Craigslist is most visited Classified website in the US. Its users post Million of ads per day. To prevent over posting, spam and fraud craigslist has its own flagging algorithm and community based system which helps to flag and remove in appropriate ads immediately that violates TOS of Craigslist.
It can be a good sign to promote a really useful ad or be a mild warning for those users who accidentally post an ad in a wrong category or over post it. This flag can also useful to send an alert of a post that is prohibited, offensive, hoax, or contain disturbing content. However, it is possible for a that some people flag your ads just because a they as your competitor does not want your ad swimming on the front page.
Sadly, the flagging system is community and user generated most of the time will not confirm whether your ad really contains prohibited content or not. Craigslist In-house software/bot will just remove your post if there is several users decide to flag your post right after it is up. The system’s algorithm usually will not keep your ad if the ratio between flags and ad view is not balanced. For example, if within 5 minutes your ad is viewed 50 times and you get 20 flags, your ad will likely be automatically deleted by the system. The lower flag you got for a post, the higher chance that your ad will safely stay on the site.
The smart way to post ads on Craigslist without getting flagged
We at postingbros, running lot of campaigns for our costumers. We created a presentation that might help you to learn how you can minimize the chance of flagging and ghosting.
Preventing your post from getting flagged and ghosted from Craigslist should be your first thing to do if you plan to utilize Craigslist as your local advertising tools. No matter how interesting your ad is, if it keeps got deleted or ghosted by the system, you will never get anything from it. These tips below can offer you an effective solution on how to avoid craigslist flagging and ghosting.
1. Be careful with your location
Since Craigslist main purpose is to host local community advertisement, it requires you to post ads locally. Therefore, if you posting ads for property sale in Dallas, the site will assume your IP shows that you are on Dallas area as well. Posting from a different area can raise suspicion that will cause your post is ghosted. Even using a cell phone or tablet sometimes is not good enough to ensure the system that you are not trying to cheat the regulation. Use local DSL/ Cable Internet for the best and safest option.
2. Spread your post
If you have a lot of inventory or items, you will need to make a schedule to spread out your post. If you are accidentally flooding the Craigslist front pages with your ads in a very short time, big chance your account will be targeted by an automatic flagging application that is used by your competitors. Make a good and reliable schedule that can help you maintain the list of items that you have posted. Double post the same item is also one main reason for your post get ghosted. Do not post on the same time every day, but do it randomly and aim for the high traffic time frame.
3. Use more than one IP addresses
As mentioned above, Craigslist system monitors the IP addresses of its user. When they notice too many posts coming from one IP address, that list will get flagged by the system. This is their regulation to prevent spam of ads at once. This problem usually occurs when several people use the same computer to open so many accounts. If you need to post a lot of product, you will have to provide multiple IP addresses for every account. There are simple ways to do this manually or you can utilize an automated Craigslist posting service.
4. Avoid repetition
It is better to rotate the ads that you posted so it will not be considered as spam. When you try to post the same ad every day to get more view, the system will notice your pattern and they will just be ghosted your next post.
Change the description and titles if you need to re-post the ads. Pay attention to the user who successfully posts ads without getting flagged or ghosted and follow their example. If you have like 100 items that you need to post, divide them into 5 group and post a different group of ads for each day of the week.
5. Remove the browser cookies
Every time you visit Craigslist.org, it will leave a cookie in your web browser. The site will be able to track you by the trace of their cookie. Clearing the browser cookie will remove any activity that has been recorded in the site’s history. Therefore, if one of your posts ever gets flagged, removed or ghosted, it will not influence your other posts or your account.
6. Increase view count of your ad
The simplest on how to stop Craigslist flagging and prevent your ads from being deleted is by increasing the view number. Every time you open the ad link on a new tab, you have created an “ad view”. This will help you maintain a good ratio of ad view even if some people do flag your ad. The other way is to use an image-based template where you can put contact info such as phone number, company name, brand and location on the picture. A Craigslist post URL that contains item’s name, brand or company’s name is easier to be detected by the automatic flagging program, which will increase the chance of being targeted. Other user and potential buyer will find your advertisement finely using the search button, but you will make it harder for any user who specifically trying to target your company.
What makes Craigslist ghosting a post?
The term “ghosting” refers to when an ad appears successfully posted, while actually it was never published to the public. Whenever a user tries to post an ad, Craigslist system will confirm that your post is successfully published by sending link and post ID to your email. However, no one else will be able to see your ad because the system “hides” it from the front page. Those ads will just wander on the back halls of the site just like a ghost, hence the term “ghosting” is created. The worst part is that, unlike being flagged, you even will not receive any notification from the system that your ad just got ghosted.
Once you search craigslist in the category you posted, you won’t be able to see your ad.
In theory, the only post with potential aspect to become trouble will be ghosted by the staff. This can happen if your account already had several ads that are flagged and deleted by the system. However, sometimes your ad is being ghosted without a specific reason, even when what you have posted is totally innocent. Sending a complaint report to the staff is not really helping and if you try to pull something funny, the site admin will just ban your account forever. Even if you are really careful not to post too many ads and strictly following all regulations, remember those competitors are trying their best to get you post removed.
However, there are several issues besides system error that can get you ghosted, such as a problem with the location, number of posts, ad description and ad links. The most common reason is a similarity in ad title and description with an existing ad. When you sell the same item, it is quite often you just repeat the same advertising tagline or catchphrase. Putting the suspicious link in your ad can also trigger the system sensitive algorithm to read trouble in your post. Since the staff will not really check user’s post one by one, any direct link that you put on your ad might be considered as click bait even if it only shows your product catalog.
So how to check whether your ad is really published by Craigslist? The easiest way is to search your ad’s ID on the site search button. If you cannot find that certain ad, big chance that your post is ghosted. The other sign is when you did not get any response from your ad. It means no flags, no phone call, no notification, no view, nothing! Even the most uninteresting ads will get at least several views and one or two flags from a passerby user, so if your ads just up unnoticed, possibly it was just never there.
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