I love automation. If there is something on the computer that I do regularly, it’s always nice to find a way to have the computer handle that for me automatically. After all, that’s what the computer is good at – following instructions, never wavering, never late, always dependable. There’s a great automated service (that is also FREE) that I will tell you about today.
Chances are you are already familiar with Craigslist (Craigslist.org). It is the largest and most widely used classified ad site on the internet. If you want to buy and sell something locally, don’t bother with a newspaper ad – just list it on Craigslist. That’s where most people look first now anyway.
Craigslist gets a LOT of traffic. That’s great if you are selling something because it means a lot of people will see your ad, and there’s a great chance you will sell your item. If you have it priced competitively, you will probably have several people wanting to buy it.
If you are a buyer looking for a bargain on a particular item, it can be a little tricky. Even frustrating. There are definitely a lot of bargains on there. Why the bargains? A few reasons:
- The seller might be selling furniture that has to be out of the house in the next 2 days, so they will sell it for whatever price they can get even if it is really worth more.
- The seller might be in dire financial straits, and just needs to raise some quick cash so is willing to sell something at a big discount in order to have money for rent or another pressing bill coming due.
- The seller might have inherited some items that are unwanted, and just wants to get rid of them without caring about how much money they bring in. Or they are just tired of looking at these things sitting in their garage.
Whatever the reason, the bargains are definitely there just about every day in many categories. But for the REAL bargains, they are likely to be already sold by the time you see the ad.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you are looking for a used car. You know you want to only buy it from a private owner (rather than a dealer), you know you want it to be a Honda Civic, and you want it to be under $5000. You also only want to see ads that include pictures.
You can put all of those specifics into your Craigslist search, and look at the results…
… those are only current as of this moment. People with cars to sell post new ads all the time. What if someone posts an ad an hour later, and it’s the perfect car for you at an amazing price – but you don’t check Craigslist until the next day, and by then it’s already sold? Obviously you can’t check Craigslist for new posts that match this search every hour around the clock. But your computer can!
Actually, it would not technically be YOUR computer that is checking Craigslist. What you would be using is a free service called Blogtrottr. You just need to sign up for a free account at blogtrottr.com.
Blogtrottr is sort of your “Craigslist slave” that never takes a break. After you have created your account, you have the opportunity to tell it what you want to monitor – that’s the link that says “subscribe to a new feed”. You just copy and paste the URL from your Craigslist search results, and tell it how often you want to get updates (such as every few hours or just once a day). For me, if I am searching for a great deal on Craigslist, I set it to check every hour. If it comes up with a new listing, you get an email. So it helps if you get email on your phone, in case you don’t happen to be at your computer at the time.
I love this because it gives me a huge advantage over most of the other bargain-hunters on Craigslist. If I can know about a great deal as soon as it get posted, I can beat the others to it. Information is very powerful!
Of course, you can use Blogtrottr for monitoring sites other than Craigslist. For example, you could get an email notification any time a certain blog site gets a new post. Or if a news site posts a new article containing the name of your city. Maybe you want to know whenever an item pertaining to a particular celebrity is listed for sale on eBay. The possibilities are endless.
How are YOU going to use Blogtrottr? Put it in the comments!