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Verified Classifieds – Added security while dodging the scammers, low-ballers and tire kickers!

I have something for sale.  I post it on Craigslist or Kijiji and wait, fingers crossed.  I’m the type that’s a little concerned about meeting up with completely anonymous buyers.  Prior to meeting the process itself can be extremely frustrating based on the types potential sellers / buyers you’ll encounter.

Let’s start out by profiling the type of contact you’re likely to have after posting an item, listed from most to least likely.

1. The ‘Scammer / Spammer / Phisher’

2. The ‘Absurd Offer’ person

3. The ‘Tire Kicker’ who really isn’t quite interested and you never hear back from

4. The legitimately ‘Interested Party’

The Scammer

More often than not the first few emails (at least) aren’t from buyers, but from parties interested in scamming you out of your item. 

“I want to buy you phone, will accept you $200 extra shipping to send to my son at Army base in Nigeria?”

The prospect of getting an extra $200 for shipping, I’m in!  Believe it or not there are people who fall for this or they wouldn’t be doing it.  Next comes a fake PayPal email.  It gets shipped, kiss it and your pride goodbye.

The Absurd Offer

You post an iPhone 5 for $300, stating you are firm (or something similar that seems on par with market value).

You get an offer for $100.  $100?!?  The nerve.  Do I even counter offer saying the lowest I can go is $280?  Certainly I get another ridiculous offer back – “Ok I can come up to $125, I will pay you in cash!”.  Ok Rick from Pawn Stars, what else did you expect to pay me with?

You tap dance around for a few days, getting frustrated, wasting your time and eventually they drop off.

The Tire Kicker

“Is the item still available?”  Grr, YES, I stated in the ad that it the ad is still up it’s still available.  “What color is it?”  It’s SILVER, I stated that in the ad!  “What sort of condition is it in?”  I was CLEAR in the ad and included pictures!  Spit it out and ask or say everything in one email – save both our time and my sanity.  Great, now that I’ve had five email exchanges to answer questions that were already answered in the ad I get an offer.

My first ‘reasonable’ offer, it’s a less than what I wanted but I can probably work with it if we can arrange a reasonable place to meet.

You reply back immediately only to twiddle your thumbs waiting to hear back between absurd and scammers offers.  A few days later you get another email asking more questions or maybe you don’t even hear back at all!  I just want to sell my item now!

The Legitimate, Interested Buyer

These are few and far between.  If you’ve run the gamut of scammers, low-ballers and the take forever to reply-ers you may be lucky enough to have one of these folks swoop in with a serious, no-nonsense offer.

If your transaction is fast, smooth and easy it’s time to buy a lottery ticket.  As a buyer or seller I could go the Ebay / Amazon or other online retailer route but I want to do this locally, fast, at a reasonable price as the item is often ‘used’ with room for negotiation, I don’t want to ship or wait on shipping, and I don’t want to go through PayPal and lose a chunk of the proceeds, then go through the process of withdrawing funds, etc.

I wish there was a simpler, no-nonsense way.

Meet Verified Classifieds!  A local marketplace that verifies who you’re doing business with for additional safety, security and smoother transactions.

We don’t like the idea of anonymous buyers.  As a user of the site I don’t need to know exactly who they are, their address or even name – I just want to be sure I’m safe, protected and don’t need to wade through the sea of Spam to make a simple local purchase / sale.

Differentiation – Why use a verified classified site?

The business model is pretty straight forward – a Website / App that facilitates local selling and purchasing of items.

Sounds familiar, but how does this differ from other players in the market?

What separates this from a Craigslist or Kijiji is that you are verified as a buyer / seller, authenticated by credit card.  Skip the scammers, tire kickers and low-ballers and get straight to selling your item to legitimately interested, motivated buyers.

This differs from Ebay / Kijiji as it targets traditional Craigslist / Kijiji users that typically have a used item who want to facilitate a quick and easy exchange locally without the PayPal et al hassle (sign-up, percentage taken, withdrawing funds), waiting on shipping, may want to negotiate, etc.

Some general thoughts on features

As always sky’s the limit, but start with an MVP.  We have a few thoughts on what we would like to see in a verified classified site, here are a few to get you started:

1. Buyer / Seller Ratings – This doesn’t exist for local classifieds but it should.  It givers the buyer or seller confidence that they are dealing with a credible individual facilitating a no nonsense transaction.  This will help weed out and solve issues that come along with tire kickers and low ballers.

2. Offers to buy – Because the individual is verified (known), allow them to make an offer to buy rather than go through a lengthy exchange.  One price – accept, reject or propose a new dollar value.

3. Question and answer page – Often when members of our team have posted an item we get similar questions and need to repeat ourselves via email.  We could update the ad although these questions persist for the length of the posting, many who don’t see an immediate answer won’t bother emailing waiting for the exchange, and when the core article gets too lengthy it’s often passed up for the next one on the list.

4. Auction like – If an offer is posted, make it public to other users on the site!  Top bid takes it within a specified amount of time

5. Time limit the offer of the item – create a sense of urgency by offering an item as a reasonable price with a countdown to expiry

You’ll note that some of these features are included in the likes of the marketplace giants.  This fusion of international marketplace features with a local classified site evolves the way we transact for a happy medium.


1. Ads

2. Charge a nominal fee to post – sell individually or as a pack to avoid payment gateway dings

3. Membership fee – great opportunity for recurring revenue

There also exists the possibility that you could get an offer from one of the ‘big guys’ out there if this gains traction!


As with any business you’re going to run into risks and challenges.  We’ve outlined a few that come to mind:

1. Credit card validation – getting past any objection to verify you are who you say you are via credit card validation (and yes credit cards can be stolen we get that, but this applies to ANY business).  This may not be a show stopper depending on your monetization model, also considering any other market place and virtually all vendors online require a credit card for transactions.  It’s not ‘new and scary’ anymore.

2. Building a user base – Of course before launching you should do you research, ask, validate, test the waters.  Beyond the validation you’ll need a solid user base – this is where an experienced and savvy Marketing person / team comes in.  Depending on the scale of the project you may want to start with a smaller locale before branching out to every city across the *world*.

3. Competition – There are some big players in the market that are well established and have massive teams behind them.  How do make sure you don’t get lost in their shadow or squished like a bug?

Speaking of local classifieds and looking around the office, we have a lot of gently used computer gear, video games and phones to sell off.  Not looking forward to dealing with the scammers, tire kickers and low ballers – hope someone executes on this quickly!


Build the brand

Need the perfect domain for this business idea?  What about:


Comes complete with the Twitter handle @verifiedbuysell!

Build an awesome local or global brand. It’s available, if interested please reach out to domains@feedmeideas.com, our contact page, drop us a line on Twitter @ideapassion, or find us on Facebook – Facebook.com/FeedMeIdeas

We have a lot of goodies to post up for sale, can’t wait until this is launched so we can buy and sell with ease and confidence!

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