For years, we have been a slave to Craigslist. Whether it be looking for a job or selling a couch, when all else failed, we had to turn to this haven for weirdos and creepers. The website has become a joke in most circles as the absolutely last resort after holding a disorganized garage sale. It has accumulated so much infamy that when you Google “craigslist,” among the first results are stories about the notorious Craigslist Killer, who used the classifieds website's seedy practices to kill people. How do we still use this website?!
Thankfully, a new mobile app, 5miles, is hoping to change the classifieds game once and for all. Their name is taken from the 5 mile radius customers can search through to buy and sell products locally. With a simple layout, basic filtering system and, most importantly, protect measures for users, this app is poised to move in on the territory staked by Craigslist and its army of goons.
We were lucky enough to talk with 5miles CEO and founder Dr. Lucas Lu about their rapid growth, their unique name choice and the future of 5miles.
Can you tell us about your quick growth?
Lu: 5miles is approaching eight million downloads and $2 billion in transactions since our marketplace launched in January 2015. While our digital and other marketing efforts certainly have helped us build brand awareness and adoption, some of the most significant growth is organic due to word-of-mouth based on the awesome experience users have with our app. Our marketplace fills a real consumer need—for example, U.S. households on average have approximately $8,000 worth of stuff in their homes that they don’t use and could get rid of—and the full-category of local goods and services gives people plenty of reasons and ample opportunities to come back and transact more often.
What makes 5miles so appealing to its users?
Lu: 5miles is truly a hyper-local mobile marketplace (think Craigslist-meets-Pinterest), one of the fastest-growing online shopping ventures after only a year of operation. It’s the first app of its kind to include services, housing and jobs, in addition to second-hand trading between buyers and sellers.
Why should a user choose 5miles over Craigslist?
Lu: 5miles puts a premium on user safety and security by not permitting personal information on a listing. Instead we offer an in-app messaging system that keeps contact information private, as well as proprietary “boost” and “follow” features to increase transactions and improve the user experience.
How did you pick the “5 mile” radius for selling?
Lu: The five-mile radius came about from our envisioning connecting buyers and sellers of items and services in their very own communities, even on a neighborhood level. Hyper-local, as our name implies, is a core strength of 5miles, and, while users can search for items or services by name and expand the radius of their search, we feel strongly that user experience and safety are enhanced greatly when it’s truly neighbors buying and selling from their neighbors.
Where do you see 5miles going over the next year? What kind of expansion will we see?
Lu: The sky is the limit for 5miles, but right now we’re focused on deep penetration within our core markets (roughly the Sun Belt region of the U.S.). The more dynamic and active our marketplace is, the more integral it can be in the community and in commerce. Always free to download and use, the 5miles app is available in all major markets across the U.S., and we’re testing and also eyeing foreign markets as well.
Photo: Flickr / Ian Lamont