Garage Sale Rover by Chris Janota Shut Down

Chris Janota  Garage Sale Rover

I regret to inform the Garage Sale Rover community that my app will be shut down the end of the year.

Google Play stated they have been informed by Craigslist that Garage Sale Rover is breaking their terms of service and they have removed my app from the Google Play store.  I disagree with Craigslist’s claim.

Garage Sale Rover is still available on the App Store until the end of the year for free download, but I will be shutting our server down the end of the year and our Android and iOS app will cease to function.

This is very disheartening for me and sincerely regret to have to bring you this news. Over the last three years I have been passionate about building Garage Sale Rover and our community.  Let me explain some background and my thoughts on this action.

This case raises questions over whether Craigslist is stifling innovation or simply protecting its data.  Craigslist has publicly stated they want the data posted on their site to be only viewable on their site, but at the same time they allow their site to be indexed by search engines so the data is open on the internet.

The basic legal question is who owns a listing?

Once an ad is posted on Craigslist does Craigslist own it?  Craigslist has threatened scores of startup and established firms with copyright claims over user content posted to its site.  A legal precedent has now been set in the case of Craigs vs 3Taps and Padmapper (An apartment search website), where Federal Court dismissed Craigslists claim to exclusive rights and copyright in their user generated postings.

On April 30, 2013 Justice Charles R Breyer speaking for the United States District Court for the Northern District California, put an end to further sham litigation by dismissing Craigslist assertions that it held exclusive licenses and copyright over user generated postings submitted to its site.  Read more.

IPSreenShotsmallMy thoughts are Craigslist should be able to control access to their data but that it shouldn’t own facts expressed by that data — such as the fact that a particular garage sale starts at 8 am next Saturday.  Just these facts were reported on Rover. Each garage sale on my app had a link to Craigslist to get detailed information.  Rover helped Craigslist by directing more traffic to Craigslist.

Despite this precedence in Federal Court against Craigslist, and even more surprising to me, Google Play has decided to interpret and enforce the Craigslist Term of Service by shutting down Garage Sale Rover.  Google Play hasn’t responded to my email request to reinstate Rover.


Garage Sale Rover launched in 2010 and has since received over 500k downloads through the iPhone and Google Play and was heading towards real success.   My app had the promise of being the garage sale hunting tool you always wanted. There were lots of new feature development plans in the mix. I was in the middle of developing text and email garage sale alerts when a sale matching your pre-entered criteria was nearby.  Also we were working on posting new sales to the app with a simple tap and a picture.  I had fun developing Rover with Nagender, my main man, and it was fun brainstorming for new ideas and talking to Rover users about making it better and making ridiculous tutorials.

But with the closing of Garage Sale Rover on Google Play the fun has stopped. I can no longer afford the operational cost to maintain the app from revenue of just the App Store.


Using Craigslist for garage sale hunting is antiquated, the locations of listings are hardly dependable.  They recently implemented maps in the listings but only one pin appears on a map. That doesn’t do any good when your planning a route of 5 or 10 sales to hit quick on a Saturday morning. Garage sale hunting is inherently a mobile activity and you need to create a route you can take with you.  Planning your route requires tedious cutting and pasting to take with you on your garage sale hunt.  There is a litany of shortcomings that come with the Craigslist garage sale search; they are many and they are painful.  Craiglist: Your site is bursting with with great data, but your interface is torture.  Either give users a garage sale mobile app or the tools to effectively use your site… or allow someone else to do it.

Ok im done whining for now; I have no desire to be a crusader and fight the powers that be and dwell on this any longer. I just want to explain the situation to you and get on with my Laser Lipo venture.

My new venture is LipoSculpture. New non-invasive lipo is hot business and the industry is heavily fragmented with manufactures and practitioners that are welcoming the extra exposure I can give them.  Please wish me luck with my new podcast.

We had a lot of fun developing Garage Sale Rover.  Thank you for your support the last three years.  Also a special Thanks to Nagender Sangra, Mick Dunnavant and TheThrift for their support.

These are just my thoughts and opinions on the closing of Rover.  You can get a full legal break down from The Aim Group who has done a terrific job reporting on Craigslists actions.

Craiglist’s Effect on  Newspapers

Craigslist vs 3Taps


69 thoughts on “Garage Sale Rover by Chris Janota Shut Down

  1. You had it nailed Chris. What an absolute shame the lawyers had to stand in the way of providing what us “peons” wanted. Don’t be discouraged – you had the idea, had the talent to present the idea, and had the drive to follow it through to the end. You’ll succeed at your next venture; no worries there. GarageSaleRover will be missed.

  2. Thank you for the awesome app. I’ve used it every week over the past year. Very sorry to see it go. Why is it that when there is something good it has to end.
    Thanks again and good luck with the new venture.

  3. I have used this app every weekend almost since the start. Garage Sale Rover is as much a part of my Saturday morning as my cup of coffee. I am very sad to see it go. I will sincerely miss it. Thank you for all your hard work. You developed a great app/service. Best of luck in your future ventures. And Happy Holidays to you.

    • RIGHT???? Ok good, I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I’ve used garage sale rover since the beginning, bought the full app and everything. I noticed about a year ago that there were more and more deadbeat sellers when I’d drive well out of my way to their nonexistent sales that still showed up on rover. Literally the last 5 sales I tried going to, nobody was there. Still on rover. I hated the fact that the cd disc icon and media sales got taken away. The app just seemed to start going downhill. Such a great idea and it did help me many times, but its been too long since I depended on it to be too sad about it going. If this was a year and a half ago I might be a little devastated. I does suck that craigslist is going the corporate douche bag route, but rover has hardly worked for a while now.

  4. I don’t usually write to people or engage online, but just want to say I have really enjoyed using garage sale rover. Has been the first place I go sat morn for the last few months since I discovered it. Thanks for creating such a smart fun useful app for us to use. The democratic & equalizing promises of the early internet are slowly eroding away, thanks to decisions made by increasingly powerful players like Craig’s list, facebook, Amazon, and Google. Thanks again for a great run. Understand your decision not to turn it into a crusade against one of the big dogs. But thanks again for a great app and your openness about the situation. It is very appreciated.

    • I agree with your comment about “promises of the early internet are slowly eroding”. The tech giants are becoming so dominant by stifling competition with patent law, cease and desist orders and other legal means that its alarming where we are going to be in ten years.

  5. Sorry to see this app go. It was very useful to me when my kids were getting their first apartments and we had a ton of supplies to buy. You saved us money and time. Thank you!

  6. I will miss your app very much. On a Saturday morning it’s the first thing I open right after I open my eyes. Thanks so much for your hard work. I never paid you anything for this great app, but I happily would have. ( didn’t even know there was an upgrade – or a blog for that matter- until today)
    Good luck with your next project!

  7. I used your app religiously and found it very helpful as I would garage sale on Saturdays. I agree with you regarding Craigslist and am so very sorry to hear what they’ve done to you.

  8. That is really a shame. Our legal system has ruptured. I used your site alot with great success.
    Screw Craigs List. You should post a video on utube about this.
    Best of luck!!!

  9. What a shame. This is so dissapointing. A group of my friend and I have used your app every Friday for 3 years. Thank you for all the good times. I will NEVER EVER use Craig’s list again in protest

  10. I am very unhappy to see that they are removing this app. I have enjoyed using this app every single weekend since I downloaded it. I am a garage sale hunter and eBay seller. this has been a very valuable tool for me to use and I am very sad to see it go. I don’t know what I’m going to do without it. I guess I’m just going to have to use pencil and paper to write down the sales that I want to go to. if you know of an alternative app please by all means let me know thank you and good luckwith your new endeavors. Thank you Clarence

  11. I am saddened that Garage Sale Rover is shutting down. It made it so easy to locate sales in a given local. I will no longer use or support Craig’s list for what they have done. They are greedy and don’t take the general public in to consideration. There is no good way to track garage sale on their site or other sales for that matter. You can’t even pinpoint a certain type of product without getting a lot of other things with it. It is not sort specific so you have to look through hundreds of adds that have nothing to do with what you are looking for.

  12. I would not be surprised it you don’t see Craigslist write a similar app after the fact.Craigslist out dated format does not work . The are taking innovation off the market. You helped there boring database an enjoyable way of finding information.

    I contacted Craigslist and had no reply with my disappointment.

    Craig list is hurting themselves.


  13. Of all the apps out their is my favorite and really depended on it. Its fast and easy to use. This truelly saddens me that will be discontinued. It will be missed by me many of my friends as well. Thank you. Please concider bringing it back.

  14. Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into Garage Sale Rover. I’m so disappointed that you’ve had to shut it down, as it really was one of my favorites, I used it every weekend. Craigslist has forgotten its humble beginnings and is now just another greedy company out to squash everything in sight. Makes me sick. Best of luck in your new venture!

  15. I’m bummed. I loved the app. I used it in my iphone. Thank you for your time and effort. Wishing you success in your new venture!

  16. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I only discovered your rover in the last three months. I had a similar experience over 30 years ago with a newspaper help wanted ad. Their decision inspired me to my next leap in my career, though and I’ve continued leaping and leading for decades. Much luck to you!

  17. So pissed off about this !! I absolutely live for your app in the warm months . Tells me everything I need to know about the sales …what a shame !!

  18. I’m very disappointed to witness the demise of garage sale rover. I thou roughly enjoyed it. I don’t understand what exactly caused its demise but it doesn’t make my day

  19. as an avid tag saler, I was very happy with your app! it made our Saturday morning routine of tag saling so much easier and more fun! I am so sorry to see that it has to be shut down. it’s too bad that the little guy loses again. thanks so much for all your work!!

  20. I think you gave up to early. Loved this app! Can’t you just create a board where people can ost their garage sale on your website. It would grow to be the best garage finder out there, better than listings on Craigslist. Haha. You could even advertise on Craigslist.

  21. It’s too bad you can’t take the great engine you built and change it to crowd source data ala Waze. I’m sure there are plenty of people that would help to populate a garage sale database as a social app just as people populate traffic conditions for Waze.

    • Interesting idea. But when I compare the traffic conditions to g-sales, they are not the same. The issue is that there are so many g-sales populating each week – many more than traffic conditions. During peak season in May we were getting 70,000 sales each week nation wide from CL. That would be quite a commitment from a user base to volunteer and enter all that.

      I think the core of the Waze traffic data is from the Dept of Transportation, and the users add on to that core. The theory sounds good to me though.

  22. Wow I lived by your program. I’ve been yard Saling for 30 year. It took me 3 hours to plot my sales the night before. This really sucks. Email me if you ever make it back.

  23. Soooo sad. Thank you so much for making garage sale searching perfect. Every sale I went I showed them how I found them through Your app. You are a wise person and I’m sure you’ll be fine in your new venture, but we will still be stuck in our antiquidated methods for saling. God bless you.

  24. Ok I read all this but it is available still free and 3.99 version on amazon app store. I had already subscribed to the extended version. But now through amazon it is asking for money again. Since I got a new phone I was trying to set up all the same apps I had. But I’ve been recharged when switching devices. So what’s that about? And is this the same app? It’s same logo????

  25. I am very disappointed to hear this. This was the BEST app to help me locate yard sales, especially in cities that I had never been to before. Shame on craigslist! You’re app was the best app ever created.

  26. Thanks you guys for such an awesome app. This is not the first time I’ve seen this happen unfortunately. I’m sorry this happened. This was probably my fave app! Good luck to you guys on your next venture!


  27. I agree, every Saturday morning my husband and I would slowly wake up, stretch, lay in bed, and then open up your rover app to see which fun sales we would be able to hit up that day. Honestly, it was one of the highlights of last spring as new homeowners. Boo Craigslist. Good luck with your new pursuit!!!


  28. I’m sorry this app went down. Craigslist’s app is great for many things, but Garage Sale Rover was better for its purpose, and made much better use of craigslist yard sale data, not that it used craigslist only. This seems to be a case where craigslist (and the public) would be better of if they worked out an audition our partnership with GSR rather then forcing it to shut down.

  29. I was just thinking that the yard sale “season” is about to begin, so I opened your app (that I have been using exclusivly to lead me to garage sales for the past few years!!). I can’t believe that Craigslist took this from us. You are right their version of finding yard sales is almost as antiquated as looking through a newspaper! Thank you for all your devotion over these past few years, you really made it so easy for me to hop in the car and easily navigate to sales that interested me. I usually don’t comment to much on anything, but felt you were worth my time. You had a great app and I hope all is going well in your next endeavor!

  30. I was just getting ready to garage sale. Omg I can’t believe my favorite site is not working anymore! I. Am very bummed; however, I have another idea for you that isn’t involved with CL but very needed and same idea concept! Please email me if your interested in hearing about it. I think it will be a bigger hit because men and women and teens would use it!! Every time we go out, were always going, “man I wish there was a #$#$#$ Rover! Contact me!!

  31. This is a disappointment! Have you considered refactoring your platform to a user supported data collection rather than relying on Craigslist? I mean Craigslist relies on user generated data, why couldn’t you? Maybe I needs to try my hand at mobile development… regardless you’ve got yourself a bit of a brand name here and (speaking as a user and supporter) I’d hate to see you walk out with nothing for all your efforts even if it was just a hobby.

    I’ve got to say though, that dog in your pic has always creeped me out.

    • Can’t they make their own website where people list their garage sales and link it to Rover? Sounds easy enough?

    • I agree with above^….you should really start collecting the data yourself. It would take a little bit of marketing and maybe a 100 or so volunteers to temporarily fill out yard sale info on your own site for a while lol…. I wouldn’t mind cross posting my sales 🙂

      • The thing about craigslist is that they benefit from the network effect. They’re a monopoly. The buyers go to where the sellers are posting. And the sellers post where the buyers are browsing. Its a unique type of market business that’s ruled by craigslist and extradinary hard to tap into without getting the data from them. Rover’s size was impressive but still just a flea on the back of CL. MAny newspapers have lost their classified biz to CL because of this truth and many classifed services (like olx, kiji,ooodle) have had little impact on their dominant market share even if they offerred more bells and whistles on their websites. This is an anti-trust issue.

  32. Craigslist is being rediculous about this. Omg god forbid you were helping them. Unused your app for three years… It was wonderful. I’m surprised they didn’t offer to BUY your technology and add it to their own app… O mean, that woulda been the smart thing to do.I cacan’t believe how freaking stuck up they are. Now it’s back to wasting a ton of gas…

  33. If you can’t beat them, can you join them? Have you thought of approaching Craigslist and either selling your rights to the app or working with them on an app? It hasn’t been garage sale weather in Cleveland so I just realized your app was shut down, what a loss. Good luck in whatever you do.

  34. Major bummer Rover is gone. Hate Craig’s list won’t make sales more user friendly to view. Going to miss Rover immensely!

  35. Have you considered creating your own Database of garage sales? You could use Facebook and your own website.

  36. You and youroapp will be missed. Excellent info on the issue, and I hope you might be able to still this off to another business that can work with craigslist.
    I totally understand that craigslist needs to make it profitable. Servers, databases, electricity, security, email, and the administrative time is expensive. Nothing is free in this world, and hopefully we can see this app be allowed to be used again for a small fee.
    Good luck sir in your endeavors.

  37. What a bummer. 😞 I used this app a bunch last summer and got on today to hit up the garage sales in my area once again this season. You’ll be missed. Thank you for helping me score some cheap baby merchandise last year though.

    • I am an end user (whatever that is?) I used CL to find garage sales to sell on Ebay, CL is not helpful, I had to write every address down, then I had to map it and figure out which location was closer and then try and figure out which one to go to next. It was a huge pain. Rover just used pin points on a map so you can conveniently know where to go and instantly know where to go next visually. What the heck is wrong with that? Then when you click on the info, it took you to CL posting. Again, what the heck is wrong with that? I was still reading a CL post. Now I don’t garage sale anymore, too much work to figure out where they are. What the heck is wrong with teamwork and supporting others ideas? It just isn’t that kind of world anymore, companies are selfish and in it for themselves… What a shame!

      • It’s now 2016; wondering if you’ve got something else going for garage sale mapping? I read a comment above re “your” App being for sale (or free for Prime members?) on Amazon… Just checked and sure enough there it was. Sorry, I clicked back here to finish reading comments and forgot to note who the seller is. The most recent review was 2016, so apparently it is currently being offered. The main thing I have to wonder is how can they use YOUR Logo? Unless I’m being completely dense and that Amazon App IS YOURS!?!?!!!?

        Put my vote down for user-generated database, alpha listing of street names, automatic pin on map in the region you’re sailing. Zoom feature to eliminate dozens of map pins overlapping each other. Three-words-only for description (eg. “baby/garden/gaming” or “junque/junk/nic-nacks” or “sports/pets/baby” etc.) right on the map, visible only upon zoom. In spite of Google’s selfish attitude, maybe this could be a tool on Google Maps, where being able to see a street view is the best thing since sliced bread. Google should PAY YOU jillions to create and maintain that. Use extreme caution using Volunteers mentioned in previous post; a Bay Area boutique/hobby winery was SHUT DOWN for use of volunteers in exchange for winemaking classes, which were otherwise free, if I recall correctly.

        All this reminds me of many other recent I’m-BIG-You’re-a-Pipsqueak activities where a Big Company shuts down a smaller one just because they can. Right or wrong, Big knows Small can’t afford the lawyers etc who could help resolve the whole thing. It’s worse than “The WalMart-ing of America.” (PBS documentary worth seeing)

        “There’s Room For Everybody; if not, SHOVE OVER!”

  38. Thanks for your comment. The garage sale rover app on amazon is my app and is no longer operational. It should be removed but i havent i guess because you may be the only one in the world to ever find it and i no longer have the account info. Almost all our app distribution was through Google Play and iTunes. Im out of the GS business now.
    WalMart-ing of America – i need to see that. Is erry the way the big guys are getting bigger and bigger.

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