.  Definitely something to watch!

I couldn't agree more Jason, I believe this next few weeks maybe months for Cars+Trucks by Dealer is The SuperBowl of craigslist; advertisers should get a lot of eyes!

We are 2 business days away from craigslist instituting a per posting fee of $5 in the cars and trucks by dealer category, and announcing the launch of an API, but there is almost no one talking about how they are going to handle it.  After visiting,,,,,, and, I couldn't find a peep about how this was going to be handled on their websites.  Aside from LotVantage announcing their webinar below the only other mention I can find about the upcoming change was on a Cargigi Blog entry here,, on Black Friday, but there were very little details.  I guess everyone is waiting to see what craigslist looks like on December 3rd. 
If anyone has feedback from their IMS on how they will handle the change, let us know.

Hey Armando, Exciting stuff!  Most of the dealers I talk to are excited about this change and view it very positively.  The dealers that are nervous are still trying to get their hands around what it means.  As we both know, most consumers will be unaware of this change and the experience only changes with "what inventory will be available to peruse".  When you say handle, I believe the only handling to do is to set a budget and back to business.  Dealers will have three payment options 1. $5.00 per post. 2. Block purchases (Min. of $500.00) 3. API access (for all volume posters).   I am sure that the vendors you mention will be holding their cards closely.  How do the companies that you are involved in plan on handling it?  The companies that have had discussions with us are saying "business as normal" for the most part.  My Best. ~M




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