3 new online marketplaces better than Craigslist

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Once upon a time, Craigslist was a great idea. Post classified ads for free! Meet cool singles! Craigslist was stripped-down and straightforward. You could throw up text and photos, then take them down whenever you wanted. You didn't even have to post your email address.

Thirty years later, Craigslist is a ghost of its former self. Some sections are so saturated in misleading ads and near-pornography that it’s hard to tell what’s real. That’s why I’ve cover Craigslist from time to time.

If you are buying anything on Craig’s list, there are a slew of insider tips that you can tap or click here to skim through now. Also, if you're a seller, I have you covered, too. Tap or click here for Craigslist power tips to sell anything quickly.

As goes the internet, new marketplaces keep opening up, and I’ve been very pleased with many of these alternatives. You still have to be careful when exchanging money and commodities with strangers; you have to be doubly cautious when meeting such people face-to-face. However, if you're looking to make a quick buck – or procure that hard-to-find possession – you may try scouring these helpful sites.

Poshmark Guarantee

To start, selling on Poshmark is easy. You snap a photo of your item in the Poshmark app (or set it up via your account on the website), set a price, and wait for someone to buy it. Once the item is purchased, Poshmark provides a pre-paid, pre-addressed label to place on the box you mail the item in, and all you have to do is get the item to the post office or have USPS pick up the package.

To make these process more fun, Poshmark hosts events called "Posh Parties" within the app that allow you to list your items along with a theme or brand. This helps potential buyers find your listing.

Meanwhile, Poshmark puts “Posh Protect” on all items, guaranteeing refunds to buyers if an item has undisclosed damage, doesn’t match the description, isn’t authentic, or when the item delivered is incorrect or missing from the package. Finally, there’s the free “Posh Authenticate,” which authenticates items and offers shipping on purchases of $500 or more. This authentication

allows buyers to confirm they are getting exactly what they purchased, particularly luxury and designer items.

Unlike Craigslist, Poshmark buyers are guaranteed to receive what they paid for, and sellers don’t have to worry about unfair ratings or misdirected packages. Poshmark handles most everything.

Letgo for the locals

Part of Craigslist’s appeal is local shopping; many visitors can search their medium-sized towns, like Elmira, Pennsylvania, as well as the surrounding communities.

A close approximation is Letgo, which has the same geographic specificity but only lists items (not services).

As a seller, Letgo examines an original photograph of your item and builds your listing automatically. For example, if you're selling a laptop, the app will identify the item like a laptop and quickly categorize it, maximizing exposure to potential buyers.

When buyers come along, Letgo sets up a chat between the buyer and seller, allowing both to communicate without sharing personal emails or phone numbers. They can haggle for a price in a forum that records their negotiation. In the end, buyers and sellers meet in person and verify the quality of the items. The Letgo app doesn’t facilitate payment, so money is generally exchanged as cash or check.

Several fail-safes are unknown to Craigslist: Letgo sellers can be rated and reviewed, giving buyers the chance to warn each other about misleading buyers or lousy products. Also, Letgo accounts can be verified, meaning a person confirmed their identity via linking their profile with their Facebook or email accounts.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a classifieds platform that harnesses all the social media power of Facebook. The Marketplace is geared toward buying and selling in a local area, and the page automatically lists items from your geographic location to up to 100 miles away.

Marketplace only works when you’re logged into Facebook, which helps user accountability. You can view buyer and seller profiles at any time, although many of them may be private.

The disadvantage of Facebook Marketplace is that the quality of items isn't guaranteed. With only the report function and no user rating system, buyers in the Facebook Marketplace have to trust the sellers, which is the perfect recipe for a scam.

However, Marketplace also features Groups, where users can buy, sell, and trade within a Facebook group. Users there are accountable to admins, who can ban bad or distrustful sellers, and help buyers who’ve had difficulties contact Facebook. You may also find (actual, physical) yard sales, where you can browse items in a real-life environment.

Another advantage to Marketplace is what’s called “Swip Swap,” a feature that groups buyers and sellers together, usually by location (North Phoenix) or theme (military moms). Like Marketplace Groups, administrators can police bad behavior. Some of the groups are even set to private, so you need to ask for permission to join. The administrator will do some vetting of potential new members, making it safer than other sites.

If you’re on Facebook and never heard of Swip Swap, I have a guide to get you started on my site. Tap or click here to tap into this hidden marketplace on Facebook.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.