August 19, 2015
For a company that has been dominating the classifieds industry for two decades, Craigslist has quite a few problems that have yet to be solved. Now, they have a new wave of competition that is looking to take advantage of those issues to unseat them for good.
One new service called 5Miles is taking a completely different approach to classified ads in the hope that it will finally give users a good reason to switch. They use the same local approach to their ad structure, but do it from a mobile-first perspective, which means that they localize any listings to where the user is, not to a set geographic area. This is done by using GPS on the phone to give buyers an idea of how far away they are from the seller without giving out users’ sensitive information.
The concept for 5Miles grew out of the CEO Dr. Lucas Lu’s own personal experience on Craigslist. After being scammed twice on the site and finding that there was no recourse available to him, he went out to build his own version of the popular classifieds website that gave both buyers and sellers a safer, more secure way to shop for secondhand products. Along the way he found that users not only loved the idea of having a safer alternative to Craigslist, but also hated how hard it was to actually see what they were buying when scanning the website. Additionally, Craigslist’s longstanding policy of banning apps that tried to make the website easier to scan continues to be a problem for users who want to read Craigslist ads on their phone. These problems were some of the key considerations which led to the beautiful, image-heavy design that you see today when you use both the app and the website.
Since the key focus in 5Miles is on making the local classified market easier and safer to use for anyone, they give you three different ways to verify yourself on their website: email, phone, and Facebook. Obviously, those buyers and sellers who use all three methods are much more popular on the site, and it makes it much easier to get some background information on the other party in your transaction before meeting them in person. For anyone who has been asked to meet a Craigslist seller with cash late at night in a sketchy area of town, this will be a welcome relief. On top of this, sellers and buyers are able to aggregate positive feedback, which deters any shady dealings and encourages users to be on their best behavior or risk losing potential transactions down the line.
The other key part of the 5Miles experience is the GPS capability. When you are searching for, or listing an item, you will be placed in the system based on your GPS location. This makes it harder for sellers from another part of the country or world to list items and helps to foster a true local classifieds website at the same time. It also makes it easier for those buyers and sellers who don’t necessarily fit into the traditional areas offered by Craigslist, and makes it easier to sort through the listings based on ‘true’ distance rather than calculating this distance on a per-item basis.
5Miles is completely free to use, unlike most other sites currently competing in this space that charge anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the final sale price as a fee. Given that you also are able to sell items in your local area, you will end up saving even more since you’re eliminating any costs related to shipping and handling, a major cost for heavy or bulky items.
5MilesApp is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, but is quickly spreading around the country as it gains more traction. Given the extreme focus on providing a local selling experience that rivals Craigslist while providing many more benefits in terms of safety and security, there is no doubt that they will be a strong contender in the online classifieds space. The 5Miles app is currently available on both the iOS App Store and Google’s Play Store, and can be used online at 5milesapp.com.
If you want to learn more, here’s a quick video
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