Nonprofit Startup Redesigns Craigslist Ads for Free

New firm wants to transform boring posts

A three-person nonprofit startup, Classify Advertising, has issued an open invitation to everyone around the world to “transform Craigslist posts from boring, ineffective ads into dynamic cash cows.”

Ranked as the 10th most-visited U.S. website by Alexa, Craigslist is far and away the top choice for people looking to unload products and sell services online. It counts more than 80 million listings each month across 700-plus local sites worldwide. The quality of postings has improved recently, with bigger pictures and greater interactivity, but problems persist with how users display items and craft copy. With every post looking nearly identical, catching a buyer’s eye can be difficult.

One of the successful upgrades Classify features on its site is this used couch listing

Classified’s co-founder and art director Pedro Sampaio told PSFK that he, copywriter Pat Davis and planner Nick Smatt “want to show that good marketing and advertising matters.”

He also appears committed to reshaping the e-commerce model. Before helping launch Classify, Sampaio joined in setting up The Merit Shop, where shoppers paid for items with their talent. A box of cereal went to a bidder who posted an original recording of “The Frosted Flakes Song” to SoundCloud, for instance.

Several users have, of course, figured out how to work around the limitations of Craigslist’s basic format, but individuals who created the most memorable posts tended to be ad pros. Classify holds out the promise of making those kinds of skills available to everyone at no charge.

The firm is also searching for designers and writers who share their vision. An application to work without receiving payment can be submitted through the Classify site.

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