28-Oct-2010

Experience with Craigslist

In my How to achieve high ranking in search results blog entry, I provided a copy of my ad for SEO services and suggested similar consideration by others seeking SEO services for their websites.

After spending time trying to put a Classified Want Ad in Craigslist, I have the following experience and information to share:

  • Craigslist is (still) a private company.
  • They have strict posting rules.
  • They are designed for local ads to bring parties together.
  • They allow you to post in your nearest Craigslist supported city.
  • They allow posting to one category in one city no more often than every 48 hours.
  • They disallow duplicate postings.

Their local ads orientation is shown in their FAQ:

Can I post my ad on more than one craigslist site?

Please choose just ONE craigslist site for which your ad is most relevant - this should generally be the site closest to where you are located. If your ad is equally relevant to all locations, your ad does not belong on local craigslist sites at all, please find another service.

Posting the same ad to multiple locations is considered spamming, and is prohibited.

My initial attempt to post to NYC was "ghosted". Craigslist shows you that the ad link is in place but does not actually list the ad. After frustrating attempts to get help from the Craigslist Discussion Forums Help Desk, I was no further ahead in what to do next.

  • The Help Desk did re-emphasize the above stated Craigslist posting rules by pointing out that my ad was in the wrong category and in the wrong city. They are right to stand by their policy, however, their customer service (if one can call it that) leaves much to be desired. If ever Craigslist does go public, it will be interesting to see how the so-called customer service will be cleaned up. A professional commercial company would have zero tolerance for such inappropriate interaction with their customers/users.
  • I asked for their recommendation on which category to place my ad. I received no response. Therefore, I proceeded to attempt posting to a different city in another category that seemed to fit. My posting was blocked because it was detected to be a duplicate of the post that I had placed in NYC. I had deleted that ad previously. I waited a full 48 hours and submitted again. At last, my post went through.

Also, be prepared to be faced with trolls at every turn lurking to antagonize you. The amateurish Help Desk infrastructure needs tons of work to be a professional commercial establishment which I acknowledge they are not. If you have time to waste and want to witness their Help Desk and many frustrated users, just go see for yourself.

There is no rule that says zero cost use means zero quality. There are many sites that offer free service with high quality. But as long as Craigslist continues to pull in users and make big money, as it is surmised, they can act with infantile arrogance. That is the choice and prerogative of the owner Craig Newmark.

On a related note, right after I saw my Craigslist ad, I did a Google search on my ad title "SEO Wanted for Sudoku Webpage" and the Craigslist ad was at the top of the search results. (Mind you, this may be local search at play; your search results may be different depending on where you are!)
  1. Craigslist is an important site with lots of users.
  2. Google recognizes the relevance of Craigslist hence the fast pickup and top placement.

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