Craigslist Ads Suck

First I’ll say this: I love craigslist. The best-of list gives me hours upon hours of amusement, and a good portion of the ads are useful and make me want to actually call the person when I’m looking for what they’re selling.

But then there are the retards.

I’m sorta in the market for a new apartment – well, not really until the spring, but every now and then I glance around to see if there’s anything ridiculously amazing that would make me want to break my lease – and probably a new bicycle. My old (crappy, rusty) bike was stolen about 3 years ago in Ithaca when I foolishly left it unlocked in the open garage of the house where I was living one summer. I’ve been thinking for a while about biking to work. It’s only about 5 miles away, and I can avoid highways.

Anyway, I digress.

Some craigslist ad posters are morons. I’m perusing the SF-area bikes section today, and I come across this brilliant ad:

10 speed street bike call jeff [phone number]

What the fuck? That has to be the most information-free ad I’ve ever seen.

Well, ok, maybe that one’s not the worst. A week or so ago I was looking at apartments, and I don’t remember the exact ad, but it was something like this:

Beautiful 1 BR in lovely neighborhood. Call Jane at [phone number] to make an appointment to see the apartment at noon on Saturday, Sept 23.

Huh? How is it “making an appointment” when they’re telling you in advance the only time you can come? And what does this tell me? All I know is that it’s a 1-bedroom, and, from the ad title, I know the monthly rent and the town it’s in. Useless.

Now, I understand that some people don’t consider the internet (or perhaps just craigslist in particular) their primary form of advertisement, and would prefer that you talk to them on the phone or in person to get details. But I think that’s retarded. If you’re going to put up an ad for something in a place where they don’t charge per-word, give as much information as is humanly possible. When I’m looking at a housing ad, I expect to see:

  • The location. If you don’t want to give an exact street address due to privacy concerns, that’s fine, but I want to be able to figure out the location within a 1-mile radius at worst.

  • The size of the apartment, in square feet. Bonus points for giving the dimensions of the rooms. I’m looking at 1-bedroom apartments, for crying out loud - there are only 2 rooms!

  • Is this an apartment in a house, or in a complex? I guess for a craigslist listing, it’s likely the former, but I want to be sure.

  • Some detail about the rooms. Does it have wood floors, or is it carpeted?

  • What kind of amenities does the place offer? On-site laundry? Is it free? Is there a gym? Pool? Anything else?

  • Pictures. I want to know what it looks like inside. I generally like newer construction, or at least recently-renovated construction. Your apartment in a 40-year-old house may be, strictly speaking, clean, but if it looks old, I’m not going to want to live there. I’d also like a picture of the bathroom. I’m not a clean freak by any means, but a bathroom that looks dingy is going to turn me off about the place immediately. If the rest of the ad is decently informative, I’m willing to call for more info and maybe visit if there aren’t any pictures.

There are other things, probably, but I’m too lazy to think of them. The idea is: more detail is better. Too little detail and I’m not even going to bother to follow up. In a typical browsing session, I’ll probably click on 50-75 ads, and it’s not feasible for me to visit or even call for information about each one. I’m most likely not going to call unless I can already say from looking at the listing, “sure, I could live there”.