Craigslist Kills Off Ability to Post HTML-Enhanced Ads – Real Estate Agents and Investors Affected

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For those of you who use Craigslist to post listings for your rentals, houses for sale, and more –  your ability to make your listing stand out may be changing quite dramatically.

At least in certain markets, (Florida, Texas, Washington, and Others) it appears that Craigslist has discontinued it’s use of certain HTML tags within listings that allow users to customize their posts using third party web applications, like Postlets or vFlyer.

In addition, it would appear that links to outside websites may also no longer work.

In the past, these third party companies allowed you to upload all the property information directly on their web application, and a long code was generated that you simply “Copied and Pasted” into your Craigslist ad. This code includes numerous “tags” which direct Craigslist to show certain items, like logos, photos, tables, and more.

However, with the subtle change, all “enhanced ads” have been denied by Craigslist – making each and every ad look similar. Take a look at the photo below to see an example of what posts “used” to look like – and what they look like now:


collageHow Companies Used HTML with Craigslist

There were two primary ways that these third party companies used html to create enhanced craigslist listings

  1. Html with tables, fonts, and multiple images (Postlet’s Model)
  2. One giant photo used for the listing, that is hosted on their servers. (vFlyer’s method)

Both models accomplished the same purpose – to make your Craigslist posting stand out above the hundreds of other listings by including larger photos, a more visually appealing look and flow, and the ability to showcase your company’s brand and logo.

However, it appears that at least in many areas both these methods have been given the ax by Craigslist, even retroactively for older listings.

How to Check if You Were Affected

If you are a real estate investor or real estate agent who previously used a third party program like vFlyer or Postlets to create flyers, check out your local Craigslist listings to see if your listings are affected. Your area may not be affected yet, but it appears most places are, or soon will be.

To check, simply go to Craigslist and attempt to add a new housing listing. On the page that you’ll enter in all the details about the property, look for a yellow tag right below the title that states “IMG, FONT, TABLE, DIV, and SPAN tags are no longer supported in this category.”  See the photo below:


Craigslist HTML


What This Means to You

The largest problems I see for investors or agents is:

  1. You are now limited to the 12 low-quality photos that Craiglist gives you
  2. There is now no way to have your logo included on the HTML. You can simply write your company name.
  3. Your listing is now going to look like everyone else’s.  Boring and white.

So what does this mean for you and your real estate business? As I see it, three thoughts come to mind:

1.) Postlets can still send your listings to Zillow – which, as I’ve discovered recently, can be a terrific lead generating source. Postlets also syndicates to backpage, ByOwnerMLS2,  Enormo,  FrontDoor,  HotPads,, Lycos, Oodle, Trulia, Vast, and Yahoo! Real Estate. So I still recommend creating a Postlets listing.

2.) It’s more important than ever to make sure your Craigslist ad still stands out.  Now that all the ads will look the same – how can you make yours stand out? First, use the highest quality photos you can. Second, break up your listing into short paragraphs, using headers, bullets, numbering, bolded text, and italics to make your ad easier to look at and consume. No one wants to simply see a wall of text.  See the “After” photo above for a recent posting I placed on Craigslist.  Also – to see what HTML you can use on Craigslist (although they have not yet updated this page since the change) click here.

3.) Make Your Brand Stand Out.  Your Brand and Logo are no longer going to be able to be shown, at least in photo form. Instead, be sure to use your company name often and bold it whenever possible. To make your text bold, simply surround it with the <b> (text here) </b> tags.

4.) Host your own listings.  If you don’t have your own website, I highly recommend creating one for your listings. Although you can’t included a click-able link to your website, people can still type in your website name and visit your site. This way, you can include more photos of the property, videos, or other cool features. If you don’t have a website yet – don’t worry, create your own website in under an hour, even if you have no technical skills and simply point people from the Craigslist ad to your own website.


The largest frustration with the change comes from a lack of communication from Craigslist. Since the change, Craigslist has offered no explanation or details on what they did, how many people it has affected, or what there plans are for the future. There is speculation that this change may be a lead up to additional monetizing strategies from Craigslist, though no proof has been received on that note.

What do you think? Have you noticed the change? Do you see it affecting your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo: Mohammed Alnaser

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on,,, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. Hey Brandon

    I’m not sure if this is just a momentary glitch but today Craigslist isn’t even allowing links within their ads either. If that’s permanent, that would seriously impact the efficiency of a tool that is extremely useful -especially in marketing rentals.

    • Brandon Turner

      Very interesting, Erion. You are correct- that seriously impacts things. I wonder if they’ll start charging to use certain tags? While that would be obnoxious for us, it would also make them billions overnight. Not a dumb move on their part. We’ll have to keep watching. Thanks for the comment Erion!

  2. I have posted on Craigslist for over a decade now, and truthfully, they have always been against “the establishment”, and against “mass profits”, and against whatever other big company memes you can think of. I’ve used automatic posters, html, etc. in my architectural postings before, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before all categories get the smack-down. They have ALWAYS been against using keywords, invisible fonts, html….however they allowed them. Again, now they’re cracking down on yet another category. Since the beginning of time their TOU has always been against the aforementioned offenses, so if you don’t watch it you can easily find yourself banned from doing very many ads at all – paid or not. They can use phone numbers, IP addresses, and crawl their own ads to blacklist you. You will then find yourself barely able to post on CL at all. I know from personal experience.

  3. wow! Just checked out Las Vegas Housing section and it has changed also…

    they have removed the html, which has in turn modified a lot of ads drastically.

    they did this before about 6 months ago for about 3 weeks then they changed it back. Hopefully, it doesn’t stay like that because it makes the ads look a lot worse and less informative.

  4. Thanks for heads up Big B!

    I’ve noticed this issue earlier this year. I’m in Sacramento, CA and I wasn’t able to use my Postlets.

    I’m planning to:
    1 – Have some profession photos made to put my best foot forward
    2 – Work on my headlines

  5. Thanks for the terrible news Brandon – great way to top off my day! 🙂

    In all seriousness, I think I understand the spirit behind what Craigslist is doing (as much as I don’t like it). Similar to how BP has put certain standards and systems in place to fend off spammers, Craigslist is probably trying to figure out how to deal with the same kind of thing. It’s just too bad it has to affect the “good guys” who are posting legitimate listings without a hidden agenda.

    Things change quickly out there, that’s for sure. I guess we’ll have to learn how to adapt.

  6. Shariyf Grevious on

    I understand Craigslist position in wanting to maintain a flea market persona…and want to prevent small guys or local people from being out done by corporate people…but..on the other hand why not just monetize it…instead of trying to combat html charge for it, charge for all the investor related things like multi posting etc etc…and make the pain (fees) high enough that it would discourage their service from being “Walmart’d”.

    • It’s against the very spirit and nature under which CL was created. They’ve got huge money-making potential, but they don’t want that. They’re anti-commercial, so no matter how much money people want to throw at them, they won’t change their site. Notice that they don’t have any ads on their website? That’s no accident.

      • Paul

        What you said about CL is true. They are anti-corporate, anti-commercial. But the funny thing is, by removing links from their ads, people will gravitate towards Pay Per Click advertising on Google and Facebook which are… corporations.

        • Very true, Erion. But always remember that CL isn’t concerned about trying to compete with the corporations – they think they do just fine in their niche, which is evidently true as proven by their tenure. For all intents and purposes, they are a “hippie site” (no offense intended). One of their TOU that has remained since their inception has been the prohibition of third-party posting. If they see things becoming spammy or commercialized, they will crack down – as we’re witnessing now. These crack-downs will only usually be regional as they see fit.

          Again, CL loses no sleep when it comes to their TOU, and it’s seemed to work well for them over the years.

  7. Yes, they’ve been threatening for so long that they will not allow any external links that I thought they would never do it. But now it’s been for over 3 months, and it’s ugly. I had to add to each of my ads links to larger images, it’s annoying, but the good thing, I don’t see any reduction in sales.

  8. AH HA! I did set up my website, (Feel free to critique) according to your blog about setting up a website. I tried posting to CL a number of times. I listened to a podcast that mentioned in passing how CL will block your ad if it feels it is to solicitous. After not finding my ads I assumed this was happening so I simplified and still, my ad wouldn’t actually show up even though I got an email saying it was successfully posted. I’m glad to know its not just me being incompetent. Glad to know others are experiencing the same thing. Perhaps someone out there is able to make a new code for the solution.

    Sounds like there may be a market out there for those of us who want to list pretty CL ads.

    • Steve,

      I used to own one of the most powerful auto-posting software out there, but CL took them to court – and won. Many have tried, and they all end up failing, which is why CL is forcing their hand a little more each year. They don’t want third-party posting, so they’re dedicated to stopping it. It’s very tough to find a programmer or software these days that will last any amount of time.

      • All the more reason to go elsewhere. I am getting some hits via People are not calling directly from a CL AD no matter how great the photos. And cutting & pasting a link is not convenient, especially for those browsing on tablets – clearly.

        CL can do whatever it wants to. But so can WE! If everyone who has been affected by this latest CL policy shifts to en masse….then things change.

        • The whole anti-commercial policies worshipped by the wackos at CL is testimony as to why normal people should find other advertising venues. CL they want to help the little guy, but the little guy needs access to the market just as much as the big guy. I hardly think removing third party ad posting and link functionality is a pimple on the hindquarters of any major corporation, but it is devastating to the small peddler of (fill in the blank). Nope, Craigslist is clearly NOT for the little guy. They are an advertising media entity that drives railroad spikes into its own feet, but first through the hearts of small businesses. Goodbye CL.

        • Well stated Kristin. This move was 100% about control. The “little guy” had access to FREE sites like Postlets to help create a level playing field when it came to competing against the big guys. By the way, who was the little guy.. a Realtor making a decent commission, a real estate owner who could afford to buy and rent homes? I’d say the little guy is the person who is looking for affordable housing and they are not being considered in this move (again there were ways they could have controlled over posting / spam, but they chose not to do this). Here is the real reason CL did all this.. if you can not embed an image, you can not get page view statistics.. if you can not attach a hyperlink you get no information about how many times your site was referred from Craigslist. This was done (and I guess it is their right) for no other reason but to control the page view and link referral statistics. That’s why they killed both the embed and the hyperlink. Perhaps they are making a move to monetize, which I think would be a good move for everybody, because it will cut down on needless over posting if you’re paying $5.00 a pop.

        • CL is only enforcing their own rules that have been on the books for over 15 years. I agree, it sucks that they don’t want to commercialize, but what can you do? People have threatened to not post for years, but they aren’t losing their staying power.

  9. We’ve been hit in Idaho and it’s infuriating! Not only were my ads that we’re currently posting affected, they ripped out all the HTML on all of my ads since November 1st. Which means I’ve been advertising with no photos! We pride ourselves on attractive & thorough advertising specifically on Craigslist, and now our advertising efforts will take triple the time and not look half as good. The lack of communication from Craigslist is even more upsetting. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind this change.

  10. The updated hit a lot of auto dealers too. We are working on current solution. Meanwhile we are trying to promote people to use CLlink instead. This is some sort of exact copy of craigslist but it recognizes links and creates hyperlink. To use it just replace “craigslist” in the address bar with “cllink.” It’s same thing as craigslist but it runs a code on top of it and scans for links.

    We hope that if a lot of people will start using cllink, craigslist will have to fix or return the hyperlinks.

    • Tim, I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say to use CLlink instead. I just tried creating two test ads in Postlets with photos, linked them to Craigslist via the you mentioned, and the photos did NOT appear. If I did something wrong, please clarify your instructions.


      • just finds all the addresses in the craigslist post and makes them clickable in the same post if viewd from CLlink. Its absolutely same thing as craigslist but when you use cllink to brows through “craigslist” all links are clickable. is same thing as with but with all links clickable.

        My point is that if people start using all links will be clickable and can be included in craigslist posts.

  11. We sell Jewelry and are a small office in Boston that has 8 employees. Since they have disabled links (yesterday) we will have to lay off people and might even fold. People just will not come to our site without having a link. Yes, some will, but about 90% won’t. That number does not add up to us staying in business.

    Our fault that we only relied on craigslist for our source of traffic. It is a sad day for us.

  12. I use postlets to create my html code to craigslist. Below is the e-mail I just received from them:

    Thank you for contacting Postlets, operated by Zillow.

    For Craigslist posting issues, please read this notice:
    “Your market may be experiencing difficulties posting templates which include images within the body due to a recent update Craigslist applied to their site which strips all images from a listing converting to a text only format. With this update you will no longer see social media or Postlets images within your posting. Craigslist initially rolled this out to limited markets. As of 11/05/2013, all markets have been updated to not allow HTML design based templates. In lieu of the recent changes, our product team is working to introduce a non photo template type which does not include images. In the interim, you can continue to post as usual with the understanding any image added directly to your posting will not appear in your final Craigslist ad.”

  13. Jon Smithington on

    This is not to stop spammers. Removing the IMG tags may have been to stop spammers, there is some logic behind that. This is just more arrogance from a company who doesn’t have to answer to anyone. But what else would you expect from a communist?

        • Not that I am directly addressing either comment, but tacky is why I love Craigslist.

          There is no better place to get a deal on just about everything, the site is like a giant flee market, and I believe this is what Craig wanted in the beginning. Somewhat like a free Ebay site.

          Because of those tacky adds 2 years ago I scored $18k in R-22 freon, for $1700 from a storage locker buyer. He bought the locker as an investment but found it loaded with worthless old heating equipment. The sellers tacky add included a picture of the junk pile which revealed 5 boxes of R-22. The advertisement simply stated used heaters for scrap for $500. I would bet no one looked at that add. The seller just about fell over when I offered him $1700 cash over the phone, especially when I said he could have the heaters for more profit.

          3 years ago I purchased a 32 seat Dairy Queen store for $9500, with only a $4000 franchise fee to DQ. Thank you for tacky adds which basically create a scenario resulting in folks depending on a site that will get them a no sale. Craigslist creates motivated sellers.

          Nothing I hate more are the postlets adds making the site look good.

    • Third party posting has ALWAYS been against the CL TOU, but if you’d rather have someone else tell you how to run your business so that you won’t appear to be a “communist”, then maybe you should allow me to make changes on your site.

  14. No links allowed AT ALL anymore here in Tampa Bay area. 🙁 *sob*

    We used to get a ton of real estate leads from Craigslist. I’d almost rather them turn CL into a pay-to-post service for real estate ads rather than take away links.

  15. The fact is CL is in responsible for the collapse of 1000’s of newspapers who before CL made their money on advertising, real estate, cars, dads old lawn mower. Now that every business has became addicted to the FREE adds that they run they have no place to go.

    Now we are all competing at the same level as Dads lawnmower. I like to think that CL did not have this plan to begin with but I feel the hippiedum was in fact always against establishment and they have won. No business is good business if in fact they are legit, pay taxes, and have employees.

  16. I believe craigslist has done this to start profiting from the housing section without charging for posts. As of today I am starting to see posts made using appfolio showing clickable links again. I copied the exact code from their poting and mine does not show the links.

    I think they are working something out with the major real estate listing sites. Maybe charging them so that their users can post to craigslist directly or something.

    • For some unknown reason Craigslist enabled hyperlinks on Friday, but then sometime by Saturday they became disabled again. I felt like a voodoo doll, and Craigslist enjoys sticking the pins in over and over again. They have complete control.

  17. QUICK TIP! is a site that can, for free, send you notices about CL ads. I’ve had it for awhile and it suddenly went quiet for a while. Didn’t think much of it but in the past few days I’ve received 50 + postings all in one batch. I believe what is happening is the program is picking up the posting before CL deletes it. So in realty, if I’m correct, IFTTT is still getting me all those ads before they are deleted. Doesn’t help for me posting but it still gets me leads on homes at the very least.

  18. Craigslist WAS a nice tool to post last minute vacation rental deals but with the downfall of no longer HTML being supported it looks like that we have to say GOOD BYE to Craigslist… said to see the good service going a step backwards as we have spend quite a bit effort to design a template for Craigslist postings, which now became useless. Frank

  19. What about It is almost identical to Craigslist.

    Just a side note: The html is not a big issue for us, it that they removed the link that is really killing us.

    We have started with and just testing out different things as we scrabble to find a solution.

    • The present trouble with Backpage is that it only has a sliver of traffic compared to CL. At least that been what I have noticed here in Las Vegas.

      However, if we use it more often and the potential clients start noticing the more visually appealing ads on Backpage, they will migrate from CL to Backpage.

  20. Well every one need’s to do one thing. I don’t like it but I have already started. Go to back page and start posting your ad’s there. I don’t care much for but you can still post a very nice ad on the site and if all Agent’s start using then CL will be forced to make changes that allow the Realtor’s to post legal ad’s. If this new format Realtor’s are asking for fines. Look at your state, federal, nar, and local mls rules on posting ad’s. Here your company name has to be larger then your name. This alone makes every ad in Pennsylvania illegal and opens the agent for a fine. You can no longer include the equal housing op. decal. This by federal law makes your ad illegal. Using CL at this point is opening your E&O up for issues and possible fines. Check your association rules. Also a large broker may make a rule that you have to put all office are ind. own. and op. in your ad’s If you not an ad writer you may want to hire someone or move like I have.

    • Hey Jesse

      The problem with other classified ad websites has never been that Craigslist was nicer or had more features. In fact, CL has neither. But what Craigslist does have is the traffic.

      If an ad is posted in the forest and there’s no one there to hear/see it, did it really happen? 🙂

      • “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

        The answer is already one out there, a classifieds specifically for REI. It just needs to be supported by the real estate investing community.

    • Damien Castagnozzi on

      Exactly, that is the bottom line. You have to do something. Either you go to another website like or any other site. Go door to door, take out paid ads on Google/Bing/Yahoo….. Whatever it is, you need to adjust or find another job.

  21. I am thrilled to hear this. For so long now CL has been used by big investors to inundate the site. I used to spend 1/2 my time flagging these giant, oversized, tacky ads. There would be hundreds of them by one company put on at the same time – flooding the site. This is wonderful news.

      • My company created nicely laid out ads for Craigslist and we were very careful to point out being mindful of their terms of use. We also were probably the most conservative group there asking our clients not to post more than 4 ads a day (and that they be unique posts). I have suggested to Craigslist they put a posting cap in any given categories, so only allow 4 to 8 ads (whatever they felt was appropriate) posted in apartments for rent, and they could have put a restriction on posting frequency, e.g. after clicking “Publish” they could have made it impossible to post for 60 minutes. That would have made a very even playing field with caps on total number of posts and posting frequency. Craigslist knows your IP & Mac Address.. so they know even which computer you post from.. they killed so many ways to spam and they could have eliminated over posting in a way that could have satisfied every person. I agree it’s not cool to see anything over 3 ads grouped together at one time, but there were better solutions.

        • I totally agree too. I had to spend tons of time going through ads that blew up as soon as I opened them into huge color screens. AND – there were hundreds of realtor and other agent ads in the By Owner section too, which also was frustrating. I do not mind the current change. Craigslist has always been (and has made no bones about being) a Community Bulletin board, and they resisted /refused to charge for it and monetize. In the meantime they have had to pay whatever high expenses they incur to have that much bandwiidth for all the ads on their FREE site. The big ads, advertisers, brokers and let’s face it, spammers, suck up HUGE amounts of bandwidth and server space – again, for FREE. They are paying for all the things necessary to keep it open and going and they can bloody well do whatever they want with it – we are not Entitled to anything from them. I am grateful for the service they provide -a nd we will all find ways to make it still work for our needs, I’m sure.

        • Couple of things I’d like to point out.. images within the ad space were not hosted by Craigslist, they were hosted by either your own server or a 3rd party image hosting site that were proxied through Craigslist. By uploading 12 larger images through the Craigslist uploader, that is definitely taking much more bandwidth for Craigslist. Also Craigslist clearly labeled HTML ads with the yellow orange indicator “IMG” within the title.. it was always a choice to open those ads. I never argued there wasn’t abuse, I have argued they could have easily controlled it through posting caps in certain categories from the accounts.

          There are a lot of jobs lost as a result of Craigslist killing the privileges which created an economic eco system. You always recognized they were the shark and you were the little fish, it was a symbiotic relationship.. and in this tough economy, why kill jobs? I know the work I did helped better qualify a person to understand the vacancy opportunity, the results were huge increases in leads converted to leases (because the CL audience was much better informed). If you were looking for an apartment, you would definitely appreciate all the information we provided in an HTML layout.. if home is where you are hanging your hat every day then people wanted to see every rock unturned. The current system is okay, and of course free is still good.. so people like me are making the best of a horrible situation. However it would be a real game changer if just the hyperlinks were allowed again and I think it would be a good compromise for both camps because you have a choice to click the link or not. Although the URL is still allowed to be inserted as live text, killing the hyperlink presents a challenge, It’s easy to copy and paste on a computer, but not as easy on a mobile or tablet device.. took me 10 minutes to figure out how to do it on my “smart” phone. allows our HTML and hyperlinks and I hope they will emerge and take over where Craigslist has abandoned their viewing audience.

          Expecting the CL audience to self police was also too tall of an order.. look at Wall Street, self policing leads to abuse so just have better control in place via technology. It’s true Craigslist can turn down the money and not monetize, but I think everybody could win if they did it in a way that was constructive, less abusive and that protected their viewing audience.. and anything that creates jobs in this economy should be welcomed, not killed off.

  22. I see no reason for people to complain. For landlords and agents, would it be back to the days of paying $50-100 just to run a for rent ad? Or a couple hundred to run a block ad in the paper?

    When you get something free and rare that actually gets exposure, stop complaining!

    Crybabies may not remember what it was like in the pre- CL days

    • While Craigslist is a still a free wonderful resource, I believe a nicely laid out HTML ad is easier to comprehend compared to a “wall of text” as somebody earlier stated. If you were looking for an apartment, it’s nice to see what makes that community or vacancy unique and why would anybody be offended by controlling the layout of the page. We’re talking use of fonts, colors and graphics that were relevant to the vacancy. Even a newspaper lays out text in smaller columns or blocks and adds photos to help the user comprehend the content better. It’s just my opinion but Craigslist has devolved to early 90’s web appearance and the good news is I believe somebody will step up to fill the void (albeit it will most likely be monetized). All that was allowed was basic HTML and a few years ago at least they notified the posting audience they were going to “limit” HTML. It seemed back then CL had more respect for their posting audience but perhaps after years of continued abuse, they just didn’t care any longer if they hurt any feelings.

  23. This is a permanent move it seems. Craigslist has built huge awareness and traffic to its site, only to shoot itself in the foot. Legitimate traders and licensed professionals cannot now do what they do in a free world on the FREE web, mention their website or Url page that better explains what they are offering. It’s time to boycott Craigslist. It’s time for another start-up. It’s time for others such as Oodle to start building traffic and grab the share from Craigslist. Everyone whose business is suffering because of this latest move – tweet, blog, comment on Facebook. It’s the only way for change or something new.

  24. While I will miss my nice Postlets ads I’m okay with this too.

    As a consumer I think Craiglist gets too clogged up with all of the spammers who post the same crap non stop.

  25. Another option may be to create a flyer online, save it as a jpeg and then post it. As a graphic designer, I’m comfortable using Photoshop and Illustrator to set up a flyer, with pics, my logo and general info including my website for this purpose. So long as CL is still permitting us to upload jpegs, all is not lost. If you’d like the name of someone who can do this for you, let me know.

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Annette – You are correct, it is possible to do that, but it would be a fairly small Ad (since the photo is like 400px wide maybe?). But it’s not a terrible work around to build your brand still and be able to include your logo and some design – I hadn’t thought of it that way. Smart!

      • They still flagged it and removed. I see all these posts of people who say spammers are on Craigslist and this is good, but there are legitimate Ads and I’ve got a lot of new customers that way. If it’s Free it’s Free or charge us a monthly. To stop links in Ads is so 20th C. and Craigslist tried it before and then reversed. You can’t stop spammers just as you can’t police the entire Web, but in doing this, you hurt business and consumers and it’s just plain stupid!

        • Agreed, I feel it’s the Craigslist viewing audience that gets hurt.. it’s not quite censorship but it’s certainly not an “open” environment conducive to sharing further information. A hyperlink in and of itself is not a commercial entity, so are people really going to get offended by being led to a company’s website. I can see why they limited graphics (although I don’t agree) but disabling the hyperlink limits the expansion of information. If you’re on your computer it’s easy to copy and paste this information, but if you’re on a smart phone or tablet it’s not easy to copy and paste text.. at least not on my smart phone. I sincerely hope Craigslist will again allow the hyperlink again soon. I suggested to Craigslist they allow 1 field for a hyperlink, within the posting UI.. or perhaps charge for this privilege. I just feel while this isn’t the same as burning books, it’s totalitarian.

        • Apet1: you, like many, won’t change Craigslist. They’re enforcing their policies that have been around since day 1, so the idea of getting CONSUMERS to switch from Craigslist is going to be a virtually impossible task. Why not just follow their rules? There used to be a time where they allowed no HTML at all…..period. If it’s free, it seems to me a lot better than back in the old days of posting in the paper for a couple hundred bucks, don’t you? If you keep trying to post illegitimate ads they will blacklist you.

        • Paul, I disagree. In the old days it was not such a fragmented market. You spent the money, but you reached a real audience via the Sunday papers. That’s gone. As to your prediction that people won’t change, well they are. I am receiving real people from my Back page Ads who like my website and register to stay. Voila! And the data shows traffic is moving to Backpage away from CL.

          If you want prominence with your Ad on Backpage, you pay 50C a day to be renewed or take a sponsored Ad. The rest is free. Seems perfectly fine with me.

        • @ apet1: you can disagree with me all you want, but I’ve gone the rounds with CL over the last decade, only to understand that it’s futile. You can’t expect CL to change when 1) they aren’t losing any business, and 2) just because the way that you want to advertise now that they should evolve with you. They refuse to change, so why not work with that? It’s not like you can’t post at all.

          If you think that you going elsewhere hurts CL at all then you are wrong. I’ve read hundreds of comments and articles over the years on how people will be “leaving Craigslist for good”, yet CL gets stronger as each year goes by. They are too engrained on the web and into our society.

          It’s good that you’re going to BP, as you should never have all of your advertising eggs in one basket, but it’s amazing at how so many people rely mainly on a free site for advertising, and then complain about how it’s not changing when it clearly doesn’t have to, nor should it because they tell you from the beginning that they are not changing.

  26. Maybe Craigslist wants some $ from Postlets, really they will become unnecessary without Craigslist.

    On another note, in the present climate isn’t Craigslist just “Leveling the playing field”?

    • If Craigslist wants $’s then announce it at the same time. And no it is not leveling the playing field at all. There are many free sites out there that permit links. How about eBay Classifieds or even Oodle that generate their revenue from Advertising? In real estate – yes Craigslist has shot itself in the foot. Other sites will take the business. The free market always wins!

      • what are you talking about other sites will take the business and the free market always wins? Craigslist is NOT a business, they are not taking any money from you or making any money, they are not part of the free market (they are just free) and they are not part of the government so there is no “totalitarianism” or “communism” or other “-ism” here. Do you really think they are afraid of anyone taking tbeir ads somewhere else? What would CL lose by that? Not revenue. Not capital. Not customer relations because none of us are paying customers. And again remember they are a private enterprise so truly they are allowed to do what they want. Isn’t that kind of the definition of a business in a capitalist society? I
        think we have all just been spoiled for several years by having this wonderful tool and not
        having to pay a dime for it. Quit whining about something that you have been getting for
        free, being taken away from you and go back to newspapers and pay for display ads or pay listing fees on eBay or start your own community bulletin board like Craigslist and pay for all the servers and tech support and staff personnel yourself.

    • Dennis: you have the wrong idea. CL does NOT want deals with anyone. I don’t see how you people can’t realize this. They haven’t changed in 15 years, nor will they now. They refused a buy-out deal from Ebay, which would’ve left Craig Newmark a billionaire. You all have to just conform to the rules, or post on a different site. It’s actually that easy. You can’t contact them, and they won’t listen to you. That’s why the TOU is as long as it is. It’s unfortunate, but how do you run a virtually free site and still support vast customer service? It just doesn’t happen.

      • You can run a vast site and make money quite easily with a free plus paid advertising model. It’s called sponsored advertising next to your post. You want to pay, you get a Ad prominent on the right hand side. That’s what Backpage offers as do countless other sites including Facebook. Very simple and the best way to keep the content people there.

    • It’s national. Craigslist is rolling out the ban in all areas. Once your Ad expires or if you try to change it, the links will go. Even if you just type it in anyway, they have flagged and removed my Ads.

  27. I’m testing out for real estate postings. Let’s all try and find another site and post here. Boycotting Craigslist will teach them what a free market classified portal is all about.

    • I hardly think CL will care if you or anyone else boycotts them. You are not paying them anything anyway, so how it hurt them? Boycotts normally teach a company with REVENUE or FEES a better way to behave. Not a company offering a FREE service.

  28. Here’s a thought:

    Could it be that this change in CL policy will cause the behavior of consumers on the site to change as well?

    Think about it. Prior to the ban, all the ad had to do was entice the consumer to click the link and drive him to a site where you could capture the information and make contact. If there’s no link, that doesn’t mean that now consumers just aren’t interested anymore. They will still be there browsing for whatever they need. So if there’s no big link to click in the ad but the consumer is interested in what you’re offering, what will they do?

    They will reply to the ad requesting more info. Or they will call/text the phone number you provided in the ad. Which is exactly what Craigslist wants them and us to do. This is a back to the basics move by Craigslist. So instead of complaining that we can’t copy paste Postlets ads code into Craigslist and calling the providers of a free service commies, I think we need to tap into our ingenuity and figure out new ways to market within the ecosystem.

    • I disagree. The amount of information you can display on Craigslist is and was limited, thus a back link allowed the consumer to find out who you are with a webpage link. That’s not spamming. Either way, what did Craigslist lose since it has no revenue model on the free classifieds anyway.

      Really a knee jerk reaction designed to just be a nuisance.

      By the way – try Backpage classifieds at Looks awfully similar to Craigslist.

      • One thing a link provides is legitimacy.. when I get a phone call from a spammer I ask what their website is and they always hang up. I think more scams are going to breed and come about from not being able to easily access additional info. Also as I mentioned before it more cumbersome to copy and paste a link from a mobile or tablet device.

      • I’m a copywriter. Here’s the simply reality. If the consumer is interested in your ad, they’ll respond. If that means they have to copy & paste, or type in a URL from scratch into a browser, they will. Yes, I’m all about reducing friction points and making doing business easy, but if ALL ads have no active links the consumer will figure out pretty quickly they need to manually type or copy/paste the URL into a browser.

        Make doing business with you easy, and test different calls to actions (CTA) … Give your URL, give a phone number, let them email you and see which method consumers use. It’s hard to ignore all of that beautiful traffic coming through CL.

        Write for readability. Short sentences, some bold, use bullets, no more than 3 sentences per paragraph. Dan Kennedy’s book on Sales Letters goes over this topic. Read it.

        Change is consistent in life and business. You can fight it, or you can embrace it and find solutions so you can stand out. We’ve had great success giving the consumer enough information to excite them without trying to sell them, and then having them request for the details. This also allows us to build our list of people to market too. If you’re selling a house and someone responds to learn more, you have a consumer in the market for a new house. Ding, ding, ding.

        Like I’ve taught my children for years … don’t focus on the problem; focus on the solution! Spend just 20% of your time “defining the problem” and then 80% of your time brainstorming the solution. Good luck everyone.

    • Issue with that is in the Real Estate world on CL if you don’t post your ad with no contact info . You get calls till 1 am in the morning for bs stuff. You get spam emails none stop. You get other companies calling to sell you stuff. When we when to the link based contact and provided not email contact through craigslist we stopped getting the emails saying my husband died in what ever country and I need you to help save our families money bs.
      We found that the people who where interested in the real estate would come to our site and after viewing the property they would click a link for schedule a showing and at that point they would give there name and contact info for us to call them to set up the showing.

  29. It is a shame to see this enhanced ad ability go away but we can post to HotPads for free and still get a good amount of leads from their viewership. Last week I posted to both HotPads and CL. In five days I received 18 HotPads and two CL inquiries. A significant drop in CL responses from the last time I posted a vacancy there. The clutter of commercial ads and duplicate postings has made CL less attractive anyway. It’s almost useless unless you filter the postings by searching first.
    Atlanta area

  30. It’s not just real estate, Craigslist seems to have stripped HTML tags from all for sale listings. For me the big loss is clickable links to my website.

    But the workaround is to make better use of the reply mechanisms that CL still allows:
    1. Put in a phone number and make it a large size font
    2. Have the phone number go to a voicemail, where you can do additional selling
    3. Encourage the reader to click “reply” to the ad to get some incentive
    4. Upload your nice images with URLs and phone numbers directly to CL

    Keep in mind that Craigslist mostly cares about what consumers think, less about what posters want. If consumers complain about the plain text ads, CL will reverse the policy, but I doubt that will happen.

    • That only works if you have a listing and most agents don’t advertise their listings and just throw them on the MLS. Buyers need to find an agent. As a realtor, you are advertising your services and a brand by hooking people into an Ad and directing them back to a professionally and legally produced website. That pipeline has now been cut off. I used to get at least 2 leads a day and since this offensive move by CL, my traffic is ZERO! CL loses nothing by allowing consumers to be directed off its site to a license individual, because it has no advertising revenue model. What this does is hurt the consumer and hurt legitimate business. seems to be a CL look alike. Well guess what, such protective policies by websites will eventually lead to loss of traffic. Way to go CL! We take our business elsewhere.

  31. It’s not just RE ads, CL has killed a ton of functionality in the for sale category.

    I buy & sell a lot of stuff on CL, or at least I did, my ad response is down over 90% since they made the changes and I have a garage full of stuff for the last 5 weeks that nobody is calling me on that would have normally lasted one week.

    Like I asked before is there another alternative to CL because they just screwed themselves out of a ton of traffic.

    • We’ve already discussed alternatives. Ebay classifieds is free, Oodle, Backpage. Unfortunately none of these have the kind of traffic that CL had. It will take time for people to move to alternatives. In the short term we are all screwed. The more we blog and comment online, the more people will try other services and hopefully build up those sites traffic.

        • I think there could be a real opportunity to have a CL killer.. what Craigslist has done a good job is controlling spam by using technology. A CL killer could be more transparent, say allow a fixed number of posts per day while using current IP monitoring technology. Remember when people opened up multiple accounts on Craigslist and all the ads were getting ghosted or flagged. This is because they could monitor your IP address and probably had some kind of conditional programming statement like, if IP address sees multiple CL accounts, ghost / flag all ads.. I’m not a programmer but hopefully that makes sense. I’m just saying take the honey out of the hive (all their progress) created by Craigslist and make a better CL. I just wish I had the money to do it…

        • Well, could emerge as a real threat.. look at how many people have mentioned traffic is increasing there (and they do allow full HTML)… pictures are great but they are not the full story. You do not see any other website on the internet laid out in just photos and text alone.. I also believe this could lead to an increase in fraudulent scams since links are going to be de-emphasized.

  32. I noticed the change immediately and was very disappointed. Thanks for writting this article. Its even more frustrating that theres no where to complain on Craigslist. All I can say is poor form Craigslist!

  33. CL was not designed for the joy and exploitation of profiting real estate investors. Repeating ads and junk mail looking postings are part of the reason why I don’t use CL as much as I used to. Keeping adds similar and trashing all the noise from postlets, etc. is good for the consumer – the person whom the site was designed for. It is free to post an ad. How can you complain without sounding like an idiot?

    I don’t even advertise my rentals online. Yard sign works the best.

    • Interesting that you call a professional an idiot. I have found some great customers that navigated to my professional and far more helpful site. For the consumer, they get tired of trawling through the Ads without a proper search engine. I got sellers and buyers from Craigslist and many consulting contracts too over the years. If you think I am stupid, well clearly you have no idea of what internet marketing is, nor who I am, nor that I have significant consulting experience in showing people how to build traffic or that I have published a book.

      Did you know CL lost a lawsuit trying to prevent aggregate sites connecting to it? Craigslist designed it’s site to be free on the web which is essentially a free environment. If it now changes the rules for itself, it must suffer the consequences.

      You are entitled to your opinion – uninformed and inexperienced though it is, but don’t call us stupid!

      • No name calling here.. but Craigslist was designed in some time in the 90’s, and it looks like they want to return back to its beginnings (for housing and for sale sections). In my opinion Craigslist evolved to allow a free market within their platform, otherwise they would have killed HTML / hyperlinks years ago. But after years of abuse, I guess somebody over there snapped.

        Admittedly there were many who created a lot of HTML fluff and abused Craigslist. There is something to Craigslist’s simplicity, some people love it and others do not.. but nobody held a gun to any persons head and forced them to open an ad that had the yellow “IMG” indicator. Spam could have been better controlled with technology. Abuse can be transparently controlled.. and that’s where Craigslist failed.

        Those who were opportunistic saw an opportunity and took it. I was an apartment manager years ago and from my time and experience there created a business that helped the Craigslist viewer completely understand a vacancy opportunity by employing HTML. At one time I had hired about 30 contractors from designers to 3d floor plan modelers. I also supported other businesses like CirclePix for virtual tours which furthered an economic ecosystem. I provided better content to better inform the Craigslist user, and the proof was in increased signed leases.

        I honestly feel this is more about controlling, limiting choice, and teaching the housing industry a lesson (don’t “F” with CL, we wear the pants!).. unfortunately it’s the majority of Craigslist viewers who now suffer. I think there is a legitimate balance which can be established between corporate advertiser and protecting the CL viewer / consumer but Craigslist chose to throw the baby out with the bathwater as they say.

        • It is about control. They also do not permit the posts to come up in a google search. That is pure control as it serves no purpose to not attract more traffic to the Ads.

          Someone at Craigslist just flipped.

          By the way, I am seeing that some people are copying and pasting the links or reply via email, and then I can direct them to the link anyway.

          Whatever they do to control, there is always some way around it.

      • @ apet1: CL did not change the rules. They’re enforcing rules that have been on its “books” since the beginning. They saw things getting out of hand, and they’re now getting back to basics. Why is it not their right? Fighting CL is futile. As long as you go on their site and accept their TOU, then you have to abide by their rules – even if they change them (which they are not doing in this case). TOU’s for any website are not static documents for the most part, but CL will only change them as it pertains to keeping their site as originally intended. Again, this is why they did not sell to Ebay and why they don’t have paid advertisements on their site. They will never change this, and in fact they will find ways to be less commercialized if given the time.

        Take the time to research articles about CL and its stance, and you will realize that fighting them is not worth your time. You need to find more creative ways to make it work for you as it stands. At least you’re not blacklisted.

  34. As a “professional”, you are complaining about how a company a free service designed for the use of non-professionals. Do you expect your kids to complain about things they receive for free because they don’t like just exactly how they got it or what exactly it was? Seriously, you are just sore because you aren’t getting what you want from a place that was not designed to serve you. It’s one thing to be disappointed, quite another to complain. Get over yourself and your self entitlement. I guess the word “idiot” is not correct. It should be more along the lines of “self entitled cry baby”.

    • Dear Mr. James,

      Your ranting is evidently designed to be negative and not constructive and personal. We the traders bring the eyeballs to Craigslist. Without our participation, CL dies. You Sir need to tone it down and keep it less personal and more business. Your lack of understanding of the shear meaning of interconnectivity and the WEB, shows you are incapable of comprehending what a free market economy is.

      That’s my last comment to a time waster!

      • Apet1, what you don’t seem to realize is that Craigslist is a service, not a business. I don’t think the founder will be terribly bothered if it dies. He isn’t running it to get rich. It’s a different mindset from Facebook.

        • Oh I do realize – come from tech industry start ups and venture capital – 20 yrs. If he is not in it for the money and clearly employs people, then he is in it for control. I am all for shutting it down so someone else can pick up and make it more 21st C.

      • @ apet1: you talk about “keeping it professional”, but you just keep arguing like a kid with his fingers in his ears. How is that professional? You obviously don’t want to hear what people have to say, even when facts are presented, so why don’t you start your own free classified site? People here have told you time and time again that CL won’t change for you, nor anyone else, however you just refuse to believe it. It’s akin to trying to change Washington D.C. – it will never happen.

  35. Hey James, you need to think this thing completely through. There is no such thing as a customer with these big high traffic companies. There are only people that create content to create the traffic. That’s what we do when we advertise on craigslist. We create free content to craigslist . Everything is upside down with the new paradigm. Facebook is the extreme example. If craigs doesn’t wise up a competitor will take over….

  36. There is a more simple yet complex explanation for the events you see, and if your interested, this will help you forecast what is to come on the other sites. Lets start with why the images left.
    Craigslist crawls their own ads to ban spammers, and prostitution, drug sales etc. These people have quickly learned to post their details into an image, and render the crawlers useless. The more of them that figure it out, the more the problem. More illegal posts, of every nature, and nothing to police them.
    Why did the tables go. Because people can create sophisticated forms, and replicate craigslist complaint forms etc. When you click this phishing form, your screen blips, and your off on a phishing site reporting your passwords and account details etc to craigslist staff, but its fake. So, these people learned how to get around the PVA by phishing internal craigslist pages from within the site its self, like an error page with links to report the problem for instance.
    So why did the links leave. Partly because of the phishing scam I mentioned, but also technology is catching up. You can link to any website, which can automatically use the browser to phone the person who placed the ad (twillio). But, the website redirects them back to craigslist, and the ad placer is now listening to you in your house through your microphone. Another common scam is to fill out a fake form on the craigslist page, which does any number of things when it redirects you. It can drop you on a click jack page. So everyone who clicks submit, for the free ipod, just clicked someones ad and committed click fraud for the person who placed the ads. Or added a view on youtube. If you land on the wrong website, and you think your registering for that free ipad, you might have just logged into paypal and approved a purchase. Or clicked someones google ads without looking at them. A fake layer can be put over the actual page your typing, or it can go into a database, where south african peasants use proxies, and try to access your paypal etc. with the information you provided.

    Click jacking, phone phreaking, phishing. This is why they dont tell you why they did it, because the internet just got a lot less safe, didnt it? Kids can do this, better than you professionals. Professional what? Your just something else’s food in this pond. If the other sites had the same amount of traffic, they would be forced to adopt for these reasons as well. Yes, this is sad, but look in the mirror, what did you teach your kids? They are going to rip this all to pieces eventually. Its someones fault. Those someones are so clueless, they deny responsibility for raising a thief, housing a scam artist till they are 30. The rest of you are living in your own bubble, until, pop. Now your getting closer to realty.

    The craigslist party is over. I learned this at a site that teaches all about craigslist, the scams, and the different methods to use online advertising to make money.

    • What a ridiculous explanation!!! If people are stupid to pass their financial information over, well hey that is being done every day or all sort of sites, not to mention clicking on a scammer pretending to be your bank. So all e-commerce stops because of potential phishing? Really? Should we all stop using credit cards because of potential fraud.

      Ebay did something akin to this some years ago, by hiking it’s fees. Guess what? The Amazon marketplace was born for traders to advertise with no fees. There will alway be free classifieds, aggregate sites (e.g. kyak) and scammers. That’s not a reason to shut down the effectiveness of a site. Heck why not shut down CL altogether in that case. What a ridiculous unarticulated comment Mark!

  37. You know, there are two things about the truth you dont know. 1) You dont know you are blind to it. And 2) You dont know anything about it – Bubble boy. Your ridiculous and unarticulated, uneducated, confrontational, and delusional. I didnt ask for anyone’s opinion. I just spent some time explaining the security holes craigslist protected themselves, and their clients from. Im not here to argue with you, your no one.

    You know that moron, that always pipes up when ever you say anything with “no it isnt”.. Its just how they engage in communications. They dont really have any opinion, or any insight, except its just how they get people to engage them, lonely and sad. If they werent so contrary, they believe they would be invisible, a victim. This type of person living in denial having offspring, teaching them to f the world, and bury their head in the sand is a big part of the collapse we are witnessing around us.

    Your credit card companies will limit their own liability in the near future, you dont need to worry about it at all right now. Ecommerce is just a bubble. If you cant tell already, Im involved in internet security at a certain level.

    Here is a youtube clip of a security exploit people were using to track people down by their ip address and find out their phone numbers on craigslist. Craigslist began to shut down their image tags in various cities just one week after this video was made public. Any of these other sites that allows the img tag are exposed to this exploit as well. People were learning how to track down their attackers who were flagging them. This also applies to backpage folks.

    • How very ironic. You just posted a link to make your point. Isn’t that exactly what we wish to continue doing on Craigslist? – Make our point in addition to the text. Let’s see, should we also shut down YouTube because we can’t police it? What nonsense!

      Let’s stay on topic. Crime is everywhere but that doesn’t mean you hurt legitimate good people trying to do business and who provide jobs. Instead you capitalize on it and find a way to meet them half way with whatever business model eventually makes sense. You don’t turn the switch off just like that. We own the content which is the life and breadth of Craigslist. Period!

    • This is fascinating! I had no idea how much mischief someone could cause by having a live link and a hosted image in a Craigslist ad.

      But if what you say is true, it begs the question: why did CL remove these functions only in some categories while they continue to allow them in others?

    • We have moved our ad’s to backpage also and the new company just went public with ipo the other day it’s a china based company like ebay and craigslist. We just opened the account yesterday with them and posted one ad at this point to get a feel for it.

      • It will take time to build. The downside with Backpage is that you have track back all your emails to locate a posting. It does not have an account based page listing all your postings. I can’t deal with that either. Also, your Ad is buried for a month and I have no intention of paying to renew it at 50c a shot, when this site is unproven at this point in terms of traffic. So your Ad is basically just good for the day.

  38. Personally, If you have the right product or at least the right price listed, I think that is going to get you much farther then having a “pretty flyer.” I am an agent and landlord, and do not use any of those third party ads, and I get plenty of leads with my boring white ads. Its all about knowing your market, having the right product or at least pricing it correctly, for God’s sake, having GOOD pictures like Brandon said, and actually writing an AD like they did back in the day in newspapers. Short and sweet and sell the sizzle! Thanks for post Brandon, good to know either way!

    • I don’t post flyers however, the links to the property and my website are a valid way for me to weed out time wasters. Serious people who want to rent or buy or sell, will go to my property website and they book an appointment to view. Links are pretty standard on the Web except in CL’s mind. What if I wanted to post my Linkedin profile so people could know who they are dealing with? What Craigslist has done is effectively encourage anonymity and spam. As previous poster, Jesse Storm stated, we now have to deal with people emailing us and calling at all times. (BTW: Use a Google number and turn it on Do Not Disturb after hours.)

  39. I’ve been using CL for a few years. I feel like I’m giving people exactly what they want by linking to landing pages with homes the person maybe interested in. Nothing more than that, but I have a theory about all this. Zillow is losing listings right and left as more brokers and even MLS’s (mine here in Austin) are opting out of syndication next year. I think CL is a huge threat to Zillow and that they and CL have worked out an arrangement.
    I still use CL and just tell folks to copy and paste the URL. I have seen some drop off but not to zero. We would get about 150-200 hits to our website per day, now its about 100 per day. The real loser is the folks that come to CL for real estate links, guess they will be going to 3rd party sites like Zillow with their out dated information and the STUPID Zestimate crap.

    • I think Trulia has the real opportunity here for Free Classifieds because it owns Market Leader (The crm software for realtors). A lot of realtors have been sucked into the paid advertising by both Zillow & Trulia and found nothing but crap leads (if you can even call them leads). I get better quality from my own advertising. So, if someone at Trulia is reading this, please do something that’s a free classified and capitalize on the $350 M or so you spent on acquiring MarketLeader. Paid advertising on these real estate sites is waning, hence they push listing agents to pay for a prominent position.

      I’m testing Backpage and I like its full acceptance of html links and templates. The more we all post, the more Google will pick up in searches and therefore people will come.

  40. To Julian

    Yes, if you’re a renter, then CL is your friend, but if you’re a buyer, especially 1st time buyer, CL has nothing for you. It’s a waste of time and at least in my area overfilled with “sold by owner” overpriced properties. As a buyer I want to know property taxes (Zillow is pretty close to the true value, I’ve checked many times with the official info), also I want to know when the property was last soled and for how much (Zillow is pretty good as long as it wasn’t last year or sooner). I want to know when they 1st listed this property for sale, how many times they’ve changed the price and what was the original price. CL won’t send you e-mail updates of a property you like or of similar searches. I also can see on Zillow how much the properties in the neighborhood were sold for, how many are for sale and for rent. Actually, when I see something interesting on Zillow, I check on CL to see how desperate they are and if there is a price difference between the sites, I know what number to start with. All above info on Zillow tells me tons about a property, before I even consider doing more research, calling my realtor or getting into a car.

    CL has ways to go. BTW, no one looks at Zestimates, even though it’s not that off in “good” areas.

    • Well that is the whole point of a realtor – the back-end data and numbers – information they pay for! Many 1st time home buyers do actually come to Craigslist and then click to a website where they are directly in touch with a realtor.

    • Changing a market place to a new way of doing something is a very difficult and time consuming process. It’s hard to change how people do things in the masses.

      Here’s a few ideas:
      1) Get all RE people, rentals, property managers, etc. on the same page and ALL of them posting their ads on, i.e.,
      2) In CL, do an image so it can’t be spydered that states something like, “Due to the recent changes by CL we are now posting all listings (rentals, etc. – whatever you do) on You can be creative with this image.

      With everyone (or at least the majority) doing this it will train consumers on where to go to find a home, find a rental, etc. Over time, consumers will learn where to go to find what they are looking for. This will also increase the traffic to the new website.

      However, do be warned, you do NOT know what changes the new site will do. In the online world, traffic is king! By massively increasing their traffic by making a huge shift in the market place like this, you don’t know if they will also eventually take away HTML, or start charging fees, or ____. If they have the traffic, they have the control. Plus, traffic is equal to the value of the site which will then put this site on the radar for a buyout, like, if I remember correctly, Facebook (or who ever it was) wanting to purchase CL. At least with CL they are clear about their rules and they are sticking by them so you know what to expect.

      I realize sometimes the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, but maybe it’s an illusion. It would be terrible if you changed a whole market place to another company/site to eventually be right back where you are today. Sometimes it’s just better to embrace the changes and move forward. But, you won’t know unless you try, and then it may be too late. “Hindsight is 20/20”.

      • Posting that you’re going to move everything to BP will likely get you banned – maybe not right away, but sooner than later.

        I agree though, embracing the changes and moving forward is the only way to go, as everyone is on the same playing field.

  41. My dear Gayla, Zillow has never not ever sold one home. This 3rd party site is taking listings that agents work hard for and own the photos and descriptions used by Zillow to sell to other real estate agents. Zillow also does not remove listings after they are sold, this causes problems and leads to lawsuits which zillow conveniently exempts themselves from in their fine print when you agree to syndicate a listing with them. Our MLS in Austin is opting out and we are not the only ones. Many brokers are also opting out on their own. Zillow makes its money by using other peoples work for free then selling advertising. I do not syndicate to zillow anymore because it does not help my business. Zillow leads are crap, becsuse you get 1 o2 a month because they have oversold the area. My cl leads are about 500 per month before the link shutdown. RE is a numbers game and I do far better on cl than paying zillow $100 mo for 1 or 2 leads. Even with the link shutdown on cl we are still getting more leads than paying zillow.

  42. Hi Julian. I not going to argue with you, you are the one who is selling (or at least on that side of the game) and I’m not, I’m the one who is buying. I just told you my opinion as a buyer. I would assume that you as an agent should love Zillow, because it saves you ton of time, for which you are not paid. I only call my realtor after I eliminated all irrelevant properties and we visit only the top candidates.

    I’m not sure how it all works, but if I bring my agent how can a listing agent know where I found the property (is there a way for you to find out I saw it on Zillow, if I don’t ask for an agent on Zillow’s site). Anyhow, it seems weird to me that Zillow can interfere with anyone’s business if it advertises and saves time. Just to better understand you, what “[Zillow] oversold the area” means, since you earlier said they never sold one home.

    And what do you call a lead? Is it a showing or an offer?

    Thank you

    • Thanks Gayla, not going to argue with you.. So why aren’t you using you agents IDX website? That’s a real time feed from your local MLS. And it wont have listings in there that were sold a year ago, like on Zillow.
      Leads?? You’re missing my point. I run ads on CL purely to drive traffic to my website which is an IDX site for the MLS here in Austin. People are free to browse and look at properties. If they have questions or would like to see a property then they can choose to ask me. (thus becoming a lead) Because of IDX almost all agents in my MLS can promote my listings on their website, and I’m fine with that because we are all part of the same board of realtors. Bottom line is I want people using my website or even my fellow local realtors website..
      On Zillow over selling an area, heres what I mean. Zillow is constantly calling RE agents to buy a zipcode in there area, and make it sound like it’s exclusive to you, but what they don’t tell you is they have sold the same zip code to 50 other agents, so when a consumer makes an inquiry it goes to who ever is next in line to field the inquiry. They charge about $100/ mo. I have used this a few years ago and maybe got 1 or 2 inquiries per month. that’s paying $50 to $100 per lead.. that’s insane. CL provides me hundreds at virtually zero cost. Hope that answers your question and good luck with your home search.

      • Hi Julian. Thank you for your patience.

        Once I find a site that has all info I need and more (in other words better than Zillow) I’ll start using it. I personally never had a problem with Zillow having for sale listings that aren’t for sale any longer. It does change to pending and then to sold. They do have mistakes in prices and dates on properties recently closed (one year and less), but this hardly affects me, since I won’t buy a property that already got sold once withing the last year (a flip), I’ve got my primary residence already :).

        I got what a lead is, it’s not an offer, it’s just a showing, which for you means a pay-free time. I save my realtor this time and only take her to properties that I want to make an offer for and Zillow helps me save her and my time.

        If you’re a listing agent then buyers will come to you eventually. If you want to be a buyers agent by paying 100$/m on Zillow, then you’re right, it’s a mistake. Before I have decided to use one realtor all the time and before I’ve selected my realtor, I would place a request on Zillow and if the property was 200K and more, I would get 10 calls withing an hour and then 10 more in the next 5 hours, I had no idea who had I talked to and who was I supposed to meet with in an hour. If you think about it, Zillow promotes buyers to choose only one realtor and stick to it, otherwise you’ll get insane. If you’re good with people and can quickly figure out what they value in a realtor, you’ll make people stick with you as their realtor till they find the property. Interestingly, when I requested on Zillow to show me a property in 30K range I got one e-mail reply 2 days after the request. May be it’s worth buying really bad areas on Zillow, you’ll have no competition with other realtors. Good luck to you with your leads :).

  43. Why all the whining, bitching and moaning ?

    You have been getting FREE – lemme say it again – FREE – advertising from CL for years.

    Instead, you should be thankful for getting even 10% of the 90% you’re not ENTITLED to as a God-given right.

    This is just another example of the ENTITLEMENT mentality that pervades our country.

  44. Since Craig first started making his list in 1995, the choice of online classifieds for real estate investors, agents, contractors and real estate professionals has been limited to the inclusion (or side note) within a broader-based, general public platform. Bigger is not always better. Third-party aggregators like Zillow, Trulia and all basically share the same data with varying degrees of gimmickry, and their primary audience is the consumer home buyer. Specialization is the solution to over-crowding and misdirected advertising for the real estate investing community. Look at Bigger Pockets; they found a niche and are doing quite well.

  45. Well being a graphic designer I would just take the exact same image or layout as the postlets and copy/paste the image. Your ad can still stand out and even look better i think. But most people dont know how to upload a graphic to a server and then copy/paste the image location. But if you do you will be the only realtor standing out from the rest. Go to the “Services>Computer” category on craglistt to see how us web designers post images. You guys can DEFINITELY work around that.

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Nora – however, they also killed off the tag in any craigslist post- which means you can’t upload to another photo hosting site and link. Unless you mean upload it as one of the photos Craigslist allows – which would work, but they are kinda small and low quality. Thoughts?

      • Hi Brandon, I’ve been wrecking my brain thinking. My solution is pretty much the same as some of the readers on this thread… LEAVE!

        I am testing backpage and the trend in traffic compared to craigslist. Not sure what the future holds but I use to have hundreds of postlets as a previous single-family property manager. I can’t imagine.

        I think CL would stop these erroneous changes if its users left in groves.

  46. They wouldn’t have changed if it weren’t for idiots from company’s like keller williams real estate, who posted the same ad over and over on the same day. I counted the same house on at least 20 times in one day with just minor changes. And that was just one of their advertised houses from one realtor. You put in the fact that all their realtors advertise, and how many ads did they put on every day. Who knows!! It was absolutely ridiculous. Its enough to piss the consumer off that is looking to purchase. I know it made me mad enough that every time I see their name I just clicked off the ad didn’t even look at their houses. I live in one of the areas effected by this change, and if it cuts down on the number of times idiots like those guys post. Then I am ok with it. Once again way to go abusers of the free system making it harder for people to enjoy a good thing. Its kinda like standing in line for government cheese with both hands out expecting to fill both hands and expecting that because they filled both hands today that they will do the same tommorrow.

    • Agreed.. it was extremely overly abused. If Craigslist would have required an MLS number, they could have restricted the entry to 1x per every 48 hours. I’m sure there would be a pretty big fine if an agent tried to lie about the MLS number when advertising one of their listings. I also wish Craigslist would have done this for apartments, 4 to 6 posts per day per each apartment.. I saw as many as 20 posts in one day by one community. There were ways to limit spam without killing graphics and hyperlinks. It’s just Craigslist never wanted to make the effort to better control spam. They just took the easy route and killed everything.

  47. It’s true here in North Carolina, too.

    Bummer, as I’m a big fan of posting on Postlets and using their html code on Craigslist – so easy!

    But, being it’s free for both buyers and sellers, I know we have no right to complain, just to be terribly disappointed. As I am.

    Thanks for the explanation and comradery, Brandon!

    • In the FREE spirit of the internet, Craigslist calls itself a Community so enforcing this policy makes no sense if you set out to be free. This latest move will hurt them. seems to be doing a nice job and it’s the 2nd biggest free online classified, owned by a media company that owns (newspaper) free classifieds across the country – so they get it. Everything you used to be able to do on Craigslist, you can on Backpage and they permit it. I would suggest you test market it and give it time. Furthermore, every Ad is able to be searched by Google – unlike Craigslist that cut that off. (So even clean no links Ads do not benefit from search engines and that in itself shows Craigslist is being stupid!) Google search drives eyeballs to your site and not the other way around.

      As for those who think users don’t like the links on Craigslist, test marketing is showing that people are still copying and pasting a link for either validation or more information, or both. It’s just unfortunate that so many are using tablets to browse and cutting & pasting is inconvenient.

      I still think this is going to shake out. There are too many traders and too much content, and a significant amount of consumers who expect back links. A new leader in this space will emerge given time. Tick enough people off en masse, and something else emerges.

  48. Yes it is very unfortunate for craigslist to make such a change. Some people are doing nothing, others are working on a solution. I found their goal is to make this thing go viral. If users will add this extension to their browser this activates all links on craigslist.

    We post cars for dealerships and we will make our best to spread this around. We decided to include it in every post we post on craigslist. If real estate community starts to do the same thing we can make a change. If craigslist wants to monetize on dealer postings we are more than welcoming that. But just deleting links doesn’t make any sense.

    So tweet, re share, and post on craigslist.

    • I think getting creative with solutions, and the tech industry will find it, is the way to go but not a browser plug-in. I tend to to never install such plug-ins due to backdoor security issues. There has to be some other way that will work seamlessly with all the mobile devices.

      • You can use instead then. Its just a mirror of craigslist but all links are activated.

        What you can do is spread the word around, you don’t have to use the plug in, its meant for viewer of the ad not the creator.

  49. We are having success on Backpage.

    Going back to Craigslist for a second. It was a dumb move to remove links. I can agree with removing some HTML, but links? Nope. Wrong move Craigslist.

    Also, I have watching the traffic reports on Craigslist and Backpage. Craigslist Global Rank is down 7. Backpage is up 81.

    Yes, Craigslist gets 20X the traffic, but things are shifting in the correct direction.

    • We have been running ads on for about 2 weeks now since the issue with Craigslist. The first week we only had a hand full of click throughs. But the second week when search eng. started picking up the ads we started to get about 1/4 of the clicks we got from CL. I think over the next coming month as the search eng’s start ranking more you will start seeing even more click throughs. Our best day ever on cl we had a little over 800 page views on our site. We are getting about 200 a day now with backpage this week. If that keeps climbing I will be happy with 500-700 page view a day we average one new client in Real Estate for about every 3000 page views so yes it is a little slower at this point but our own website is climbing up the search eng more now that people are searching more for what they want.

    • Where are you tracking this? I have seen something similar on but would like to see where else you are tracking it. Correlation of the downward trend on CL and upward trend on Backpage is remarkable and no coincidence.

      People have the power. Tick off enough users and they will go. Either Craigslist reverses it’s nonsense protective policy or it really is the beginning of the end. (BTW CL is not popular in Europe at all. It is purely a US phenomenon or was.)

  50. Yeppirs, my “Tables for Sale” ads no longer show the simple hyperlinks to our web sites. This felt like a “dirty trick” sort of pulling the rug out from underneath. It felt punitive. I am not sure why craigslist went out of their way to mess up long-time posters. I know it is free, and I am thankful for that. But it is like offering someone a free meal, and once they get to eating, taking away their drink, dessert, and the chair on which they sit, leaving them wondering what they did wrong.

  51. This has effected us in Cincinnati also. At first it ticked me off but who am I to get ticked? CL offers one of the best advertising medium….for FREE! I’ll gladly do my best to keep up with their changes and try to make my ads stand out from the rest, after all CL didn’t only make these changes effect me…’s everyone else competing in the same category as well. For those of us that embrace the change it will do us good in the long run.
    The change has been in effect for a couple of weeks now and since it took effect it has forced me to revisit having “Too many eggs in one basket” as far as marketing. We have pushed to complete our website and make it better. ( comments encouraged! it has brought the fact that we know virtually -0- about SEO and PPC campaigns to slap us in the face and once again start exploring other advertising medium.
    Change is uncomfortable but in the end I believe that all of us that use CL to promote our endeavors will benefit from being pushed into getting better at what we do. So while I grumbled about the change I feel I am better off for it. Cl is quirky, most of the people that use CL are quirky……God knows “I” am quirky!!
    I say we nominate CL for “The best of CL”………….in their own quirky way they are encouraging us to better ourselves.

    • Glad this is forcing you to explore and expand your SEO alternatives, but understand that some of us were already there maximizing all options with a deep understanding of Internet marketing and well developed websites. CL is still part of the web SEO and by stopping Google search picking up Ads, it is a double whammy to any seller/trader and makes no sense. What this is doing is causing a major shift to alternative free classifieds and Backpage is beginning to pick up disgruntled traders from CL. That’s a good thing. I would encourage you to check it out and post there as well as other sites.

      If CL doesn’t re-examine it’s policy soon, it will have a longer term negative impact on them. Something else is always born out of someone else’s shear stupidity. Good luck with your business.

  52. For all the dealers it is no longer free to post on craigslist. It is also too expensive and risky to invest into opening a pay account with craigslist. There is a marketing company that i know who decided to take a risk and continue to use craigslist to post ads. They service a lot of dealer groups. The company is called DICE Services ( DICE works in all US states including Alaska.

    Other than that, options are your local classifieds, backpage, oodle, ebay, and the rest of that sort.

      • If you are an auto dealer you have to pay $5 per post to post your inventory onto craigslist classifieds. This starts December 3rd this year. This was out for a few weeks now. It used to be free but not anymore.

        • That is the best news yet, if I was Craig I would ban anyone who spammed the site with 20 of the same postings a week or charge $5 for each additional listing.

          For those of you who do this we get it, your crap is for sale or rent!

        • I agree, this changes are targeted to all the so called legit businesses that have been over-posting and abusing the Free CL Ad Space and ruining the whole platform; not to include many of these business have hired criminals to overpost their ads using multiple bogus accounts.

          The spamming ads were using images floated off site from image bunkers to prevent CL from being able to poll and hunt down the ads using keyword searches.

          Ive seen these businesses [ auto, furniture, moving co’s, etc.. posting 5 ads every 5 minutes. killing the HTML, offsite images etc is targeted to stop the overposters and spam. And for any dealer selling a car for $1k-$30K $5 is a small price to pay for a ad. go get it from the the local papers for $20+.

          Not only that there are unscrupulous individuals and groups offering to mass post on CL 7 other sites for these business for a fee. Including the software developers putting out software to spam on CL.

          CL needs to smack down these fools, because they are killing the site and making it unusable with their mass postings and spam.

  53. Can I post ads on craigslist on behalf of others as a paid posting agent or posting service?

    Offering a posting service, or acting as a Posting Agent is prohibited. Violators agree to pay liquidated damages for each posting made.

  54. I just don’t understand how anyone would pay for ads on Craiglist if they do not have links.

    People are lazy-they are not going to cut and paste a link.

    This is going to kill them. Yes, it might take a year or two, but there is no way people are going to keep using this site if they do not have links. Period.

    • Agreed Mike. One of the rules we adhered to in our postings was to post at certain times a day–because the Craigslist user isn’t going to wade through PAGES of listings, they will look at the first page for the most part. I am not disillusioned for one second that anyone will bother to copy the link and paste it into the browser. Our traffic dropped DRAMATICALLY upon this. My thoughts are that the paid ads will have clickable links–but as a Marketing Director, I am not going to pay for it at this point. They went about this the wrong way, you don’t kill the business and then expect people to pay for it AFTER it’s dropped dramatically. The CL user will walk away and find another source. They aren’t coming back.

    • It’s not merely that people are lazy and don’t copy and paste links. 2 very important things to consider:
      1) My ads with links are now also getting flagged and deleted. So good luck with posts with wonderful photos because people still want to validate who you are by going to your site and.,
      2) Understand that mobile devices are now more widely used than desktops or laptop computers, which means it is quite difficult to copy and paste a link. It’s just plain awkward.

      CL is history if it thinks it can maintain both consumers (without click throughs) and suppliers who are mainly small business and just cannot justify fees.

  55. We are still placing hundreds of ads a month since they took away links and getting an 1/8th of the people to our site.

    If we were to pay $5.00 a post, it would be thousands of dollars and almost no hits.

    I don’t care if you are paying or not. No links = no sales. Period.

    We moved to Backpage on Nov. 7th and are very happy with our results thus far.

    Btw – hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving!

  56. After attending a webinar addressing these changes, I was even more disappointed when I learned that my links/images didn’t work anymore. We were told we had to “change the consumer’s behavior” when it came to Craigslist. A couple of weeks later, statistics so far show they are not bothering. Can you blame them? Of course, those who search on Craigslist for real estate/rentals will HAVE to change their behavior if they continue to search this way, but we have already seen the major drop in traffic due to this. If I was the end user, I’d click out of that, do a Google search, and what would come up….Trulia, Zillow, top IDX results. I’m not sure this was the wisest move on their part. I would have to say when distinguishing leads based on their sources, Craigslist tends to rank at the bottom for conversion because of where that consumer is in the process. Very few convert to a lead and even fewer become a closing. Some might disagree on that, but I have been working with many different lead sources consistently over the past three years, and there is a distinct difference between them. It will come down to who is willing to pay to post in the future.

  57. Well if you spammers from real estate company’s didn’t blow the site up with thousands of ads daily, for the same house, then craigslist probably wouldn’t have changed. You guys ruined your own freebie by abuse way to go

  58. If there are no links how are you tracking the traffic CL still brings? If they copy and paste a link in there is no way to track it unless you have a page setup special for CL so all traffic from CL is only going to that page. I am interested to hear other ways to track without hyperlinks. Thanks.

  59. Alex, you make a great point that removing links can actually lead to more fraudulent scams. I said this earlier too, that many buyers, seller and renters have clicked on my Ads to check validity of who I am and to browse a well laid out and authentic website. I’ve had people come to me who responded to rental Ads and got scammed and lost a few $000 deposit. By removing the links to authenticate the person who placed the AD, scammers will have a party.

    This move is neither a security issue or an improvement for users. Suddenly CL decided it wants to monetize it’s site. But it could have done simply by a balance of Free and Paid sponsor Ads, thus keeping its entire traffic intact. It chose to blow it up. And we move on to other sites that do get it.

  60. Paul, your view is clearly not in synch with the data. Good luck to you. As a marketer for 30 years, I have seen many sources online and offline suffer when they stick it to their clients in a dramatic fashion Period. The data is irrefutable and it shows Backpage has grown enormously and it generates money from posters. Again, we are not expecting everything for free, but an element of a service for free is a good thing. It draws people in and content which by the way, we own. That Sir is simple marketing strategy from a person with a Masters and 25 years in executive management in start-ups and Fortune 1000 companies. Have a good day!

    • My view is not “in sync” with the data? Data says that CL has been around for 17 years and is as strong as ever. And they ARE providing an element of service for free. I’m now unclear as to what you’re expecting, when they are providing just what you’re wanting.

      You seem fairly proud of your accomplishments in the educational/business world, but it seems that you’re having a bit of a problem with basic reading comprehension, and you further decline your reputation on this board by complaining about name-calling while doing the same.

      Good luck to you as well, as you’ll need more of that if you continue to fight to encourage CL to be more commercialized.

      • The data shows a decline in traffic for CL and a corresponding bigger spike/increase in Backpage via reputable online traffic research companies. Yeah I was using CL before most people here knew about it. So what if they have been around for “x’ years, so was Microsoft before they got a beating by Apple. No one is name calling here Paul, but you clearly are biased. Good for you if you still love CL. I am merely pointing out that while you still applaud CL, there are other options and these will take a while to make a major dent in CL traffic but they will be a permanent shift. That’s a good thing. It’s called a FREE Market economy.

        • I’m not applauding CL, nor am I biased. I’m just stating my experience with them based on facts that they provide, and have conceded to the idea that they won’t change their ways – you should do the same. I’m not providing opinion pieces here with regard to CL – these are facts, whether you like them or not. I’m not sure that there’s any other way to put it as to say that they are not changing for you or anyone else. And where I move on, there are 5 more advertising in my place. I had the auto-posters, and I was all over the country. I contributed to the problem, so they’re taking back control.

          If anything, I despise the type of people who come from CL leads. I am far from “in love” with CL. I don’t advertise on there anymore because people looking for architectural services are searching only for bottom-dollar pricing, totally disregarding the idea of “value”.

          I agree with you on one thing; it’s a free market economy, but if anything, YOU are biased towards wanting something that you can’t have. Nothing lasts forever, but if CL believes that they are better off with having a plain text site, then 17 years of duration and a web rank of #11 in the United States should speak volumes – especially to someone of your obviously extensive marketing and tech experience.

          And as far as BP goes; I was advertising there 11 years ago and got nothing even years later. You can bet that the shift to BP occurred when CL got rid of its adult section, because BP has not. We all know what sells.

  61. Good heavens Paul, you never stop! Speak for yourself. I have had great business from back links. I refuse to discuss how and why here because clearly I know what I am doing and it is achieving results. And that is my competitive advantage. When CL shut down the links – I took my business elsewhere. Nobody really responds to plain text. Test Marketing proves that. You have no idea what you are talking about because it is my business and I am not sharing those details with you or anyone else. If it works for you – great. Knock yourself out!

    • That’s right, I don’t stop – and neither do you based on the number of your comments. I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today if I whimpered away any time anyone said, “Boo!”. So if what you’re doing has achieved results, then I’m not sure why you’re here with your doomsdayer comments; you’re projecting, while I’m stating facts based on statistics as well as personal experience. Can you tell me what great website has fallen because they didn’t “keep up with the times”? Maybe there are some that I’m not aware of that have the same duration as CL.

  62. This article was posted on a social network for the real estate investing community. So, unless you are advertising junk out of your garage, it is beyond me why some people’s first choice for supporting an alternative to Craigslist would be another “general public” classifieds with the same boilerplate categories.

    When I was wholesaling, I had a buyers list of a couple hundred. I built that list from prospective local buyers who responded to property flyers and advertisements I ran in the local paper for actual properties I was selling. There are aspiring wholesalers who were told by gurus to start their career by building their buyers list. Many who have yet to do their first deal have buyers lists, built haphazardly through the internet, that number in the several thousands. Yet their lists couldn’t hold a candle to the effectiveness of my modest list, because my list had data integrity.

    My point is traffic isn’t everything. Qualified, targeted traffic beats volume. Change is difficult. “We are set in our ways, bound by our perspectives and stuck in our thinking.” — Joel Osteen

  63. Question for everyone>>> At some point, won’t the software on your computer or device be able to recognize the http string as a link automatically as droid devices recognize phone numbers?? CL is trying to put the cat back in the bag. You can’t turn the clock back. Its the equivalent of towns making the horseless carriage illegal in their towns because the noise upset the horses.
    Links are a communication time efficiency for anything on the internet and the concept will not be denied. If craigs wants us to use buggy whips to drive our online information they are going to fail. Crown market psychology won’t allow it. Just remember that craigs makes a profit from the traffic created by our content . Our ads are the music that make people tune into the craigs radio station.

    • (This is a different “Paul”) There have been many imitators, but Backpage is probably the only one to even come close to CL’s model. Unless CL fails (which it won’t), then you won’t see any real competition.

  64. D. Castagnozzi on

    Some parts of the country, Backpage is more popular than Craigslist. We stopped using Craigslist all together. Without a link, the site is useless to us and useless to most users.

    There was a report about Cyber Monday that was published yesterday. 50%-55% of people purchased items from their mobile device.

    Without a link, that would mean that 0% of people purchased items from Craiglist. (you know what I mean)

    Craigslist has enough power to stay in business for a year or so if they choose to do nothing.

    If they choose to not have links, they will also be out of business. My gut feeling is that they are going to do this for a few months and then start charging customers to have a link. I still think they shot themselves in the foot. During this time, people are migrating away from them and going to Backpage. The traffic on every singe report shows this.

    Traffic on Backage since Sunday:
    Sunday: 5,760,000
    Monday: 5,840,000
    Tuesday: 5,960,000

    Yes, it is a 10th of Craigslist, but as I said, in many cities, Backpage is more popular.

    • Well folks, CL just issued new terms & conditions. For all those of you who believe that CL’s enforcement is a good idea, we’ll see how you feel about the latest move. You now have to accept CL has full rights to all your content worldwide i.e. intellectual property to your post. (REALLY!!!!) Then there’s a little thing where they say they have the right to charge you even if you delete the post – of course there is no mention of what that charge is unless you hit I Accept. I would not and so they locked me out of my account. I can’t even access my legitimate Ad’s at this point. Unbelievable!

      Well done CL for making it final and putting that last nail in the coffin!

  65. Quote
    “Well done CL for making it final and putting that last nail in the coffin!”

    To that I can only add, goodbye and good riddance. As a frequent user and daily peruser of CL, I will rejoice when the people who have abused it literally to death in some markets have departed to another venue to satisfy their lust for free enhancement of their bottom lines.

    Let CL be what it was meant to be.

    • You assume we are all abusers when many of us are not. We place legitimate Ads to sell a product – one time. For that, I do not wish to have CL own my copyright nor my company logo. Is that what you are agreeing with in you blanket summary judgement? You obviously have no clue about business.

      This latest move is throwing the baby out with the bath water and it will hurt them. The shift has begun and continues with Backpage gaining daily.

      • So then CL goes back to what it was meant to be, and BP grows… you think CL cares? CL is already engrained into our society, and not because they became more commercialized.

        And if you have more than one post for a listing, you’re breaking the rules. You use the “many” vs. most idea, when the reality is that most realtors are spamming. When CL changes the rules, it’s a reaction to something – simple cause and effect.

        That statement about them “owning your copyright” is a false one. Nowhere in there does it say that. What they’re saying is, that they need to own the right to the way that each individual post is presented in order to preserve THEIR copyright of YOUR ad – that they DO own. This is to keep other sites from reposting CL ads. To think that CL would EVER try to own your copyright is utterly ridiculous.

        • AAH yes it is Paul again with his Pro CL, pro Enforcement, Police attitude again, who clearly has no idea of how business nor the Internet free market works but likes to rant and rave here. — Read my lips………I don’t over post but I believe I own my own content. You are misinformed about the Terms & Conditions which just changed. Perhaps you should read it!

          “You grant us a perpetual, irrevocable, unlimited, worldwide, fully paid/sublicensable license to use, copy, perform, display, distribute, and make derivative works from content you post.”

          “SALES. You authorize us to charge your account for CL fees. Unless noted, fees are in US dollars; tax is additional. To the extent permitted by law, fees are nonrefundable, even for posts we remove. We may refuse purchases, which may place a hold on your account.”

          Do you really find this conducive to fostering business? I don’t see such draconian rules on other sites.

        • Look here Apet, you put your fingers in your ears every time somebody says something you don’t want to hear – even if it’s fact. I was guilty of spamming – I even used an autoposter – to the point of being blacklisted for a time, but the reason that I no longer use CL for my business because we don’t want bottom-feeders anymore. We didn’t ask CL to change their ways to further promote our business. After years of researching CL, and trying to understand their rules and why they do what they do, I’m simply conveying information collected, based on direct use, for over a decade – real experience, not theoretical. I’m not the CL police, again, not my opinion, just the facts. What are you not understanding about that?

          Would I want CL to change to suit my business? Of course! Do I expect them to? Of course not. Do they care about my opinion? Of course not. That’s part of why they are why they are and why there is no threat to their existence. YOUR business model doesn’t pertain to everyone else’s, nor to the way that CL operates.

          And if you think that CL gives two shits about your logo or owning YOUR content, then YOU know nothing about business and copyright law. My previous statement on this still stands; they can redisplay your ad in ANY fashion on THEIR site. If they want to change the way they display your ad (i.e. moving a picture from the top of the page to the bottom) then that’s their right. Like they would redistribute and re-word your ad, promoting your logo and your business as their own……how ludicrous.

          Here’s an article you should read on it, posted back in May of this year, explaining why they did what they did:

          Here’s another good article:

  66. I have to agree…the start of a market dominance for CL… years from now we will say what CL? so backpage I don’t think it will replace it…I checked out their site…no chance…I think its a huge opportunity for someone to come up with an answer and make a boat load of cash…

    • I agree, but Backpage is owned by a large media co. with history in the print free classifieds. All they need to do is push some advertising to increase their awareness. There’s no question that their traffic build up is gradual, sustained and significant if you look at 2013. Now, if a VC firm pumps money into it, or it is acquired (like Oodle was by QVC now powered by Facebook marketplace), then we are off to the races.

      CL doesn’t want investment and no venture capitalist would be interested in a site that blocks links and remains so textual in a mobile device world, where devices are now outselling computers. The landscape has shifted in terms of consumer usage. That is the driving force that will severely impact CL going forward. Their recent action just accelerated the move.

  67. I agree, nobody likes Monopolies, and this is the perfect opportunity for someone or a group of people to pull their resources together and take advantage of this huge possibilities of a new and successful venture. The nice thing about it…it’s that the wheel doesn’t have to be re-invented, but take what’s already there, come up with a better product, use social media to blow it out of the water.

  68. who knows, it could be the next FB success, implement nice tools, a better human interface…perhaps an auction bidding system for some parts of it…free listings and the list goes on and on.

      • Having come from the investment banking industry in start up techs, building something new is a much harder and longer process and way too risky. Investors look for an already established business they can build on, and even transform. Backpage already has some name recognition and a foundation base. A brand new start up would take several years to build without funding. We need something now and the opportunity to take it away from CL is now. We hope someone out there gets it.

  69. Yes…agree FRESH…not a copy of any other site such as CL or BP…but something that nobody has seen…Perhaps market research is in order. Put some market brainy people together, have them come up with something that’s not only catchy and colorful…but most important functional. take for an example…great idea and great site. There are many like it out there but only one fiverr. Also odesk, another great idea…

    • Ideas are easy, but you need money even to sustain a few people in the early stage, let alone server costs. No it is no easy thing to launch and generate eyeballs i.e. grow organically. Any start-up will need at least $500,000 to get off the ground. Much easier for an entrepreneur to acquire an existing website. I frankly don’t see anything wrong with Backpage. It’s simplicity with a graphical search engine – simple to look up, simple to post – already has exposure in all U.S. cities.

    • Although I’ve never used Angie’s List – this could be considered a spin-off of CL, but turned in a different, for-profit direction using a more concentrated business model that has seemed to work successfully for them.

      Classified content is classified content, no matter which format is used. So the only thing left is display and functionality. Seamless integration between platforms is certainly a driving force in creating something like this, but to me it seems like ideas for truly competing with sites like CL, and even BP for that matter, are stalled. I used to get so many emails from all of these other classified sites trying to do exactly what CL is doing, but so far none have compared – hence the “fresh” terminology. There needs to be a revolution, otherwise they’re all just be considered copy-cat, and nobody will go there.

      • – It’s quality compared to quantity. Too many rubbish responses come from CL to get to one meaningful one in my experience.
        – BP has produced some good inquiries but too few, because it needs more exposure (but growing).
        – Angie’s list works well for contractors etc, but the subscription element by a user does prohibit many people from accessing the site.
        – An element of paid membership for licensed realtors etc. is a good idea, but Free to post and free to the public is a good way to stop non-legitimate Ads. That subsection could be served by a Zillow or Trulia, but they are too fixated on their own business model to raise revenue from Ads. It is too expensive and not successful, akin to banner pay per click Ads.

    • ….have a website that looks like a newspaper in both layout, font, and paper color …..a similar idea worked for the Kindle! You can even circle in red your favorite ads, or maybe when you click on them they are circled as being read……a new spin on an old idea. Everything comes full circle.

  70. I agree with you. Backpage is fine, it has growing traffic and is known in all the major cities.

    This might sound stupid, but they need to change the color or the logo. It is too weak.

    Something about it – is just so , ho hum. They need a spark!

    • I hope if you guys do find another site, you won’t overwhelm it with those hideous, garish, tacky, nauseating spam ads. If anyone deserved to be restricted from a web site, you guys certainly did. You polluted and tried your best to destroy CL. You should have had better sense in the first place. Personally, I am so glad you are gone….GOOD RIDDANCE.!!!!!!

  71. Paul – I am very much aware of the copyright issues with Padmapper and the lawsuits. Have you read the complaints/filed briefs? CL could not enforce it. I am not one of these sites anyway. My reading of their T&C’s is that they own the content. If I post on Facebook, it does not own my content. If I post in Ebay classifieds, it does not own my content to the extent that it can levy a fine. The moment you give up your rights at that level, where does it stop?

    Nobody has to agree with me, I just find your posts always very negative (including bad language that is not necessary to convey your point). There are some good ideas in this forum to which I have acknowledged. And the common thread is that CL has moved in a negative to take control and tick off a lot of legitimate users. We are trying to find solutions so stop being so NEGATIVE!

    • The new CL TOU change is a response to losing arguments in court. Here was their old statement on this subject:

      “If you access craigslist or copy, display, distribute, perform or create derivative works from craigslist webpages or other CL intellectual property in violation of the TOU or for purposes inconsistent with the TOU, your access, copying, display, distribution, performance or derivative work is unauthorized. Circumvention of any technological restriction or security measure on craigslist or any provision of the TOU that restricts content, conduct, accounts or access is expressly prohibited. For purposes of this paragraph, you agree that cached copies of craigslist webpages on your computer or computer server constitute “copies” under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101. For purposes of this paragraph, you further agree that CAPTCHAs and telephone verification are “technological measures” that effectively control access to copyright-protected components and rights of CL pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 1201.” Their TOU has gotten SUBSTANTIALLY shorter over the years. It used to be a laundry list.

      And your opinion of how I “know nothing about business” and how I’m the “CL Police” aren’t “NEGATIVE” comments? Those are also false and derogatory statements, as I own a successful business and I don’t post on CL except to sell an occasional piece of furniture, so I’m hardly “the CL Police”. The fact that you dmake comments like, ” But it could have done simply by a balance of Free and Paid sponsor Ads, thus keeping its entire traffic intact”, means you simply don’t get CL’s hippie stance.

      I’m not disagreeing with you per se, I’m stating facts that you simply refute as if they don’t exist. The opinion of the author of the article was saying that this was a bad idea for CL. My stance is that CL won’t change, regardless of anyone’s opinion (including mine), and that has been proven already. I’m trying to provide to the readers of my comments the facts about CL and why they won’t change for anyone, so this idea that they “could” do this or they “could” do that are irrelevant when they consider none of that. They want to stay where they’re at, but I guess big business-minded people can’t wrap their heads around that.

      Moving on to BP is a great idea for anyone. Moving anywhere besides CL is a great idea for anyone.

      • I think we actually agree Paul. CL is not going to change. But it might reverse its action as it did in 2012 when it tried to stop the links. I really don’t care anymore about CL. It has forced change and in the long run that is good.

  72. apat1, yes a new venture in a site/business does cost much to get it off ground. I’m not arguing that at all. but if we can get the right people involved, creative minds, money minds and the right pieces to the puzzle and anything can happen…a company own by people not by large corporations where one or two get rich and the rest of us are left wishing we could have, should have but didn’t.

    I also agree that classified content is what it is… no matter how you dice it. I have to agree, seamless integration may be the way to go. Just cause its classified it doesn’t have to look like…its all about functionality. Angie’s list is fine, however they are missing a HUGE ingredient to their soup. Not going to disclose, at least not in public..but do let me know if you are interested. I think Angie’s list does have a nice touch, but its field specific.
    A website that looks like a newspaper…its just that…an electronic newspaper..I think we are seeking something else here.

  73. Angie’s List is not the answer. People looking for real estate will not pay to subscribe to Angie’s List. Heck I won’t pay a membership fee just to find a plumber for all sorts of reasons. What ever the site, it has to be free to browse and free to post with a paid element for sponsor Ad’s, to generate revenue for the owner. That is a fair way and best of all worlds. Angie’s list has probably peaked.

    Starting up a site is just one part of the equation. You need a ton of money to get the eyeballs – Advertising.

  74. Yep, could not agree more…will not pay when I can do the same thing by googling or picking up my local yellow pages and finding a plumber if I need one…but minimal monthly dues in an exchange for unlimited posting would keep the business running. And we can set funds for upgrades, new projects and development, marketing and so on.

    • Angie’s List is hugely successful, and was only brought up as a point of reference. I personally don’t like the site either, and I find it akin to Service Magic (which is not a CL “spin-off”), however for whatever reason its business model has proven hugely successful for them and their users.

      CL’s website is and always has been as basic as websites get, but harkening back to a newspaper look, in a “back-to-basics” manner with regard to visualization might sell!……..

  75. So for those that say that there isn’t anything wrong with CL or BP…that’s fine…if that’s the sort of thing you are looking for. And I have to agree…Angie’s list works…for some but certainly not all. And I bet they are doing good, they spend tons of cash on TV and Radio commercial. Whether they are making a profit or not…we won’t know…I guess while they are still in business, it shows positive signs. Ok, I’ll put this out there…didn’t want to but oh well… I think what Angie’s list is missing….is a bidding module…a bidding system that will allow their customers post their projects so contractors can bid on them…if you come up with this and make $ I get 35% of any profit from my idea.

    • Enter: Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic). I did use them for a short time years ago, but what a complete waste of time and money that was for me. It might not be the case for many, but it certainly did not work out for my service. Again, another company that had a plan and is widely successful from it.

    • Well no matter what product or service is not 100% for all customers…what may have worked for you…may not work for others. Regardless, I think most companies (you’d hope) would benefit from a customer survey or feedback so that they can learn from their mistakes and better their product or service. I am familiar with Home Advisor… and several other copies of that site. But I think what we are trying to get to here…is how convert from the old CL onto a fresh idea…nothing like CL but with some identical applications. However the GUI of course would be fresh.

  76. Biggest problem I see is having that link that generates leads to your website, now it has to be copy and paste, which unfortunately some people aren’t going to bother doing that extra step. This is why we must make our ad more compelling with little information to make the customer want to find out more.

  77. Craigslist has now made my job more time consuming and on top of that…they are not the lead generator that they once were. Then on top of it, postlets changed their website making all my old ads which took years to make, a crazy jumbo missing information that was there and requires a lot more of my time to recreate ads or update the ones I have already made. As well streeteasy owned by zillow, the same company that owns postlets, was updated so that is a lot less easy to use and requires a lot more clicking around to find historical information. If there were a company that came along and rolled all the functionality that these three sites once offered me, I would pay a premium for that service. I now hate them all and am on the hunt for alternatives. It is mind boggling to me hoe these disruptive changes actually help them.

    • I’ve got no idea what got into CL by modifying and limiting us. I believe its a perfect timing for a new site to rise up and replace them all…get the best of each..conduct market research and survey folks. Than come up with a product that suits us all.

      • As always, CL is reacting to a perceived threat, whether it be auto-posters, scammers, etc. It makes you wonder how long sites like BP will go on before they start implementing anti-spam measures as well, seeing as how when anything becomes popular it turns into a virtual cesspool of internet sludge.

    • Not sure what you mean? Are you wanting to post it in a different section other than where you just posted it now? I checked in your San Diego Craigslist, your ad is there.. it takes typically 20 to 30 minutes before you ad shows up initially but on rare occasion I have seen it take up to two hours before it gets through the queue. Also you can copy and paste the Craigslist POST ID (in this case 4242631741, and just copy the number, not the wording POST ID: which proceeds the actual ID number) within the section you posted, in this case “general for sale – by owner” to verify if your ad posted with 100% certainty. Again, it stuck so not sure if this answers your question.

  78. John Landtroop on

    Try searching for 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1940 sq ft, $189000 without using the link I sent.

    Then, please, let me hear from you again.


    Oh, this is for sale by owner, San Diego, CA

  79. The best way to get your property or advertisement out there is probably watermark. Or you can can try this:

    1. Get your own site with your own domain name: WordPress referred
    2. goto photobucket and upload your photo
    3. when uploading your photo, install your domain name on the top or bottom of your photo
    4. save it
    5. goto craigslist, when you like you use to do it
    6. when you get to the photo section upload the photo with domain name.
    7. The reason you get a domain is ultimately control. You are in Control of it. Facebook, Pinterest, twitter, craigslist, backpage etc… are all powerful sites, but you do not control them. Take and keep control.

    This works and will help many of you to drive traffic to your domain. here is an example of 1 of my old craigslist ads.

    • Still a link, no? Have you tried this method within the new format where it’s being restricted? If they’re not accepting external links, then whether or not they are hidden (I used to use this method as well, although through Photobucket and others) you likely can’t post this ad – it’s the reason for this article.

  80. I haven’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if this is redundant.
    Craigslist was create for individuals interact with other individuals, whether selling, buying, or discussing. It was offered as a free service as an alternative to paying for a classified ad in the local paper.
    What I see is a rather successful effort to get it back to what it was originally intended to do, instead of free publication of advertising for companies that can afford to pay for the services they need. It hasn’t been taken away from anyone, the playing field was just made a little more level.

    • I think you are correct Bob.

      The problem that I see is that they took the links away. There is no way anyone can buy OR sell on Craigslist anymore.

      Well, you can, but that is if you want so much spam that you have to cancel your email account.

      When there was the ability to have links, you can just send people to your website, this is not longer the case.

      Anyways, we have moved on and found other sites that are working very well for us. Huge learning curve, but we made it thru and will be stronger than ever. Without Craigslist.

      • If I found that people were abusing my website, I’d do the same thing as CL. Stricter measures are implemented when sites are being abused, and CL is not the only site that does this. They do, however, have a huge world-wide web presence, leaving them susceptible to abuse. Bob is right – if everybody’s on the same playing field, there’s no loss.

        • Actually they don’t have huge worldwide presence and certainly will not, now that they have decided to cut off links. In Europe, they are barely known and that’s a population bigger than US. There are more players in Europe – country by country. CL is mostly a local, citywide presence known in US & Canada. Thank goodness for COMPETITION!

          I’m finding that serious buyers & renters copy & paste the link from a CL Ad. So what does that say? CL got it wrong and buyers want the link – at least in real estate, so they can check out your listings, credentials, profile. CL is not serving it’s buyers well!

          I’m interested to know what sites are working well for people since they left CL. We should share the information and help each other.

        • Actually, India has a higher ranking than Canada, but that’s besides the point; have we come to a point in internet societal norms that we are too lazy to copy-and-paste? We should give more credit to users of the internet. Has there been a documented loss of business thanks to link-less ads? And when everybody’s playing the same hand, I still fail to see how it’s a disadvantage.

  81. Are they too lazy to cut and paste?

    Absolutely100% they are too lazy.

    I still have customers who say. “my email address is….. and make sure there are no spaces”


    “my emails address is…. and make sure it is all lower case”

    I deal with people all across the country and maybe it is because I am from Boston and we expect more. But come one people…….

    Come on PaulM – I hope you are kidding with your post.

    • Cut & paste – seriously! Perhaps the person who made that comment doesn’t use a smartphone or iPad or tablet. If you’ve tried to copy and paste using a touch screen, you’ll know it’s a real pain. And there is much industry data (including my own stats on my own website) to show that mobile access is huge.

      • “Hello! I’m so-and-so with a great house for sale at 1234 cherry lane.

        Copy (ctrl+c) and then paste (ctrl+v) the link below into your internet:

        If you can’t teach nincompoops to copy+paste, with something as easy a method such as this, then there’s just some nincompoopedness that is beyond repair. And if you’ve ever advertised on CL, then you know you can expect a fair share of non-savvy internet users. However, and again, if everyone’s on the same playing field, thinking outside the box is a must – and you should never have all of your eggs in the CL free basket anyway.

  82. Apet1, you’ve got it wrong… If CL really wanted to get rid of links, they would block them, as they do in the personals category. They clearly decided to ALLOW links in ads, but just took out the active linking. I believe their intention was to get rid of lots of spammers and some security threats. They want their site to be more like a local bulletin board or classified ad in a newspaper, and it has been turning into a magnet for internet spam and scams.

    • It’s about Craigslist protecting quantifiable data coming from their site. They do not want you to know anything about page views or number of refers coming from CL to your site. If scams were really a factor they would not allow URLs at all in real estate (like you mention was done in personals). If you can not include a graphic then you can not get any analytic data as to how many total people saw your ad (because to do so requires embedding at least 1 image), if you remove the hyper link then there is no way to get the refer data from Craigslist, e.g. You got 1522 hyperlink referrals from CL to your website in the past month. All the marketing data has been killed off by Craigslist. That is my believe why images and hyperlinks were killed off. Perhaps one day they may choose to monetize one or both as paid ads are allow both links and graphics (see paid job posts, both HTML and hyperlinks are allowed).

      My only thought is why don’t they want to monetize this section? Maybe it’s just a transitional phase? If they would have transitioned to a paid model on November 5th, people would have been upset by this.. but allow this as a paid option 4 to 6 months later and the marketer will be drooling and thankful for the chance to pay for the privilege we once had for free. They have no problem monetizing smut for $10 a post and bowed to the pressure by law enforcement and bad publicity (which is why Backpage is so big). I think a $1 to $2 or even $5 paid post and placed / searched a paid category would be wonderful.. a paid ad would be more thoughtfully placed and in my opinion marketers will not spam when it costs money. Perhaps there is a place for both paid HTML ads and unpaid basic ads and the CL user can choose to search in one or both sections.

      • Alex, I certainly do not see how even $1 a post is worth it because CL brings a lot of rubbish. To be economical in real estate – no…. might as well pay for Zillow or Trulia and save myself the work.

  83. This thread is so long now it is crazy. This has to be some type of BP record. There is a lot of whinning going on about CL’s decision to make changes. The fact of the matter is CL changes ALL THE TIME! By the time people stop complaining about and actually find a solution and change everything guess what…..CL will change again. My point here is the thread should be simplified as follows:

    1. CL has made a change and we are announcing those changes so other are aware.

    2. Here is a solution for the community to come together as a whole and make new ads that fit the new format for CL.

    3. Enjoy it while it lasts because more changes will definitely becoming.

    Keep it classy and solution oriented and let’s make money!

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best Regards,
    Robert Adams

    • I’ve been trying to say this from the beginning (again, I am someone who was blacklisted from CL). I did the research for years to try to understand their point of view. You don’t have to know programming, or how referrers work, or how back links work to understand that neither you nor I will change CL, so the solution is simple: either use CL as they themselves see fit, or move on. Or use it in conjunction with other sites. While wishing that they will help your business, or even your market specifically, is a noble thought, their interests are not the same as yours.

      Nobody posting on here made themselves by wishful thinking. Time to get creative again.

  84. I have been following this blog and you all keep saying that you are posting ads for free and that they should charge. Well, here in New York City where thousands of adds are posted ever day…they do charge. They charge my company $6.00 for each ad.

    I just thought that I would clear that up. I do think that Alex’s comments about click through rates is probably the one that is most right on. But also, could it be that it is more costly for them to have so many pictures on their website. So they make it more difficult to do it?

  85. What’s sad is I’ve been posting on CL for years for the complexes I manage and I write my own HTML and I no longer have nice ads but complexes that pay for websites (monthly charge) like “weblisters” have nice ads on CL. That’s not fair that if you pay weblisters to do your web site CL will post the fancy layout and you know that is all HTML too. How is it possible that you can post a weblister ad on CL but not a postlets or any other web site I use?

    • I used to do the same; I’d write my CL ads using EasyAd…..did it for years, until of course CL slapped them with a cease and desist. Third party posting is, and always has been, against their TOU. My guess as to why some remain for a little while (and they will only last a little while) and some don’t last very long, is that it takes time to make up a case and to subsequently draw up the proper paperwork.

  86. With the change and the inability to host my own high quality photos of what I am selling, Craigslist is no longer an option for me to use. I heard there is a competitor that is going to be better and offer more freedom anyways.

  87. We no longer use Craigslist either. Since they took away the links, we still posted on them, but even with the name of our company, people just didn’t want the effort to google us or type in the name of our website.

    I don’t blame them – with half of the people on smart phones, if they can’t click on a link, they are not going to go.

    We moved to backpage and the clicks are slowing coming in. Bottom line for us, Craigslist is out. I honestly thing, we all better for it, that site has become toxic.

  88. Not all HTML was killed off. Companies like Weblisters and 360start are still able to create HTML formatted ads, just not ads employing the tag. Also we do not perform any 3rd party posting. We have shifted our recommendations to post our HTML to Backpage and our more basic HTML ads to Craigslist. No service, including Weblisters are able to use the tag so anything nice looking is comprised of allowable HTML still allowed by Craigslist. I hope this is helpful.

  89. I was a custom craigslist ad designer. my business is totally destroyed. and I believe there are a lot of designers like me who have no work . hope soon they will allow the HTML soon.
    this is really too bad for me !!!

  90. I like many others have done my best adapt to these terrible changes, however as of the last day it appears that even worse my account is blown, any ads that I renew are subsequently deleted and as a test I attempted to place a distinct fresh ad only to have it deleted within minutes without it ever being published. I have had my account for nearly a year for the Florida real estate market and other than craig list making the recent changes regarding links, things were working out fairly well. Given my account is now rendered as such means weeks of effort are wasted, and serious stress for the future as I have relied on craigs list to afford me a hopeful living.

    Ironically I had moved markets (cross country) and had experienced similar prior to my move, however I had suspected it was jealous competitors causing me the deletion/ broken account scenario, I was forced to get a new ip and phone verify and even that failed to work, scary, when at a loss for identifying the problem and a finding a solution.

    Here’s what I don’t get I see some with 500, 1000, even 2500 ads up with no problem yet now I get my account blown with just a modest fraction of that

    Can anyone offer any advice?

    I know that asking for help on their forums is useless in addition to be shouted down by rude imbeciles…

    Thank you

    • oftentimes people pay for a third party to post for them them. Even though this is against the TOS on CL it is hard for them to ban them because these third party companies will create several logins with different email addresses and different phone numbers to verify the accounts. It becomes a game of wack a mole for CL to moderate.

      I hope this is helpful!

    • This is how CL blacklists. This is 100% CL moderated, not community. If ads won’t show up at all, then you are being “ghosted” – meaning that your ads look like they’ve posted successfully, but simply never show up on the site. The “community” has no power to do that, and the flagging system is nearly as powerless. I know, I’ve been there…..and am still there. I made the mistake of over-posting, and I got caught. They will track your IP address, your ad content, and emails in order to maintain your blacklist status. You’ll have to give it time to subside. You can always change your content, but if you’re using things like phone numbers, business name, or any other contact info that is essential in order for people to contact you, then third-party posting won’t help you.

      It seems people have had luck on backpage, but that really depends on what you do as to what sort of business leads you receive. Like I said, give it time. I can post (I rarely do on CL, but sometimes I do if for nothing else but to help with SEO) but it’s usually only two ads. Luckily, for architecture I don’t rely on CL to much these days.

      Hope this helps.

      • Hi Paul, so you’re saying that if I use “john doe widget services” in all my ads they will key in on that regardless if I get a new account with new IP, or even hire a posting service to do my ads? if so, boy am I screwed!

        I know that some others are using a third party service to post thousands of ads and always use the same contact info, yet they don’t appear to ever have a problem

        Is it possible if I just leave my account be for a while or even wait a week or so before trying a new one that “blacklist” will dissipate? In the past I have noticed once an account is blown, thats it, Never recovers

        The strangest thing is once you think you have the whole craigs list thing figured out, some variable is in place that upends the whole theory, thanks for everyones reply

        • It sounds like your ads have been caught by CL’s spam filter, which means they will be ghosted or deleted whenever you try to post them. This will not “get better” with time. I would set up a new account, using a new email address, a new phone number for verification, and a new IP address (take a laptop into a WiFi cafe and login from there if you have to), and THEN post an ad that is as different as possible from previous ones. Worst case, if all that doesn’t work, and your name or phone or address are triggering the spam filter, then put those details into an image and post that. Good luck and let us know if it works for you.

        • I was blacklisted for over-posting across the country using an autoposter. Since then, I have always been able to keep 3 ads up at most, at any given time. If I were you, I would post no more than one ad every 24 hours, and 48 would be better. However, as Gene stated, it will not get better with time. Blacklisting is forever.

          However, my blacklisting was a second offense for me. The first time was many years ago – back when they used to respond if you emailed support. It might be worth a shot, if this is your first offense, to beg for forgiveness. They gave me a second chance.

        • Gene & Paul, want to thank you for your replies, I will try to (good luck with that) to email craigs list first & then if need be try the next alternative

          I noticed last year I ran into this when residing in a different state, and I did everything but putting my contact details in an image and by the time I had to set up the 3rd account, I noticed that a brand new account with IP, and phone verify didn’t work, so Gene you just gave me the last piece of the puzzle from back then, thanks

  91. Not sure what to say about CL marketing right now. I post in the Real Estate Services section, and my posts are not ghosted or blocked, and I am able to post an HTML code, yet I get no calls from customers.

    I have checked from other cpu’s and my ad is there, just no action. Wondering if people are getting CL fatigue and are moving elsewhere.


    • In my experience, ads in the “services” sections get much less traffic. Since you can post html, try including a self-hosted image or a stat-counter and see how much traffic you’re getting to each ad. Then you’ll know whether you have a traffic problem or a conversion problem.

      • Blacklisted is blacklisted….even if you’re selling items. A stat counter, which I’ve used in the past as well, is also frowned upon by staff at CL. You can try Gene’s experiment, but not sure if it will get you anywhere.

  92. Although numerous people spotted a problem late last year, I was able to embed code up until about a week ago.

    For a long time I hyperlinked text (a href…) to send people to a web page. Just recently, I started embedding banner ads for the visual effect. I found out today that my CL ads won’t accept ANY HTML code.

    Like the others, I’m bummed. At a minimum, I’d like to be able to send visitors to a website. What’s the point of placing an ad if visitors can’t respond to it? Duh!

  93. The goal is to make everybody equal. It does not matter how hard you want to work for something or how much time you put in. They (like most liberals) feel that everybody should have the same thing no matter how little they work. Its all about feelings. Like the football team who does not work out or train, but still gets a metal just because they showed up. The team that worked their butts off to earn that metal get the same metal.

    Just sit back with your hand out and wait for the working class to fill it up for you. Welcome to Obamanomics folks.

    Use backpage they still have a wonderful service.

    • I hope you’ve never used CL, nor BP for that matter, as they can easily be considered communist according to your philosophical viewpoint. And I suppose that the core principles of metallurgy and alchemy (alchemy’s dual-meaning applies here), by “metals” you are referring to “medals”? I work harder than most at spelling.

      How CL “feels” about spam is important to them whether or not you and I agree with it – regardless of partisan politics. Expect BP to become the cesspool of spam and scam that CL became.

  94. Now they are systematically deleting all my Ads – legitimate Ads for Open Houses I am hosting; legitimate Ads for Listings I have. Craigslist is acting like a dictatorial State. They have really gone too far.

      • In their terms, I am violating T&C’s because I have typed in a the website of the property. But if they consider a valid listing with a link to the MLS as violation, then I guess all legitimate business is screwed. I don’t want callers at night. So they’ve done is pushed spam callers to legitimate sellers. And I see the consumer wants the MLS or IDX link to be able to see all the details of the property and want to validate the listing is actually yours and is active. This is where unintended consequences of asinine regulations and law really hurt business. Backpage has been useless, unless you can post 10-20 Ads a day 7 days a week. Quite frankly the ROI on that is not worth it. All CL is doing is driving consumers and realtors to real estate websites. So be it from here on! It’s really sad that Craigslist is so stupid. May as well just shut down the category.

        • It’s tough when they change rules, this I understand. I was blacklisted, and while everyone else was able to post 10 ads per day I was only able to post one ad per day. I know it’s no consolation, but at least now everyone in your area is on the same playing field. Isn’t there anything you can do to make the ads work for you? As I suggested before, copy-and-paste instructions (as elementary as they might be) could help the computer illiterate trying to look for a house (I understand that many view CL on their phones and tablets, but hey, you can’t save the world). And most definitely, use letter/number combos in your phone number to avoid robo-calls.

          And everyone’s been praising BP here on this thread (I’m not a huge fan), but obviously the truth is coming out that they’re not all that.

  95. Paul, there’s no value for me to place an Ad without a link to the MLS on my listing, because that is my way of filtering spammers, which clearly CL have not given any thought to. Screw CL! As for backpage, you only have to look at the number of posts per day for real estate in Los Angeles and see it’s paltry. Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore. I am getting better results from Trulia and my own SEO. CL caused an action and now let it suffer from reaction.

    • There’s no value, yet there are HUNDREDS of ads in L.A., all of which play by the same rules that you now have to play by. Seems like people are adapting. It sucks, but when in Rome……

  96. Whether CL is free or not – the point is many businesses rely on it to generate leads due to its ability to generate high traffic on its site. Whether it’s free or not we rely on this CL service and does that make us ” entitled ” ? We can obviously pay for other sites however may not be as effective. It’s like saying , ” don’t complain about getting spoiled milk if it’s offered to you for free right ? ” the point is clear – we rely on CL and with no notice whatsoever they changed their HTML policies which we relied on to market ourselves differently to generate leads.

  97. Well, the folks at Craigslist are at it again, over the weekend banning color and reducing the allowable amount of what scant HTML was left in housing. These guys are hell bent on shooting themselves in the foot and believe that going back to 1992 HTML formatting is just wonderful. All we’re trying to do is format ads in an easier to read format. This is what formatting does, makes things easier to read and make certain elements stand out. What is Craigslist so afraid of??? They already killed the image embed and removed hyperlinks to kill all available marketing data, now they are really punishing the housing industry by really reducing HTML to a few core tags. Any way, it’s funny how they were more than willing to profit off the adult classifieds (and to my knowledge still do in the “Theraputic Massage” section charging $10 a post) but they don’t want to monetize the housing section? Wow, I have always said they have the knowhow and technology to limit posts per account.. don’t know why they just don’t put this in place rather than being so restrictive. At some point the audience may realize they are being limited, but not sure how a revolt even occurs. It’s also too bad that Backpage isn’t doing more to bring more awareness that they are like what Craigslist used to be.. but I guess they are also complacent with making money off adult classifieds. Everybody Loses!

    • Thanks for the update Alex. I’ve left Craigslist behind and my business is booming, even without BP. Trulia & Zillow are taking the attention of the serious buyers and sellers anyway and social media and SEO is taking care of the rest, for me anyway. We no longer need nor care about a real estate section in CL. They effectively shot themselves in the foot. Most broker Ads are now gone and I just don’t see any positive in that for CL or its users. Onwards to the future!

      • Well, I’m catering to apartment rentals and Craigslist is still valid there.. it’s not as dramatic of a change as when they banned the img tag.. but it’s a clear sign how much they detest the 3rd party market, even at the expense of hurting their own audience. It’s funny how much they have changed when they would post announcements they were considering limiting some HTML about 7 or 8 years ago where at least there was some sort of conversation and they cared about the people posting as well. Oh well, I have always said it’s like surfing a wave, I’ll ride it as long as I can but at some point I will look for the next set.

  98. Good for you, apet1. That’s how you kick them to the curb….the smaller they get, the better (so they think). That’s always been their attitude, however they’ve thrived because of it. Not my opinion, just fact.

  99. A good tip to make sure your photos look their best in Craigslist adds is to resize them with your own photo editing software. If you let CL do it for you than the images will look more pixelized. Standing out on CL is now more difficult than ever, you might as well have the best images possible.

  100. Create a site that pays the poster to post by having pay per click advertisements on their ads then maybe we could get people to start using a different site other than craigslist. Then create volunteer teams to run and massively advertise it. I imagine there is enough frustrated businesses that would volunteer their time.

  101. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  102. I tried using an html to describe and compare my listing to a link and, it didn’t work. I kept trying so many times. As craigslist accepted html links in the past. I searched online about this issue and landed here. Thanks guys for the info. I will stop trying now. However, this is not good!

  103. I was looking for working html code for Craigslist and I saw your blog. I know it’s an older post, but it was a good read. My businesses have definitely been affected by CL and the companies hypocritical attitude towards the people that use the site.

    One of the ways i was hoping to build out my business was using links to my website on CL ads. and that happens arbitrarily now. Some times they get posted, often I wait 2 hours to have the ad rejected. It’s strange to watch how CL indiscriminately its standards.

    Stephen Guillen

  104. As a garage door service company we are not a fan of the new changes to craigslist and it has lost us quite a few leads as a result. I also noticed craigslist ads seem to show much less in the search engines now.

    Like someone else commented, we have moved away from spending time trying to make CL work for us again and have turned to facebook ads. So this may just be a blessing in disguise since we didn’t feel the need to utilize FB ads until craig broke CL.

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