Craigslist and Backpage are the two largest free online classified advertising sites on the Internet today. Here are the major differences between the two sites.
The two best and largest free classified ad sites on the Internet today are backpage.com and craigslist.com. Both are similar in many aspects but a few key things do standout when comparing the two. First I'll discuss the similarities.
Both Backpage and Craigslist are free to join and use. And both are very easy to sign up to. Just give each one your email address and a password and they will send you a confirmation email. Once you confirm your accounts you can start using both sites.
The sites are also similar in their setup. They both list all the major cities and areas in the United States. If you want to place a free ad you just choose your city or area and the category your ad should be placed under. Then you fill out your ad info and correctly repeat the Captcha and your ad will appear live in a few minutes and you will receive a confirmation email.
Now here are the major differences between the two classified ad sites.
Craigslist has a much large user base
Alexa.com ranks Craigslist as the 36th most used website on the Internet worldwide and 10th most visited website in the United States.
Backpage ranks 679th in the world and 157th in the United States.
Image Source by Sierra Communications (Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist)
So clearly the number of people using Craigslist is far greater than the number of people using Backpage daily. Your ads on Craigslist will reach more people and you are also much more likely to find ads for what you are looking for on Craigslist. This is true in general but for specific cities in the United States like Phoenix, Miami and Houston where Backpage is well used the difference in traffic is small and sometimes could even favor Backpage.
In general Craigslist is more popular and has more users except for specific cities. A simple solution to having to choose which site is better for you is to experiment using both sites.
Backpage has far fewer rules to follow than Craigslist
In general Craigslist has more rules users must follow in order to stay in good standing on the site. For example if one wants to advertise a service on Craigslist one is usually required to confirm their account by phone.
So before you can place an ad for certain services on Craigslist one must give them your phone number. They will then auto-call you and give you a code which you must then enter at your account on Craigslist. As soon as they have your phone number confirmed which happens instantly you are approved to place your ads for services.
Also on Craigslist the rules for where ads are placed are strict. If you place an ad for a service on a Community page your ad will likely get flagged and removed. The rules are community enforced and the community can be very tough.
On Backpage the rules for placing ads are much less strict and no phone numbers are required to be confirmed. In general it is much harder to run afoul of the rules on Backpage than it is on Craigslist.
My Own Personal Experience Using both Craigslist and Backpage
I've used both Craigslist and Backpage to place many classified ads for a number of years. Overall without any doubt Craigslist has been far more effective for me. Nevertheless I still use both sites to reach as many people as possible with my classified ads.
I've also used many other classified ad sites and while Craigslist is clearly number one there is also no doubt that Backpage is clearly number two. No other online classified ad site except for Craigslist has delivered the results that Backpage has for me.
Craigslist has more rules to follow and is much more strict about placing your ads than Backpage is but it's well worth the extra time to make sure you are using Craigslist properly because the site delivers results. Backpage is far less strict and therefore easier to use and because it also delivers results it is a no-brainer for me to use both sites for my free online classified ads and using both sites is what I would recommend to you.