I’m an avid poster on Craigslist.org, both buying and selling. I’m often stunned by the startlingly high proportion of for-sale ads that seem diametrically opposed to modern conventions of grammar, dialect, basic quality of photography, and obvious sales skills.
CHK DIS OWT!!!@@!??!@@@@
I HAS CAR IT A FOR D OR SOMETHIG DONT CALL IF YOU NOT BRING CASH NO RUST OR ANYTING IT GREAT CAR NO TEST DRIVES DONT EMAIL CALLS ONLY LOUSY SPAMMERS
When the idea they’re trying to portray is:
1986 Ford Taurus GL Sedan – $1400
192,000 miles, four cylinder, automatic. Runs and drives well. Body in fair condition other than surface rust and bad clear-coat. Interior is good. Clear title. Email or call 555-5555.
This is just an average example. Problems include poor grammar, ALL CAPS, teaser title that doesn’t say anything about the content, vague descriptors, incitement of mistrust from the buyer, and limiting of contact options. Rather than piquing my interest, I feel insulted as a prospective purchaser. This doesn’t take into account the usual atrocious pictures or lack of any pictures that will accompany said ad.
Now, for some deeper observations. Anyone with a brain realizes that the first ad is inferior. Even if you have a tenuous grasp of the English language, you can figure out that this isn’t going to get ANYONE to want merchandise. The more puzzling factor is that both ads take about the same time to type; all those @ signs make my fingers cramp. So, it can’t be that the biggest percentage of Craigslist posters are lazy, insulting, and extremely uneducated, can it? I’d doubt it, especially because most buyers who contact me are very articulate, collected, and lucid; most of these people make up the pool of sellers as well.
My theory; most for-sale posters are using reverse psychology to get more hits on their ads. By making ads impossibly bad, it increases the amount of entrepreneurial types like me that think they may pick up on something everyone else missed out on because of the poor ad copy. I think I encountered this the other day, when I looked at a car that had been posted in the by-owner Craigslist category with a nearly blank description: poor photo, phone number, and “as-is” descriptor only. When I showed up, I found that it was actually a dealer selling the car, who obviously knew plenty about both its value and the basics on marketing a vehicle. They gave the advertising perception of an uneducated seller who needed to dump the car quick, while they’re really an educated business making a quick buck.
Now, what to take in from this? I’m thinking that instead of my finely-crafted ads with loads of super-clear pictures, I’m going to start posting cryptic nonsense with nothing but a hint and a phone number. I expect sales of my wares to go through the roof. Or maybe not.
1 Corinthians 10:31: …whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (even Craigslist ads)