how does craigslist make money

How Does Craigslist Make Money?

You may have come across “Craigslist” at some point in your life, and you may have questioned, “How exactly do these free websites generate revenue to remain in business!?”

Well, we’re here to ease any of your doubts regarding the enigma of “How does Craigslist make money”!

How Does Craigslist Make Money?

Craigslist makes money from various revenue streams like paid Craigslist ads/paid listings, craigslist TV, its own documentaries, and search engine advertisements.

Let’s examine each of these sources of income in more detail:

Paid Advertisement/Paid Listings

This is one of Craigslist’s most significant sources of income and makes up the majority of its earnings!

It’s really simple to advertise on Craigslist, and their small advertising expenses which usually vary between $5 and $10, give it a very reasonable pricing structure!

Now let’s talk about the fees in detail. Generally, there are no platform listing fees, but there are some exceptions. Here are some of them:

  1. Job ads/Job postings/Job listings in the United States and selected CA areas — $10-75 (fee varies by area)
  2. Apartment rentals in Boston, Chicago, and NYC areas — $5
  3. Commercial real estate in the US — $5
  4. All for sale by-dealer categories in the US — $3-5
  5. Cars/trucks by-dealer in the US, Vancouver BC — $5
  6. Furniture by-dealer in Vancouver BC — $3
  7. Cars/trucks, RVs, and motorcycles by-owner in the US — $5
  8. Gigs in US and selected CA areas — $3-10
  9. Services in US and CA — $5

Source: Craigslist

Craigslist TV

Another smart source of revenue for Craigslist is Craigslist TV. But exactly what is that? It’s a YouTube channel run by the Craigslist company that showcases the weird, wild, and wonderful stories of craigslist users.

These YouTube videos showcase ads from different sponsors that get displayed either in beginning or during an episode to monetize it.

PS — Their YouTube channel isn’t really active right now, but it used to be a significant source of cash in the past.

Search Engine Advertisements

This is another significant source of income that brings in some good money for Craigslist. A marketing strategy known as search engine advertising (SEA) includes inserting digital ads and banner ads into search engine results for targeting potential buyers.

Pay Per Click (PPC), Pay Per Impression (PPI), Cost Per Mille (CPM), and Pay Per Sale or Action (PPS/PPA) programs are the three main ways that brands are charged for this service.


In-house produced documentaries on Craigslist users have aired in a variety of media. The copies of these documentaries are sold as DVD copies, which adds to Craigslist’s overall earnings.

History Of Craigslist

Craig Newmark founded Craigslist in 1995 as an email distribution list for friends that featured local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was the year that Craigslist officially launched.

A year later, in 1996, it switched to being a web-based business, and in 2000 it began to grow to other American and Canadian locations. In 2000, the Craigslist website added 9 more American cities, followed by four each in 2001 and 2002, and 14 in 2003.

On August 1st, 2004, Craigslist started charging $25 as job posting fees on the Los Angeles and New York sites.

In the following four years, in March 2008, Craigslist added Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese to its system and grew the number of locations it served, reaching over 700 cities and over 70 countries by 2012!

After all of its online success with its website, Craigslist entered the realm of smartphones in December 2019 with the release of its very own app for iOS and a beta version on Android.

When it comes to setting new benchmarks and records, Craigslist has some of the most attractive stats out there.

The website receives about 20 billion page views per month, placing it 72nd overall among all websites. It is ranked 11th overall among American websites, thanks to its 49.4 million monthly unique visitors from the US!

Craigslist is currently the most popular classifieds service across all media, adding more than 80 million classified ads each month!

Also Read: How Does Twitter Make Money?

Revenue, Funding And Valuation

Craigslist’s revenue strategy is “quasi-socialist,” as Fortune correctly notes, emphasizing its focus on user-friendly features regardless of profitability. It is true that practically almost all of the platform’s features are available to consumers at no cost.

Even with a free business plan, it generated over a stunning $660 million as annual revenue in 2021, demonstrating that its entire Craigslist business model has been flawlessly executed!

The four-year trend of Craigslist’s yearly revenue is shown below:

Source: Statista

When it comes to the company’s funding, Craigslist has raised a total of $13.5M in funding over 1 round which happened way long back on Aug 14, 2004, after which there haven’t been any funding rounds.

Source: Crunchbase

Since Craigslist has not yet filed for an initial public offering (IPO), its exact worth is unknown at this time. However, Forbes believes that Craigslist is worth at least a staggering $3 billion based on the values of other publicly traded companies, like eBay.

Also Read: How Does Pluto TV Make Money?

Craigslist’s Competitors

There are several competitors for the Craigslist app in this market, and over the past few years, they have been giving it a tough fight. The top 3 sites that compete with Craigslist currently are as follows:

1. Decluttr

Decluttr is one such company that offers Craigslist serious competition when it comes to selling items.

It is among the quickest and simplest ways to sell things like DVDs, video games, books, and cell phones. Decluttr’s functionality is what makes it so well-known among users; all you need to do is scan your products, after which you can download the shipping label and send your items in.

Decluttr has reportedly paid out more than $300 million to more than 6 million clients globally and has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, according to numerous sources!

2. Facebook Marketplace

When it comes to Craigslist rivals, Facebook Marketplace comes in second.

Nowadays, more and more people are selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace, from cars to clothes to decorative home goods.

Over 2.91 billion people visit Facebook Marketplace each month or roughly 35% of the world’s population —  which demonstrates how large a platform it is!

3. OfferUp

The third-most recognized competitor of Craigslist, OfferUp, is a smartphone app that is used to purchase and sell products locally.

With over 20 million active users at the moment and revenue of more than 1 billion — it is one of the strongest rivals that Craigslist currently faces.

Also Read: How Does Discord Make Money?


Q1. Is Craigslist A Publicly Traded Company?

Craigslist was incorporated as a private for-profit company that is owned by Craig Newmark! Hence, no, Craigslist is not a publicly traded company.

Earlier, in the early 2000s, eBay tried to acquire the business but had to give up after a 7-year-long legal battle!

Q2. Who Owns Craigslist?

Craig Alexander Newmark a.k.a Craig Newmark, an American internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist is the owner of Craigslist and served as its CEO from its inception until 2000; Jim Buckmaster afterward took over that position!

Q3. How much money does Craigslist make?

According to Statista, Craigslist’s revenue increased by 17% between 2020 and 2021, and brought in a staggering $660 million by the end of 2021!

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