If you’re like me and can drive traffic from craigslist.org to your own site, you have probably succumbed to the dreaded Craigslist Ghosting. This article should catch your attention and provide you with some insight into how craigslist screens your ads. When you are posting ads on CL, you might be posting ads in services sections or casual encounters or the jobs sections. If you have posted an ad, only to not see the ad actually go live, you have probably been ghosted.
Craigslist Ghosting works like this, you post your ad making sure you write good copy that is not a duplicate of another ad, you publish the ad, you get the email notice that the ad has been accepting and should be live. Yet the ad never sees the browsing page or front page of that category. You ad is like a ghost because no one can see it. Hence the term ghosting.
Why does CraigsList Ghost my ad?
Craigslist is full of people trying to take advantage of a site that gets a huge amount of traffic. Craigslist is in the top ten of all US websites. Craigslist is fully aware of this and has implemented some pretty interesting controls to prevent abuse of their system. IP Checks, duplicate content checks, Phone verification to post in certain categories, limiting the number of ads one can place in a day. These steps are necessary evils to keep the spammers and scammers under control. At least to an extent. If these controls were not in place Craigslist would be full of spam, scams and would lose the interest of the people we want to reach the most. Real users.
What I do on Craigslist will remain a closely guarded secret. I really do not want to see another 1000 Internet Marketers competing in my space. What I do is not illegal, a scam or spam, and does not violate any ones Terms of Service IMHO. Craigslist will probably say otherwise, however let’s just say we have a difference of opinion.
How can I prevent Craigslist Ghosting?
I have been working on this problem for the past three weeks or so. If you are hip to IM like me, you understand the economies of scaling an operation. If I can make $150 from listing 10 ads on craigslist, I can ramp that up and make $1500 from 100 ads or even $15000 from 1000 ads. That my friends is making real money. So how can I post a lot of ads without being ghosted. I cannot reliably say that I will ever be able to see 1000 ads running concurrently, as that is a lot of work. Outsourcing maybe, depending on their capabilities, cost and capacity.
Here are a few tips that I will share with you that I have learned over the past couple weeks.
- Drip feed your ads into CL – Do not post one ad after another in rapid succession
- Use cheap throw away domains, ie .info domains are $3.17 each with Icann fee at Godaddy
- Redirect the cheap domains to your main site. A simple .htaccess with two lines of code can do this easily
- Change your IP address frequently, I like to post two ads from one account, switch IP address wait 20-30 mins and post 2 more from another account.
- I have 5 phone numbers under my control, If you want to post in certain sections you have to have a phone verified account
- Use free email addresses from gmail or yahoo to tie your Phone numbers to.
- DO NOT under any circumstances use any Free Proxy to switch IP addresses. CL knows about these and will ghost you in a NY minute.
Craigslist Ghosting the takeaway
To put all of this into perspective would require a rather lengthy article. So I will leave you with a couple things to consider. If you are being ghosted their is a 98% that you are doing something against CL TOS. If you want to keep grabbing traffic from CL you are going to have to be very creative and find out what works for you. When Craigslist Ghosting strikes your ads, you have to make them think you are someone else each time you pay them a visit. That someone cannot be someone they don’t like already (The free proxies) or live in a bad neighborhood(blocked IP address or range) or have their geo cache data not showing a location.
Master these tasks and you can take advantage of the traffic Craigslist can generate. Likewise, you will be able to avoid craigslist ghosting completely.