YSaC, Vol. 321: Meta-hilarity ensues.

2009 June 3

Hi. Welcome to You Suck at Craigslist, a site where I make fun of poorly constructed Craigslist ads.

What? What’s that you say? You’re wondering why I’m stating that, when it’s perfectly obvious what the site is?

As it turns out, perfectly obvious might not be obvious enough to some people, as evidenced by an email I got (exchange is behind a cut, as it’s relatively long):

From:   [name_of_moving_company]@gmail.com
Subject: $5 PayPal payment made, please delete
Date: June 2, 2009 5:31:32 PM EDT
To:   yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com

Checking your service… $5 PayPal payment made, please delete

http://denver.craigslist.org/ [remainder of link]

Thank you

I followed the link, which was a perfectly fine ad for a (different) moving company. I couldn’t find anything mockworthy about it at all. And sure enough, I’d also gotten an email from PayPal saying that I’d received a $5 payment at my yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com account (which is problematic, as I don’t have a PayPal account with that address!).

So this took me a minute to figure out. I emailed back with:

From:   yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com
Subject: Re: $5 PayPal payment made, please delete
Date: June 2, 2009 6:18:24 PM EDT
To:   [name_of_moving_company]@gmail.com

I’m sorry, I’m confused. What is this for?

The response came back:

From:   [name_of_moving_company]@gmail.com
Subject: Re: $5 PayPal payment made, please delete
Date: June 2, 2009 6:40:57 PM EDT
To:   yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com

Your add. Please refund.

Then it hit me: A while back I posted a Craigslist ad in which a company offered to flag competitor’s ads for $5 each. The original post is here, and reproduced below:

Need Flagging? – $5


Tired of seeing spam ads? Your competitors got you down? No worries, with our service we will have ads removed within minutes! The process is very simple – just let us know the URL or posting title & section, send us a payment with PayPal, and the ad will be removed within 5-10 minutes (10 ads or more – 30 minutes). We can also do bulk removal at discounted rates.

1 ad – $5
5 ads – $20
25 ads – $50

Payments are made through PayPal, once payment is received the process is started immediately.

NuclearMosquito emailed this listing, saying: “Now I know in “this economy” (whatever that means), people are looking for new ways to make a quick buck. Somewhere along the line, someone will think, “Hey, I should charge people for an already free service! Maybe even one they can do themselves! Surely someone will fall for it.” Sadly, they just might. This ad promises to flag other Craigslist ads for you. They even offer a discount for bulk flags! Just Paypal them $5 per flag, along with the URL of the ad you want flagged, and they’re on the job. Now really, you have to wonder if the people that read this ad and think it’s something wonderful don’t notice the flag button, that they can click themselves, FOR FREE, in the corner of that very ad! The mind boggles.”

Indeed it does. I should, of course, mention that this ad got flagged. I wonder if someone paid them to flag their own ad? I would have, just for the irony of it.

The person who emailed me must have googled for something related to “removing competitor’s ads” [update: my search terms show one search for "how many times do you have to flag," one for "flag craigslist ads," and three for "craigslist flagger"] and found this post on the site — and then completely missed the point of the post and thought that I provided this service!

So after I stopped laughing hysterically, I emailed back:

From:   yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com
Subject: Re: $5 PayPal payment made, please delete
Date: June 2, 2009 6:55:20 PM EDT
To:   [name_of_moving_company]@gmail.com

It appears as though you saw this posting on my website:

http://www.yousuckatcraigslist.com/?p=1897

In which I repost an ad that was posted on Craigslist, in which a company offered to delete competitor’s posts for a $5 fee.

I do not provide this service. In fact, I was making fun of it, as I think it is slimy and disingenuous to pay to have someone delete a competitor’s ad. (My website, You Suck at Craigslist, is devoted to mocking Craigslist ads.)

I do not have a Paypal account with that email address, so I have no way to accept or refund the payment you sent me. I suggest you find out whether PayPal has a way to cancel a transaction.

So I guess this answers a few questions. First of all, apparently people are willing to pay for a service they can provide for themselves. Second, apparently some people will resort to underhanded techniques such as flagging competitor’s ads on Craiglist to give themselves an “advantage”. Third, I bemoan the decline of reading comprehension.

Please — if you find this even half as hilarious as I did, submit it to social networking sites (Twitter, Digg, etc) to help disseminate it. I’ve never asked for that kind of publicity before, but I think this is worth it: serendipity and stupid don’t interact in this spectacular a fashion that often.

36 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 June 3

    I tell people about your site all the time! They’re probably tired of me asking “Did you read the YSaC post today??” But I don’t care, I love it!!!

    Adores: 1
  2. 2009 June 3

    where the hell did he pay $5 to?

    man you could earn some serious side cash with morons like these

    Adores: 1
    • 2009 June 3
      drmk permalink

      The money got sent via Paypal to yousuckatcraigslist@gmail.com, and PayPal notified me of the payment, but I don’t have a PayPal account at that address.

      I’m not going to take the money, but I’m also not going to knock myself out trying to figure out how to refund it to them. I figure if someone sends me unsolicited money for a service I (a) don’t provide and (b) have no intention of providing, it’s not my responsibility to figure out how to get the money refunded to them. If they just leave it there I’ll eventually donate it to charity.

      Adores: 11
      • 2009 June 3

        ooo i see ok. yea i wouldnt SERIOUSLY use his money but its def not your responsibility to return it either :)

        Adores: 0
  3. 2009 June 3

    You would think that your domain name alone would have tipped the individual off. One can’t exactly claim that you are being sneaky.

    If you do end up having access to the money, perhaps it should be donated to a literacy program? Just sayin’…

    Adores: 12
  4. 2009 June 3
    Daniel permalink

    Not only does this person suck at Craigslist, he sucks at You Suck at Craigslist.

    I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment.

    Adores: 57
  5. 2009 June 3
    gas station bathroom permalink

    Did you flag the ad for him, though?

    Adores: 6
  6. 2009 June 3

    I suggest you set up a paypal tip-jar for just these occasions with your email address. If some dork is stupid enough to send you money and takes up even ten seconds of your precious time by doing so; should then forfeit his cash simply as a stupidity-charge. You will be duly compensated for the time it takes to respond to their inquiry notifying them of their dimwittedness–and should feel not the slightest guilt about it. It’s like a donation for your kind tolerance.

    Adores: 5
  7. 2009 June 3

    I suggest you set up a paypal tip-jar for just these occasions with your email address. If some dork is stupid enough to send you money and takes up even ten seconds of your precious time by doing so; then he should then forfeit his cash simply as a stupidity-charge. You will be duly compensated for the time it takes to respond to their inquiry notifying them of their dimwittedness–and should feel not the slightest guilt about it. It’s like a donation for your kind tolerance.

    Adores: 0
    • 2009 June 3
      Clovis Sangrail permalink

      I am willing to flag this duplicate post for the low, low fee of 5 dollars (your choice of which country’s dollars).

      Adores: 22
      • 2009 June 4
        corn flakes permalink

        I’ll do it for $4.
        Hoooray capitalism!

        Adores: 8
      • 2009 October 20

        I’ll do it twice for $7.

        Adores: 8
        • 2010 May 16
          nate permalink

          and i’ll do it once for $3, twice for $7, or five times for $100.

          Adores: 4
  8. 2009 June 3

    Ah, yes, the internet. It brings out the best in people.

    Adores: 1
  9. 2009 June 3

    Stumbled!

    I tell people about this site too; and I don’t think there is any ambiguity regarding what it does.

    Oddly enough, my feller and I were just now having a discussion about how some people just don’t bother to do proper research online – they just see something, click, and deal with the usually unwanted consequences later.

    Adores: 0
  10. 2009 June 3
    madkathy permalink

    I’ve wondered about the origins of your subheading “Exactly what it says on the tin.” Why did you write that? Who could possibly misinterpret “You Suck At Craigslist”? Who would need further explanation of what to expect from the site? Could it be any more explicit?

    Now I know.

    Adores: 6
  11. 2009 June 3

    *claw at face*

    *drool*

    Adores: 1
  12. 2009 June 3
    Courtney permalink

    Further proof that somebody has, indeed, been pissing in the gene pool.

    Adores: 0
  13. 2009 June 4
    kristen55 permalink

    Wow, so if you spend enough time making fun of the really dumb people on CL, eventually one comes along and seeks YOU out! That’s just freaky!

    Adores: 2
  14. 2009 June 4
    Laura permalink

    Okay, so it’s been bugging me since you changed the site. Why’d you change the site? The old site was so awesome, the layout, everything. Why would you mess with awesomeness?

    Also, keep up the good work, very cool. Maybe you should consider setting up an e-mail account just so people can randomly send you money out of the idiocy of their hearts. Just sayin’.

    Adores: 0
  15. 2009 June 4

    You’re in my blogroll and a daily read of mine – does that count?

    Adores: 0
  16. 2009 June 4
    corn flakes permalink

    YSaYSaC is the future.

    Adores: 1
  17. 2009 June 4

    stumbled for your awesomeness

    Adores: 0
    • 2009 June 7
      BRIT! permalink

      Seconded… this one is too good not to share!

      Adores: 0
  18. 2009 June 5
    Canaduck permalink

    …no way. Please keep us updated on this genius.

    Adores: 0
  19. 2009 August 1
    Mental Mouse permalink

    Lessons in reading comprehension: $5.

    Mocking the mindless malefactor: priceless.

    Adores: 4
  20. 2010 April 3
    minetruly permalink

    They could’ve been stupider. At least they didn’t send you more confused messages after you explained the misunderstanding.

    Adores: 0
  21. 2011 November 28
    peter permalink

    So how much do you charge for flagging people’s posts?

    Adores: 0
    • 2011 November 28

      $20 per ad, payable via the Paypal button on the right column. Unless you’re serious, in which case it’s $50 per ad.

      Adores: 1
      • 2011 November 28
        LimeLolly permalink

        Seriously?

        I just peed my pants laughing. Okay, so technically it was because I was coughing, but it started out as giggling.

        Adores: 0
      • 2011 November 29
        EclecticBlue permalink

        I think you should set up a service where you flog ads. It sounds more fun. Oh wait, that’s what you do every day…

        Adores: 1
  22. 2013 October 6
    Brer Fox permalink

    *Walks into KFC*

    Yes, I’d like a Whopper with cheese, please.

    Adores: 1
  23. 2013 October 7

    Tankerbell and Ralph, being in the box all weekend is like staying at a minus-four star hotel! Sorry about forgetting to send in food and water. Punchity Punch Punch!

    Good Morning, Flagman!

    Adores: 0

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