Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is a centralized network of online communities featuring free online classified advertisements, with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. It was launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 by Craig Newmark.
The early years of Craigslist - before hitting the mainstream consciousness - featured a network of cool, artistic types. Most East Coast DJs were still unaware of CraigsList, and if somebody posted "DJ Wanted," there was a good chance that you could score the job and be compensated at your customary rates. Weddings and corporate events were all possible through CraigsList!
However, the site eventually devolved into a tacky online flea market of bargain-hunters and a horde of discount DJs happy to oblige this new clientele. As an example, a user on CraigsList would post something like "Experienced DJ Needed for Anniversary Party. Must have references and provide demo CD. Compensation - $0. Free drinks and food!" We have not browsed the CraigsList classified in years, but from what we hear, the number of quality jobs posted is few, with competition fierce for these scarce leads.
An alternative CraigsList strategy adopted by some DJs has been to post "DJ For Hire" in the classified section. Particularly if posted repetitively (at no cost), this could result in brand awareness among CraigsList shoppers. The bigger question however is, "Are CraigsList shoppers your target market?" In the case of Ambient DJ Service, the answer is a resounding 'no'.
How DJs Should Use CraigsList
CraigsList is a great tool for recruiting and networking with fellow DJs. In 2007, our company added its second system, taking the step from single-operator to multi-system operator. That hire, discovered through a CraigsList ad, DJ Iron Mike, has proven to be a smashing success. Through Mike, I was introduced to his friend Christopher Smith (DJ Spinz) who also proved to be highly successful in the Ambient DJ roster. DJ Gary G, another CraigsList contact, became a friend and enlightened us on profitable internet marketing strategies - also becoming a great referral source. Gary introduced us to his mentor DJ Brett Gash, "the Godfather of East Windsor DJs" who has become a great friend and source of referrals.
Fast-forwarding to 2011, we now periodically post in the Jobs Section for entry level disc jockeys. The ads always produce a large and qualified group of respondents who we can weed out in search of our next great DJ! Best of all, there is no charge to place a classified ad.
The moral of the story is that CraigsList, if used properly by a mobile DJ company, can produce extraordinary profits. But it will not be via responding to "DJ Wanted" ads. In the case of Ambient DJ Service, CraigsList helped us to find the right staff, opened doors, and set us on a course of "one thing leads to another." For that, we dedicate this next song to CraigsList and thank you!
Postlude: And as DJ Iron Mike just reminded me, two of our cast members, DJ Extreme and Larry Sargent, also were discovered by the Craigslist relationship ripple effect!