More landlords and realtors than ever are utilizing Craigslist to advertise empty rental units and find new tenants. I know that I do it on a regular basis. But people like us – people who need to post large amounts of ads every week – run into the occasional problem.
Every now and then one of my postings is flagged as unacceptable. Rather than my posts being truly unacceptable, this usually happens because I’ve posted too often in a short span of time or I’ve reposted a listing without changing up enough of the text.
One of the strangest problems that I’ve run into lately with Craigslist is a ghosted post. Let me give you a better idea of what exactly a ghosted post is – you may very well have experienced a similar problem.
What is a Ghosted Post?
Simply put, a ghosted post is a posting that just doesn’t show up anywhere on the Craigslist website. Unlike a flagged posting, you are never notified that your ghosted post is, well, ghosted. Everything seems to have gone smoothly with the posting process but no one except you – or someone else with the specific URL – can see your listing.
Luckily, there are a few quick and easy ways to ensure that your posts don’t get ghosted on Craigslist. But before we get to them, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what exactly triggers a ghosted post.
What Triggers a Ghosted Post?
Once Craigslist starts to ghost your posts, the damage is done. It is very hard to get them to “un-ghost” your postings or take you off of their flagging radar for future posts.
With that said, the best way to avoid a ghosted post is by avoiding common triggers. One of the most common triggers is including a website or phone number inside of your post. Though it hardly seems a serious offense, Craigslist apparently takes it as so. Avoid including them in your listings. Or, if you’re set on including a link to your website, change the way that the address looks on Craigslist by using a URL redirecting site.
Your posting habits are one of the other key triggers of a ghosted post.
- Craigslist’s rules say that you’re not allowed to post more than 3 times per day. Obviously, that’s not much as far as I – or any other realtors I know – are concerned. Make your own decisions on this but keep the quantity of your posts in check if you find yourself being ghosted.
- Posting the same exact listings in several different areas can get you ghosted. If you do need to post to multiple areas at once, try spacing them out over a span of several days. It’s not a foolproof method, but it definitely helps.
- Every time that you repost an ad – whether it’s the same one a few times per week or the same one in a different region – make sure to switch up the wording slightly. You don’t need to do a complete overhaul but multiples of the exact same listing are a common ghosting trigger.
- If you’re new to the whole Craigslist thing or frequently create new accounts, take care not to go overboard on the posts during the account’s first few days. New users are closely monitored and an excessive amount of posts by one can be grounds for ghosting, flagging, or worse.
How to Avoid a Ghosted Post?
I guess the above section outlined a few of the ways to avoid being ghosted on Craigslist. If you’re still being ghosted even though you’re being careful, then it’s time for the heavy artillery.
An almost surefire way to avoid a ghosted post is by putting all of your information – text, photos, descriptions, and all – into a single image file (think: .jpg). Next host your image file on a site like Photobucket and then copy the photo into the body of your ad. Because Craigslist can only scan text, an ad with only an image should sail by even the toughest of flagging measures.
You can also start over with a new Craigslist account if you’ve already been ghosted. Make sure that you use a new name, a new email, and a new phone number when doing so. Sure, it’s a bit of work, but it’s the only way to start on a clean slate with CL. You might also need to change your IP address when you do this because multiple accounts coming from the same IP can trigger those darned Craigslist filters.
Something else that is interesting that I have noticed is that listings in certain regions – ones with a higher volume of traffic and ads – are more likely to be ghosted than others. For example, posts in the Chicago rentals section seem to be ghosted nearly three times as much as posts in the Southern Illinois rental section. So, if you’re based out of a smaller area, I guess you’re in luck as far as ghosting goes.
At the end of the day, ghosted posts are just something that you have to live with when using Craigslist to post a large quantity of ads. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to handle – and even beat – them.
Do you guys have any other ways that you keep your Craigslist posts from being ghosted or flagged? Leave us a comment and let us know.