Goodbye Craigslist

posted in: General | 40

As of February 2021 Craigslist has formally ended their license agreement with Yard Sale Treasure Map. This means the app can no longer automatically populate with Craigslist garage sale listings and the app will need to pivot to exist in a reality without Craigslist.

This decision from Craigslist came as a surprise considering how this app continues to make their own listings easier for buyers to access. I was not given a reason and I do not have enough information to even speculate. Throughout the 8 years that Yard Sale Treasure Map has operated under a license agreement Craigslist has always been quiet and distant. They did recently launch their own app; maybe this is related. Craigslist has denied my appeal for a new license agreement and there is nothing more that I can do. If you feel inclined, Craigslist has a contact form where they accept suggestions and feedback.

This app will continue to be a tool to help you plan and organize your yard sale adventure and I welcome your feedback to help with what comes next. As you’ll read below, your suggestions have been essential to making this app what it is today.

Your own pace

In general I can say that nearly everyone underestimates Yard Sale Treasure Map at first glance. This is by design– the app is intended to be simple and approachable, yet with increasing layers of complexity that allow you to discover advanced features at your own pace when you are ready. To the outside observer, it’s just dots on a map… but you and I understand that there is so much more to this app and to yard sale culture in general.

One of my favorite real-life examples is this app screenshot posted by Quest Collectibles a few years back. This business owner team regularly plans and optimizes a route to visit 15+ sales at a time to stock items for their store… incredible!

Various advanced features are employed here:

  • Keyword colors – markers automatically change color when specific keywords are matched in the sale details
  • Starred sales – 19 sales to visit were added to a route
  • Route ordering – the route was manually put into a rough ordering (drag/drop via the My Route menu)
  • Route Optimization – the app found an optimal path to visit the first 8 sales. It is likely that this user re-optimized the route in-flight to find paths to the later sales.

Shortly after this screenshot was taken the app was updated to support route lines and optimization for up to 24 sales; a map like this today would include blue lines connecting all of the numbered markers. Can you imagine attempting to visit 19 sales in a row without route optimization?

Making the app work for YOU

Before figuring out what comes next it’s helpful to revisit how we got to this point to begin with.

This app launched with a few simple features aiming to:

  • Save people time searching for nearby sale listings
  • Save people time and gas money getting to the sales

Originally this was accomplished by gathering sales posted on Craigslist, searching each listing for text that looked like an address (this was before Craigslist had map features), and plotting the sales on a map. Route creation, optimization, and navigation features were added and buyers found the app useful.

The original “Yard Sale Mapper” iOS app, circa 2009
“Yard Sale Mapper” Android app, circa 2013

Over the years since this first app, most of the features I have added have come from feedback from users like you. Here is a sampling of some of the higher-profile features that came from user feedback (the full list is much longer):

Next Steps

Losing Craigslist sale content will undeniably change the way many folks hunt for sales. In the long term disruptions like this can breed helpful innovation… I want to hear your thoughts on how this app can be useful in a Craigslist-deprived environment.

For now I have adjusted the app and website to allow users to easily add addresses for sales they are aware of. Ideally app users can spend a few minutes adding sale addresses from the newspapers and websites that sellers use in your area. Hopefully other users do the same, and we can work together to create the most complete weekly yard sale map possible. Last year, even with a raging pandemic, the app had roughly half a million unique users across the United States and Canada. If each weekly user adds a single sale to the map then there would be twice as much sale content as before. I recognize that the sale detail content will be deficit in extensive text and photos and I do not have a quick answer here.

I plan on letting the dust settle for a few weeks before attempting any drastic changes to the app. I want to leave time for users like you to think about what changes, if any, would make this app continue to be useful in the future. If anyone out there has ideas, I am listening!

In this new reality where the app cannot auto-populate data from Craigslist (or Facebook or anywhere else), how can I adjust the app to make it continue to be useful to you? What would motivate you to contribute addresses to the map? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Facebook.

Update

Thanks everyone for your feedback! I have outlined the next steps in this blog post.

40 Responses

  1. Kyle

    Sorry, this is such a bummer for so many reasons. You would think that with FB Marketplace biting at their heels Craigslist would try to support this who still depend out their platform.

    I will say that contributing sales is appealing as long as I know on the front end I’m not duplicating a sale that already is listed. Facebook sales aren’t listed and I depend on them a lot as well. Having them listed crowdsourced would be good.

  2. Kevin Hughes

    I am so sorry to hear this. Such a great tool for us thrifters and resellers. For now I will add manually any sales I see. But that will not be many each week… Keep us advised and hoping for the best! Kevin-NJ

  3. JC

    How about pulling yard sales from Facebook Marketplace and groups? I find more people use that than craigslist. In exchange for this idea, I would like full beta tester privileges. 😉

  4. Charles Andres

    One thing I really want now is the ability to create a PRIVATE map for me. If I’m going to have to now spend hours of my life transcribing the best garage sale listings into yard sale treasure map from other sources, I need to know that my competition isn’t just taking advantage of all my free labor, and I also want the ability to write notes to myself so I remember what attracted me to that sale in the first place (again, without tipping people off.) I still want to use the app as a route planner, but it’ll be fully useless to me if I’m simply doing the labor for every competitive garage sale person in my metro area.

  5. DC

    So sorry to hear this. I’ve only been thrifting and using your app for about a year now and it has been my main go-to for locating sales. Have you looked into partnering with Nextdoor?

  6. Anonymous

    So sorry that I no longer have the Yard Sale app. I am retired and look forward to garage sales so I am very disappointed

  7. PJ Garcia

    I was wondering why my “Moving Sale” was not fully loading into theYardsale Treasure Map and found this article.

    You have a huge following of buyers, and some sellers are aware of the Yardsale Treasure Map .

    Perhaps it’s time to compete with Craigslist. Why can’t people create sales directly with Yardsale Treasure Map and cut out Craigslist?

  8. Zach

    This sucks and definitely will hurt me and many other resellers who have come to depend on this app. I’ve been using it for years and it has been one of my best tools for selling vintage online.

    My suggestion would be to create a desktop version of this app for Windows and/or Mac. If we are going to have to manually add sales ourselves, that task is much easier on a larger screen where you can quickly copy and paste between web browser tabs.

    Another suggestion would be to try to partner with estate sales.net. At least in the Kansas City area, this is a very popular site where all of the estate sale companies post their estate sales.

  9. Vaughn

    Hate that! Thanks for all you’ve done. Hope you can adapt and rise above..

  10. T

    I agree having the ability to create a private map would be fantastic, at least one could pull the best sales from CL and make my own garage sale map.

  11. EarlyBird

    I agree with another user here that the app should have the ability to create your own PRIVATE maps. Relying on others to give accurate information is the last thing I would want. With the tool set you’ve already created just simply making a private map option would keep me buying a subscription every year. Good luck with whichever route you choose and thank you for your hard work.

  12. Luanne moore

    I am so sad! I loved this app and hope something can be worked out with some group. Even on some of the fb sites that post yard sales and even marketplace. Half of those don’t get deleted and a waste of time to scroll each one to find it is passed or 5 states away.

  13. Casey

    Like most comments posted… I hate hearing that our “Treazure Map” will have less picking-places posted to easily find.

    I agree with Zack’s comments regarding expanding to desktop computers for ease of posting/sharing known sales.

    I also think those who post their sales on EstateSales would be glad to have another source of advertising. Having an EZ mapping tool like this app would be a benefit to them.

  14. David

    I love you guys. Are use your all the time. Maybe it’s time to say farewell to craigslist. One option would be to make it easier to get the addresses from other apps into Your app. Right now Facebook only lets us copy a full line of text or paragraph. That I have to use notes to paste the paragraph and cut out each field of tax and paste that address into your app. It would be nice if your address field for adding new addresses was one big box. It would cut down my copy and pasting.

  15. A woman!

    Suggestion: allow posters to attach photos and have an optional “ok to contact me with questions”.
    (I don’t imagine fb would let you pull from it but I bet if you approached them they would offer to buy your app! $$$) thanks for a good couple of years on the app. I enjoy it!

  16. Julie

    Sorry to hear. I love the app and found found many treasures using it. My 9 year old has her color balloons for her interests and it’s so nice to zero in on what we are looking for. Hope you navigate the change and maybe a better idea will surface. Best of luck. Mean Craigslist!

  17. Mikey V

    Truly disappointing I believe the best option is to partner with FB marketplace and OfferUp where people typically post in the FREE category advertising yard sales.

    Ps private maps isn’t a bad deal as well 👌

  18. Evan

    Thank you for explaining what is happening. I couldn’t understand why there were no longer descriptions and images for the yard sales posted in my area. I appreciate your online explanation.

    It’s unfortunate that your license was not renewed, and even more disappointing that Craigslist would do so in such absence of warning and explanation. Given the culture of Craigslist, that surprises and disappoints me.

    I’ve enjoyed using your app. Thank you for creating and developing it. It is really well done, and so seamless in general that much of the hard work is probably hidden. To make use of all that work, and to keep it going, here are my recommendations.

    1) If possible, readjust your data input flow by incentivizing sale creators. Previously you had input flow via auto-populating from Craigslist. You have enough followers that if you can get them to input their sales directly to your app/website, it would probably keep your boat reasonably afloat. This may be accomplishable if you can then auto-populate TO Craigslist, and perhaps to other yard sale applications as well, thereby giving sellers a one-stop, one-and-done, posting option. I would use such a service, for it would save me time and effort.

    2) I don’t see the volunteer based sale-posting to be sustainable. People get burnt out and disenfranchised. It’s also a LOT more expensive in sum than digitally auto-populating from listing sources. Sorry, but that’s just as I see it. Making it possible for people to keep their entries private would also just kill some of the incentive that people have currently for making entries. Because more people would keep those listings to themselves, thus decrease what is available to everyone else. -You probably already know this though… Sorry peeps.. But your selfishness would ultimately kill the app you love.

    So I think you have to change the flow man. Get people to enter their sales via your app versus Craiglist or Facebook. -They let in girls for free into the clubs for a reason: No girls.. Fewer guys. No yard sales.. Fewer treasure hunters. Compete! Step up! Challenge the big boys. Give them a run for their social current and input flow.

    Cheers and good luck. Hope your app makes it.

    Evan

  19. Sean

    I downloaded the CL app and left a long message pleading with them to reconsider in the feedback section. I’ve been garage sailing since the days we had to route it out from newspaper listings the night before. Your app is fantastic. I have been a premium subscriber for two years. I won’t use FBM because I’ve never had a profile and don’t want to start now. I encourage all your users to contact CL and let them know they want YSTM. Thanks for all you’ve done and best of luck.

  20. Richie

    I love Yard Sale Treasure Map, it has made my weekends a lot easier and the app is awesome.
    I used to use gsalr.com as well as Craigslist, but gsalr.com dwindled down to a few sales per weekend, so I stopped visiting their site.
    All I can say, is to spread the word and post your sale on the app “Yard Sale Treasure Map”. For me that was THE place to go.

  21. dirtylittlehoard

    Damn – just my luck. I told a fellow antique mall vendor yesterday about your app when she said she didn’t know how to easily find yard sales. And the same evening I find out about this sad news. I’m sure it felt like a gut punch to you given the lack of communication from CL. I loved this app when I used it. Don’t give up. Treasure seekers are the mother of new and improved apps. Sending love and determination (because I hate the word hope).

  22. Richard

    Very sorry to hear of this change, we used your app for our Saturday morning bicycle ride from one sale to another. It’s surprising what one can carry home on a bike! I hope you can find a way to continue.

  23. Joan and Roger Records

    We love this app for yard sales and our sad to hear this happened! Hope you can find a way to make this workout

  24. Jeff W

    This is unfortunate because the craigslist content included pictures, which I used extensively to decide whether to go to the sales or not. Relying on users to input sales (unless they are the sellers) will not be effective in the long run, because many sales offer discounts on their final days, and buyers will want to avoid competition and hold onto that sale location info. The Craigslist app is not good, because it does not allow you to map things out. Your app was very beneficial to have in that regard. Sorry to say you may lose this user at next renewal if things cannot be changed to make it more like before. Good luck.

  25. Terra

    Come on thrifters and resellers. CL isn’t the end all and be all for yard sales. I will use this app just as I did this weekend. I’ve never seen so many sales in Portland, OR. I live in a small town. I was nervous when we moved to Oregon because I knew that I’d be in a place with fewer people and lots of rain. However, most weekends I stay in town because with two or three sales, and some extra help from Goodwill, I do great at obtaining merchandise to sell on several sites. Also, just like 55 years ago when my mom starting dragging me to yard sales, people put out signs. I personally think the people who want their own sales map so their competition doesn’t find their sales is just plan greedy.

  26. Jenna

    What a sad day. I only went to yard sales because your app made it worth my time and gas. Thank you for explaining the situation. I’m not a competitive shopper (yikes), so I would in theory be at least be willing to report yard sales once found. Though I’d not be willing to spend much time at its once there isn’t a direct benefit to me as a buyer, so they wouldn’t have the detail in the posting that to me made this app so useful (pictures and descriptions of the goods for sale). I used to post my own hosted sales on Craigslist just so that they would show up in this app. I would be willing to post my own detailed listing as a seller in this app instead of or in addition to Craigslist because then there is a direct advertising benefit. I find Facebook Marketplace tedious to use, because there is no map function. I highly doubt that company would let you pull their data. I like the idea of pulling data from EstateSales.net. I rely on the map function in your app the most (more than sale descriptions and pictures), so if it was possible to only pull location information of sales and then include a link to the other website’s listing, that would still be useful to me. Once I was already out shopping, I never added info about sales not on the map, because in reality I didn’t want to spend the time doing it since sales in my area generally only stay open from 8-11. So that would be a practical hurdle you’d have to overcome in user behavior.

  27. Alec

    This isn’t a step back it is an opportunity to become better. It is time to distance yourself from a dying site (craigslist). They did you a favor! Time to become great go get it yard sale treasure map app team!!!

  28. Michel

    That was a very poor decision for Craigslist
    This app is everything.
    Go forth & make it better without them. Create a way to upload photos for the sale.
    I LOVE YOUR APP❤

  29. Wini Smith

    Shawn,
    I am so sorry about Craigslist. But I remember when you first went with them, the agreement being that ONLY their sales would appear on the map (although we could add others). And that only Apple electronics would work. I was upset because trying to find things on a tiny Iphone screen was not easy. I had been using my large-screen PC , and I didn’t have an Ipad. You replied kindly to my concern, but the best thing you did was to keep the Legacy site open! And I’ve used it all this time.
    Now we are back to adding our own area sales (without using the ads that used to be in newspaper classifieds). But now we have other online sources to use (including Craigslist!).
    YOU CAN DO IT! I’d be happy to pay a higher subscription price, as I imagine many others will be, too.

  30. Michael

    Love the app. Worked very well for us traveling resellers. You need to build this one even stronger! Don’t let the decaying Craigslist who looks like a 1998 version of pc install destroy this site! This has so much more to offer and build towards the future! I could state multiple ideas and they’re are a few I’m sure you haven’t heard but DONT STOP! Build up this site and destroy Craigslist…WE SUPPORT YOU AND NEED THIS SITE! Let’s go make some money!

  31. Rochelle

    What a bummer. I guess I’m going to have to really familiarize myself with Facebook moving forward, because I for sure hate the way Craigslist ads are listed. It’s really hard to dig through all the junk. Thanks for the service you’ve provided up to this point. I think for yard sale hunters, a lot of what we’re doing is competitive. If I make my map the night before and then someone sees the items I’ve input into the app and buys the stuff I was interested in, that won’t make me feel good about having entered that information. It is pretty counter to what we’re trying to do to create a map others can use based on the information we’ve sourced ourselves. If we had an option to make private maps, I’d consider continuing to use the map to plan my route. Otherwise I would say entering our own data would be counter to our needs as buyers, and it might be more in our interests to plan our routes in a different way.

  32. Denise

    Bummer. Get agreements w Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace like others have mentioned.

  33. Brandye Fenn

    Sad to hear about this! Why not push the app out to those people hosting the garage sales? I haven’t used CL in years, since FB Marketplace. I think a little ad buy could go a long way – get the word out that there’s a “new” way to get customers to your sale! It’s free to list a sale (just like CL), so there’s nothing to lose!

  34. CJ

    I love the treasure map! My daughter and I use it for treasure hunting, especially during the 127 yard sale event. I don’t know how you advertise this wonderful App, I can’t remember how I found it. Maybe you could put an ad with your link in various newspapers, just a thought.

  35. Rollie Brandt

    Can you tell us what CL said is their REASON? It would be helpful to us to know…. does it cost them money to be connected with treasure map? I don’t get it, why they wouldn’t want to be connected with you.

    I agree with most every other post here and it’s all been very well said. I too started garage saling back when you used a newspaper and a map! We love your app and we use it all the time!!!

  36. Mike

    I think that what must happen for your app to remain viable is simply to heavily advertise in all possible ways that this app is the ONE place for ALL yard sale sellers to post their own sales. There are currently numerous bad choices of places to post yard sales, with none really standing out. We sellers would be happy to know of the one standout that everyone uses. Identify yourself strongly as that place. Buyers would certainly enjoy having a very dominant and user friendly place to find our yard sale fix. I don’t know a thing about advertising costs, but I do know that I would use a dominant player every week, rather than a few here and a couple there. I do not think that anyone has tried claiming to be THE ONE PLACE TO LIST. I am not engaged in business, I and my weekend friends are simply yard sale addicts. ADVERTISE !!

  37. Mike

    A small fee to post our own yard sales seems fine, in comparison to the high cost of an ad in a dying newspaper. For instance, $2.99 to post one yard sale as a guest, or post 5 sales free with a $4.99 yearly subscription, or unlimited posting for businesses at $14.99. Internet click bait ads pay somewhat also, as long as they don’t interfere with function. ADVERTISE HEAVILY AS “THE ONE PLACE EVERYONE USES.”

  38. Jo Crossley

    I have used this app repeatedly to locate estate/garage sales and am sad to know that Craigslist has made the decision to end their agreement with you. I am not a fan of Craigslist and will find a new way of searching for sales.

  39. R Miranda Wright

    I just found this app and was really optimistic about an easy and efficient way to sell my many many treasures. So sorry to hear about the issues with CL. It’s always about $$ and I’m pretty sure they’re working on something that is similar to your app. Don’t let them discourage you and take your app ideas and shut you down. Be like David against a Goliath. It seems to me that so many people have really benefited from your app, and I’d now like to be one of them. I say ADVERTISE, and I REALLY think going in the direction of a nominal fee, like one person suggested may be the answer for you and us. A small fee for a few listings a year, and a little bit more for businesses is so well worth it. Doing something like that with a one stop option is so appealing to buyers and sellers alike. Try it. What do you have to lose. I’m almost positive that all of your supporters will be willing to pay a nominal annual fee to get the best yard sale ads and maps-better than your Goliath competitors. I really hope you’ll think about this, and if not this idea then something else that can help you keep the app up and running, and even better. Don’t give up! Best to you. 😊

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