Entries in Craigslist (3)


Study: Craigslist Took $5 Billion in Classified Ads from Newspapers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study from New York University and Harvard Business School found that Craigslist has taken as much as $5 billion from local newspapers by providing online classified advertising services.

The report was headed by Robert Seamans, an assistant professor of management and organizations at NYU's Stern School of Business and Feng Zhu of Harvard Business School. The study found that between 2000 and 2007, classified ad buyers saved $5 billion due to Craigslist's entry into the market, Forbes said.

Meanwhile, those who would previously have posted classified ads in local newspapers now veer towards the free online classifieds of Craigslist.

According to Forbes, the study did not take into account newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or USA Today, in order to maintain a "homogenous sample" of local newspapers reliant on classified advertising.

As a result of the drive towards Craigslist, the researchers found that newspapers dropped the rates charged for placing classified ads and increased both their subscription and newsstand costs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sellers Find Price Gouging Opportunities Post-Sandy Through Craigslist

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The demand for power and emergency-related equipment after superstorm Sandy is causing spiking prices on Craigslist and other markets, despite government warnings and laws prohibiting price gouging.  But are such measures a help or do they actually hurt consumers?

Mark Perry, professor of economics at the University of Michigan, points out that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's warnings against price gouging have exacerbated the post-disaster marketplace that is already under stress from high demand and low supply.

Perry, a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said there are over 600 listings for generators in North New Jersey on Craigslist, some listed for thousands of dollars when they are often sold for $700 or less.

"Anti-price gouging laws are really guaranteed shortage laws," he said.  "You're preventing the market from working and using the magic of allocating resources, creating shortages.  The market is innovative and resilient.  The market has gone from stores into Craigslist and now we have this formal marketplace."

Perry said it is likely some people are buying products at hardware stores at normal prices due to regulations prohibiting businesses from selling products with a mark-up higher than 10 percent over pre-disaster prices.  They then are re-selling those online or in other markets where demand is high.

He said preventing price gouging actually keeps prices artificially low, whereas allowing the market to operate naturally would cause prices to increase for a couple days, then decrease.

But the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs doesn't agree.  On Friday, it announced that it issued 65 subpoenas to businesses in the state, as it investigated over 500 consumer complaints about alleged price gouging.

"Having visited some of the hardest-hit areas of our state, and having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey's residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging," said Christie in a statement Friday.  "Fuel, electricity, food, and a place to sleep are not luxuries, certainly not for individuals who have been displaced from their homes and in many cases have limited resources at their disposal.  We are not asking businesses to function as charities.  We require that they obey New Jersey's laws -- or pay significant penalties."

But Perry argues that allowing the marketplace to set prices is the most efficient way to allocate scarce supplies.

"If we want generators, blankets and other supplies to get into New Jersey as quickly as possible, allow prices to rise temporarily so it attracts resources that are needed the most," Perry said. "Those high prices are an emergency flare to the rest of the country to attract those products to those areas."

The post-disaster marketplace creates an unexpected urgency for many products.  Even supplies like road flares used by the New York Police Department were in short supply, prompting a call for help from other agencies.

"We needed road flares for post-storm coverage complicated by the long gas lines that had formed on streets round gas station," said the NYPD's chief spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne.  "We were inundated with contributions through Intelligence Division's Sentry Program."

Utility companies are still struggling to restore heat and electricity to 930,783 customers without power in six states, the Energy Department reported Tuesday afternoon, a decrease of nearly 43,000 customers since that morning.

The need for power is especially acute as a nor'easter is expected to bring gusty winds and rain this week to the already hard-hit region.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Craigslist Robberies By Appointment on Rise

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Police nationwide are warning of a sharp rise in Internet-related crime called “robbery-by-appointment. In a typical case, somebody with something to sell goes online to find a buyer by using Craigslist or a similar service. The seller finds a buyer, and the two agree to meet in person to consummate the sale. But when they meet, the seller gets robbed -- and in some cases beaten up or worse-- by his “buyer.”

So common have these crimes become that in Oakland, Calif., police have created a special investigative unit devoted to combating them. Cops in one city are even suggesting people meet at station houses to complete their transactions.

In Washington State, one robbery-by-appointment ended in death, when a man who had a diamond ring to sell was shot dead by robbers who showed up, supposedly to buy it.

Experts say many of these robberies are happening in broad daylight and in neighborhoods believed to be safe. They recommend meeting in a busy public place as one way of decreasing the odds that you’ll be taken.

In Milwaukee, police are recommending that anybody worried about becoming a victim meet his buyer (or seller) at the safest place in town – the police station itself.  Six Craigslist-related robberies have occurred in one Milwaukee district in the past month, reports the Journal-Sentinel.

“If they don’t want to meet you at a safe place, if they don’t want to meet you at a police district, that should be a red flag, an indicator: Don’t do business with that individual,” police officer Lisa Staffold told the newspaper.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio