Is anyone using a craigslist scraper to contact potential leads?

22 Replies

Hello to all!!

I have been using Duncan Wierman's Online Lead Finder software for almost a year now.  However, in the past 4 months, the software has gone down hill and has now become essentially useless.  I have gone back and forth with tech support almost every single day, and after multiple updates that promised to fix the problems I've had with the software, I'm still no better off than I was four months ago.

Specifically, I have had issues with the "Classifieds Posters" app.  For those of you unfamiliar with the software or this "app" in particular, essentially you input your search criteria (i.e. homes for sale by owner posted on CL in the last 6 months, under $150,000 asking price, 1+ bedrooms) and it combs through CL looking for ads that match your criteria.  You then upload a list of email addresses that you own, set up the SMTP, upload a template email, and hit send.  Viola!  It starts sending your template email to the email addresses connected with those ads.  It is set up so that it only sends one email about every 5 minutes, and it rotates through the various email addresses you have given it to send from using SMTP.  

However, this no longer works.  CL now throws up a Captcha when Online Lead Finder tries to send out an email, and the email never gets sent.

So my first question is: Does anyone else use this software?  Have you had the same problems?  How did you overcome them, if you were able to?

My second question is: Does anyone else use a software that is similar to what I am describing?

I know that you can use VAs to accomplish the same thing, but I know there has to be an automated system out there that works.  HELP!!!!

I use a cell phone app called craigsnotifications. It has limited search criteria, but I set up some key word searches (tlc, estate, fixer, equity, etc) and have found some great leads over the years. 

However I would rather have leads sent automatically to my assistants email, rather than periodically searching on my phone.

Please let me know if you were able to find a decent replacement. 

Interesting. I need to find a software that works also. 

Let me know what you find.

I used an IFTTT recipe that scraped CL according to my criterion. The results come by email where you could forward to an assistant, VA, etc

I use IFTTT as well and it works great. Instant e-mails when something appears that meets your criteria. You can use it to automate other sites in a similar fashion. 


Are you still using OLF and have you resolved your issues? I'm about to start using it and would like to know how it's working for you now.



I am the creator of the software.  I assure you the software does work.

The first line of fix, is always to make sure you have the latest version.

HOWEVER, results will vary on the way the CAPTCHA is displayed.

The person complaining is simply trying to RAPE leads from CL and send to fast.  We do not suggest more than 100 leads a day , and to send emails to the responses slowly.  You can get your IP banned if you over due it.

I use the software everyday and a solution to automation of the captcha completion is on the way, but this does take time to develop.  We expect of this today, this will be available by Nov 30

@Bobby R. @Mike Anderson Can you tell me a little more about your IFTTT system?  What specifically do you use, and is there a walkthrough of any sorts?


This IFTTT recipe probably is what all of you guys need

I would be interested in using this scraper tool how does one get access to this data mining technique for locating motivated sellers. I saw a video on youtube where one real estate investor harvested 100-200 potential leads. He said that if you convert those potential leads a savvy real estate investor can close on three deals per day...

I used his software several years ago and had a bunch of problems.  Some parts of it worked fine but not the parts that I bought it for.  The tech support was minimal and dismissive not helpful, as I remember.  And anyway, almost all of the Craigslist data was duplicated, useless data.  

The truth is, I found much better information and had better results using my then VA, from the Philippines. She was terrific. Then again, I don't bother with looking at real estate outside my area, and there are much better ways to get local information than relying on Craigslist. The one way that site is useful, however, is in listing my rental properties. The best feature is that potential tenants don't have enough comparative information from Craigslist to be price sensitive. So I always get higher rent using that site.

@Justin Bell - If I'm reading this right, you are using an application that violates Craiglist's policies, to scrape information off Craiglist's site, then spam the same list of people that you captured from Craiglist's site?

Something makes me doubt that the step of "uploading a list of emails you own" to compare with ever happens.

Thank goodness Craigslist has their mail proxy which hopefully filters this type of spam out.

What do you mean spit out emails?  Are you trying to do some kind of "autoresponder" back to the  seller or person who posted the CL ad?  

I used it to send me or my VA the ad where we could view the ad and respond if it's to our liking.

The Online Lead Finder is working great, and now with its new module the Email Gunner, you can  blast out emails even faster than ever before !

However it is only available to my students and not open to the general public.  

IFFT is nothing more than a fancy google alert that sends you URLS that you still have to manually scrape. USELESS

@Duncan Wierman , dunno about still having to scrap them.  I personally have tons of little IFTTT robots working for me to scrape things into a google spreadsheet.

From there, a Ruby or Python script then does other things. 

That is more work tho!   Yes, IFTTT  can send to email or a spreadsheet BUT... Ruby/ Python can not enter the image decaptcha codes that CL is now using.  Anyway . I don't think enough real estate investors are that willing to learn Ruby / Python scripting to go further. 

MS has also created FLOW - which may be better for some that IFTTT 

@Karen Morison  
I  reviewed your ticket with the help desk. The support person was NOT dismissive. Matter of fact he was trying to help you in a very long thread. It turns out that you did not have access to the function you were referring to. There are three versions, and you did not have the Platinum version for those functions to work! Matter of fact was reading your support ticket, you sound like one tough, demanding MEAN user!

@Duncan Wierman

Hello Duncan,

Does your software also bypass CL's new "I'm not a robot" sentinel, with the manual check box? I find this beyond annoying to contend with on a per web page basis, and intend to soon begin making 'contact lists' of potential buyers and sellers. I could 10x their profits, in one year... so apparently that isn't their 'mission?'

Thanks :-)  Scott

Updated over 1 year ago

I see the purchase button on your site is currently inoperable, so now we get to pay VAs to support the 'developing world,' eh??? Nice job, Craig and Co. BRAVO.

Originally posted by @Bobby R. :

I used an IFTTT recipe that scraped CL according to my criterion. The results come by email where you could forward to an assistant, VA, etc

 I'm pretty sure "Criterion" is a transformer. has Classified Searcher that I have used 

I'd be willing to share my VA. I pay her per SMS lead on craigslist and limit it to $50 per week. She can also do listings that only provide an email as well for $50 per month. She sends them a campaign on SMS or email. This requires you to have a Twilio account for SMS and I use a shared G Suite email (paid gmail) account. I spend about $5 per week on the Twilio and $5 per month on G Suite. After my first cup of coffee I send out a few SMS messages that she has ready to go for me and see if sellers are ready to sell. The campaign results can be attached to Podio / Pipedrive / Salesforce via API. We use Pipedrive now. btw ... total price is $300 for about 500 automated leads per month

Morning, Dave. 

Does your offer on sharing your VA still stand? I am trying to use another Craigslist tool, called automarketer and it is not working. Thanks.

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