Craigslist is like a free version of eBay, with categories for almost every conceivable product and service. It’s also a reflection of people’s needs and desires, and most of them center on relationships. That’s why three of the top four Craigslist categories are relationship related. In fact, until pressure from state attorney generals and advocacy groups prompted Craigslist to shut down its “Adult Services” category, all four top spots were in the area of relationships.
Casual Encounters: Sex sells and that’s what visitors to the “casual encounters” category are looking for. According to 2007 market research conducted by Compete.com, “casual encounters” was the second most popular Craigslist category in New York and Boston and it was in the top four in six more cities that were surveyed (“erotic services” was number one). This is based on the number of unique visitors.
Women Seeking Men: In the more companionship oriented “women seeking men” category, Compete.com discovered it’s the second most popular category in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. It also comes in third in the remaining cities that were surveyed. Once again, “erotic services,” which later became “adult services,” was the most active category in every city.
Cars + Trucks: When you leave the relationship categories, “cars + trucks” clearly dominates everything else in both page views and unique visitors. This is borne out by Compete.com’s research and the personal experience of MakeUseOf editor Tina Sieber. It’s also supported by the experts at “Bottom Line Secrets,” who say Craigslist is the best place to sell a car since it caters to local buyers who are reluctant to purchase vehicles they can’t test drive.
Men Seeking Men: When Compete.com took a closer look at the number of unique visitors and page views for every city in their survey, they found gay men were having an inordinate influence on the numbers. In fact, they average 20 more minutes searching posts than other users and view 50% more pages while they’re doing it. While “men seeking men” misses the top four for unique visitors in every surveyed city, except New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, it’s among the top four in most of them for page views. It’s also the second most popular category for page views in Los Angeles.
Stephen Bagg, “Craigslist’s Dirty Little Secret,” Complete Pulse
The New York Times Company, “Craigslist,” The New York Times Company
Social Media SEO, “Craigslist Will Earn $36 Million From Prostitution in 2010,” Social Media SEO
Jacqui Cheng, “Craigslist Adult Services Dead,” Ars Technica