This post will teach you the ABCs of Craigslist ghosting so you can figure out why your ad is not showing up on the website.
If you ever browse the Craigslist help forums, there are always people upset that their ads were flagged or never posted.
And it seems like most of the time, this happens because they have excessive outbound links in their ads, or they use websites like Photobucket to embed images in their post.
Those practices are not acceptable and that is probably the reason your ad isn’t showing up.
Keep in mind, I don’t work for Craigslist, and neither does anyone in the forums. They are just users with a lot of experience that try to help people for free on their own time. With that said, I don’t know how CL crawls their ads and neither do the users in the help forums. It is all speculation and experience.
Check the Content in Your Ad
So, the first thing you should look at is the actual content in your ad, including the title, location and description.
If you use any coding or you put things like “L@@@K”, -!-!-!-!, or something similar in your title trying to draw attention, that could be a reason why your ad was ghosted.
If you put web address URLs or email addresses in your description, CL could filter out those ads and not post it on the site.
If you keep it simple and just include information about the product you are trying to sell without promoting or linking to other websites or content or trying to draw attention, you will be more successful on Craigslist. It is a simple website, so K.I.S.S. (AKA: Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Check Your Craigslist History
Your account posting history could also be a factor. If you used your CL account to post spammy car ads (or any type of CL spam) in the past, that could be associated with your account now, even if you are just trying to get rid of a sofa before your lease ends.
If you have an excessive amount of things posted or a spammy history, your account could be viewed as a spammy account, therefore, your ads won’t show up on Craigslist.
What I recommend to you if your ads aren’t showing up on Craigslist is that you create a brand new, super simple ad. Don’t edit and repost an ad that is being ghosted. Start from scratch. Include about 20 – 40 words in the ad. Text only.
No embedded images, no promotional language, no emails or phone numbers in the description. Just describe the item you are selling.
If the ad is posted and stays up, then it was probably an issue with the content of your original ad. If the ad still doesn’t show up, it could be a problem with your history.
That is just a quick test you can do with your account. Lets get into a few more details and things you can do to prevent ghosting.
Take a Break from Craigslist
Let your account take a deep breath. Don’t post anything for a few days. Sometimes it can help if you ease up and let your account rest.
Then, when you come back and post an item, don’t use your old format. Don’t post how you were posting in the past. Post simple ads that follow the guidelines and see if it helps.
Don’t Use Multiple Accounts
If you are posting ads from multiple accounts, it could be considered spam. If you are using a few different Craigslist accounts to post a lot of items while trying to fool the system, you should think twice about using this practice.
If you are using multiple accounts, most likely you are probably posting onto these accounts from the same IP address. Craigslist can probably detect that your ads are coming from the same IP address, therefore, they can ghost your ads.
Don’t Post to Multiple Cities
Again, similar to CL detecting your IP address, it is probably easy for them to scan your account to see if you are posting the same ads in different cities. You are allowed to post one item in one city.
So if you are posting the same item in multiple cities, you are breaking the rules and guidelines. If you are sending red flags like this to the Craigslist bots, you are setting yourself up to be ghosted.
Delete Old Ads After They Sell or Before Reposting
If you list and sell an item, go back into your account and delete the listing. This can signal to Craigslist that you are actively engaged with your account and you are keeping the website clean by deleting old ads.
Also, don’t repost an ad if you already have the same ad active. Delete the ad and repost it, or use the repost function offered by Craigslist (recommended, and much faster!).
Post Your Ads Throughout the Day
Craigslist users don’t want to see the same person taking advantage of the site by posting 20 of their products within a 20 minute period. That is not allowed and you will get your ads flagged.
If you get a lof of ads flagged, this could be a reason that your ads are beinng ghosted because your account could be marked as a spammy account. Instead, for example, post an ad at 10:00am. Wait for it to go live on the site.
Wait a little longer (maybe 30 – 45 minutes?) and post another ad with a different product.
That should help space your posts throughout the day so you don’t have 20 ads showing up all at once.
Why Craigslist Ads are Flagged
Finally, here is a checklist of possible problems (which I found in the Craigslist forums). Some of these could be outdated, I am just including them to give you an idea of other possible issues:
– Keyword abuse, esp. in cars&trucks
– Special/Extra characters in title incl / & ( ) **** !!! etc.
– No price where price field offered
– No location field entry
– Broken HTML or hidden codes
– Shipping, payment methods other than cash, auctions or bidding
– Various problematic terms such as ‘shippping’ or for prohibited items
– ‘clickable’ pics
– Chat/IM/etc. in personals
– huge embedded pic files (bandwidth hog)
– Some img hosting sites
– Links or apparent website domain in the ad except where allowed
– Extra email addy in body
– Use of shorthand like @ in body or title
– Excess punctuation, like, lists, like, this, or – or * on each line (like this list has!)
– Have another ad up or tried recently in same category
– Overposting or other abuse, as a recent pattern of behavior
– Broken CL account
– Had ad(s) flagged off recently
– Ad posted in the wrong site or subarea
– Posting too many too quickly
– Shared or not-secure connection subject to abuse
– Apparently not local to site, esp. posting to USA from other country
– Some college campus or hotel connections
– ISP or email service also used by spammers etc.
– Some email providers
– Use of proxy or anonymizer, or varying IP address
In the end, the main lesson you should take away is that you should not spam Craigslist. Since it is a free service, many people try to take advantage of it by promoting themselves or getting a person at 800 USPS. And these people probably don’t know they are breaking the guidelines. Just create simple ads that follow the rules, include great photos via the Craigslist image uploader, and you should be fine.
My Google Profile: +NickGCL