I believe the problem mainly stems from the 'resellers' - people who don't want your item for themselves but intend to carboot/ebay it. They set their e-mail filters to identify any OFFERED: e-mails coming in, and action them by sending a 'can I have' e-mail. All automated, no human intervention required.
You then respond to them, thinking they must be keen to reply so quickly.
But they then decide they're unlikely to make anything out of your item, so they don't bother getting back to you.
I usually wait 24 hours after my offer has been posted, then look at any responses I may have had. If it's a generalised 'can I have it' I assume it's a reseller, and concentrate on the responses that re-mention the item in some way; e.g. I recently offered empty egg-boxes (no resale value whatsoever!) so looked to the responses that mentioned they had their own chickens or wanted them for pre-school's model-making etc.
Have freecycled a few things, kids bikes, baby stuff etc and always had hands bitten off. Have never put my hand out in return. Although if we were in need definativrely go there. Last week, put a decent dish washer on the system and got a fair few answers. Choose one guy phoned him up and said you've got it. He was very underwhelmed, said he would speak to hiss girlfriend and get back. He wanted this somrthing for nothing and was the one to ask me,remember. Chased himwith 2 more emails over the course of 4 days got nowhere. He didnt have the wit to sday he no longer wanted it. Went back to next on list and no reply to to that email either. what is up with these guys? I am now so annoyed with this that im coming off, mybe its just this area but its nothing to do with a sharing community ,which is so sad.
By the way, we sold the dish washer on ebay for £60 and he got a good deal
I agree with WhereYouLeftIt. I posted a list of several articles that were completely unrelated, just general small items that were too small to post individually, cluttering up the board. A selection of the replies that I ignored:
Hi, If still available can I come and collect from you.
Hi, yes please if still available, can collect to suit you
Hi am interested if you still have
Now, which item was it you wanted ...?
"The toaster would be fab - ours died this week! Would be most grateful for it if you still have it. I can collect tomorrow morning around 11am."
Ignore any email that doesn't mention the specific item and wait until someone gives you a reason for wanting it. No sob stories, just a simple reason, then pick from those emails.