If we weren't already comfortably ensconced in a house, with no particular need for a roommate other than the stray cat that comes begging for food every day, we'd have already fired off an e-mail to Chris Smink, the author of what might be the greatest Craigslist roommate posting ever, for reasons we'll soon explore:
$500 HOLY CRAP! IS THAT A ROOM FOR RENT ON MY CRAIGSLIST??!?!?!?
You bet your nomadic ass it is. Do you want to be homeless? Then you better come check this room for rent out. It has WALLS and a CEILING. BLOCKS THE FUCKIN WIND AND RAIN FOOL!
He had us at "nomadic ass." But it gets better...
We got carpet up in this hoe too. They wanted to come put in hard wood floors. But I was like FUCK THAT. I don't want my feet to be cold when I get out of bed at night. Carpet. So soft. Transcends the walking barefoot experience.
We got ELECTRICITY. POWER ALL YOUR APPLIANCES. Play my XBox360 because I never do. No need for candles or firewood, because I got LIGHTS and HEAT.
We can play his Xbox 360? We don't even have a regular Xbox, let alone one of the fancy new 360s! And there's carpet? Sold and sold again.
Smink, 28, is an Internet marketer. (And from the looks of it, is quite good at doing his own Internet marketing on the side.) He placed the ad on Craigslist a few days ago as his current roommate is moving out and he needed to find a replacement quickly.
When asked about the...rather unusual nature of what could have been an extremely trite and easily overlooked ad, Smink told us, "I was annoyed with how quickly ads on Craigslist are buried and forgotten. But what I realized is that they deserve that fate. Most are boring and monotonous -- especially when it comes to apartment listings. An apartment is an apartment. It has doors, a floor, walls, some windows. Who gives a shit, right?"
The ad quickly gained traction around the web, being Tweeted dozens upon dozens of times and even resulting in 40 new followers for Smink on Twitter, who Tweets as @cougarclaws. And the Internet interested has also resulted in plenty of e-mails -- more than 100 at Smink's last count -- from as far away as England and China.
But the real question here is how effective the ad has been. For as funny and well-written (at least in terms of attracting attention) an ad is, its true test is whether or not serious consumers are responding to the product -- in this case, consumers being people who need a place to live and the product being Smink's house.
So we asked him. "In terms of apartment interest, I've had about 10 serious inquiries on the apartment. The ad was posted on Tuesday, so most people browsing Craigslist are only looking at new listings."
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Ten serious inquires out of about 100 doesn't seem to be too poor of a showing, considering that effective market penetration is an extremely difficult goal to accomplish and Smink wrote the ad in all of three minutes. Then again, measuring "action" -- i.e., whether or not a consumer purchases a product -- based solely on a product's advertising has so far been an impossible algorithm to write, even for the most seasoned marketing professionals and math geniuses. (Want to become a billionaire? Figure out how to measure this. Seriously.)
What can be measured, however, is reach. And judging from the reach of this particular piece of advertising, Smink has done an impressive job of finding his core market and creating an ad that does what all ads aspire to do, whether on Craiglist or during the Super Bowl: go viral and stick in your head.
That said, the clock is ticking for Smink. "My current lease expires on February 26. I've got to have a roommate sign the lease by the 24th, or it'll be me responding to ads on the Craig. And I probably won't be replying to ads with, 'Yo! Let me move up in that motherfucker!'"
So the test is on: Is Smink's ad merely a brilliant and inspired blip on the radar -- bringing in massive amounts of pageviews and emails of praise for a brief moment in time -- or will it actually net him the roommate he so desperately needs?