Machete Marketing: Craigslist works better than Petfinder

There are a lot of places online to advertise a foster dog. is a popular one. However, my Petfinder ads about Charlie Machete  generated nothing but spam messages.

On the other hand, my posts on Craigslist about a “60-pound snugglebug” have yielded lots of e-mails and phone calls from real, live people looking for a dog to add to their family. This is exciting!

Now, my first Craigslist posts didn’t generate much in the way of results. But a few weeks ago, Zach led a change in our tactics. Here’s what has helped us get a flurry of potential adopters on Craigslist interested in Machete.

  • Using a very compelling headline: “Big, black bed hog available for adoption”
  • Providing the most important information (breed, age, health status, etc.) in the body of the post without going into too much detail.
  • Linking to this blog for those who do want to see more photos and videos.
  • Posting outside of Kansas City.

That final point has been the biggest for us. Thanks to Craigslist, viable potential adopters outside of Kansas City have been showing interest in this dog in a way no one in Kansas City ever has.

Machete must be destined to live somewhere else.

Come back this weekend to read more about that.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about other foster parents’ experiences advertising on Petfinder, Craigslist and other online sites. What works for you?


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on March 16, 2012, in Dogs, Machete and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. You have to be careful with craigslist. There are a lot of bad people trolling craigslist looking for bait dogs and other things. Pits especially. If you find someone wanting to adopt him Crystal I am more than willing to let you use our application process and we can screen them for you to make sure its a good home.

    • Thanks, Mike! You’re right — screening potential adopters on Craigslist, and from anywhere, is imperative. We are using an application and screening process based on our experience adopting from a rescue organization. So far, it seems to have weeded out the bad apples…

  2. I have to agree, posting an animal on Craigslist is dangerous and most rescues do not approve. I do know that YOU can screen potential owners but alot of people who post animals on Craigslist cannot. I want you to get Charlie adopted but I have my doubts on encouraging others to post. Hope you still love me 🙂

  3. Crystal, I think this is a great idea. While it’s true that a lot of less than savory characters troll Craigslist with less than honorable intentions, so do a lot of potential adopters. I run into tons of people who answer “Craigslist” to the question, “Where did you get your dog?” I think linking to the blog is great, that shows that the dog’s potential family will be screened vigorously. As long as you’re careful, I don’t see why Craigslist can’t be a valuable tool.

  4. Just be careful and do a really rigid screening. If potential adopters really want him they will accept the screening. Also home visit would be recommended. There are to many bad people out there that can pass a screening. I think Charlie Machete is a sweetie and would love to see him go to a loving home . Also to many dogs end up in shelter after adopters change their mind etc.. put in adoption contract to be returned to you if doesn’t work out. Also I know you have herd this but I have to say it . Be careful with the craigslist.

  5. Of course I still love you, Shawn! And I always welcome your perspective.
    I understand why rescues are leary of Craigslist. As a forum, it’s earned its bad reputation. However — while some bad eggs are undoubtedly lurking — my experience tells me that the majority of people seeking pets on Craigslist are NOT bad people. In fact, while trying to get Machete adopted, we have corresponded via phone, e-mail and in person with several families and individuals who would be very devoted pet owners.
    Where I messed up on this post (and in my whole “Machete Marketing” series) is in failing to address the need to screen potential adopters — something that should be done whether you’re advertising an adoptable animal on a website, with an Adopt Me vest or on a poster at a coffee shop.
    I appreciate you and Mike bringing up this point and I invite you to share feedback about what you’d like to see in a future post regarding the importance of adopter screening.

  1. Pingback: ADOPTED! « Wayward Dogs

  2. Pingback: Why Charlie Machete didn’t die « Wayward Dogs

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