By Mike Wilcox
Classified ads, long a moneymaker for newspapers, went away some time ago. They were the victims of free services like Craigslist and others that tried to emulate Craig Newmark’s success.
But like the old saying “what goes around comes around,” classifieds seem to be making a comeback. This old newspaperman couldn’t be happier.
I have to admit I’ve used Craigslist to sell vehicles, furniture and even a house — well, tried to sell a house. But lately, if you’ve tried, you will notice Craigslist is mostly scams and fakes.
A couple of months ago I advertised a couch and dining room set on it. I expected to receive responses from numerous potential buyers because these were relatively new pieces at a very low price.
I got responses all right — at least a dozen. But every one was from an unrecognizable area code seeking more information, so, I suppose, they could try to hack my email.
As fate would have it I didn’t sell my furniture, but my email was hacked. So there I was with a storage shed full of furniture and an email that was sending cryptic messages to friends and business associates.
Thanks, Craigslist. I don’t know how many friends opened the email that was sent on my behalf. I hope none and sincerely apologize to those who got caught up in the hacking scheme.
At least I am still alive. That can’t be said for the two guys who used Craigs-list to set up a meeting for a drug purchase. No sirree, those guys traveled to a WalMart parking lot in a strange town to make a purchase, only to be gunned down. You hear of Craigslist horror stories all the time. It’s just not a safe site anymore.
Craigslist has essentially become useless if not downright dangerous for most users. The same with other copycat sites. So many fakes and scammers it’s almost impossible to ascertain who is real.
Enter newspaper classified ads. You needn’t worry about scammers with a newspaper classified. Yes, it might cost you some change, but the ad is going to local people who actually are real. You will most likely get results, again because those responding are in your community.
I won’t say we haven’t had our share of attempted scammers. Every week I get a suspicious email or two seeking pricing on a help wanted or puppies for sale inquiry. You can tell they are suspicious or fake from the improper English they use when making the inquiry. I’m sure other publishers, just like me, send them to the trash bin.
What I’m saying is newspaper classifieds (particularly those in this newspaper) are screened and double-checked for authenticity before they make it to your eyes. You needn’t worry about scams. It is a very safe way to sell and purchase goods and services.
That is why more and more people are turning to their local newspaper to connect with buyers and sellers. Newspaper classifieds are making a comeback. Next time you have an item to sell, give us a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.