Craigslist Listing Issues

This is a compilation of some of the more frequently asked questions about Craigslist listing issues.

What is Flagging?

  • Flagging is an action initiated by a user who comes across your listing and objects to something about its content.
  • Your listing must be flagged several times by more than one unique user before it will be taken down by Craigslist.
  • The exact threshold will vary based on category and location.
  • Craigslist never flags your listings automatically.
  • Craigslist Help Pages:

Why are my listings being Flagged?

  • WebManager provides several templates and options for Craigslist listings that can test the limits of what other users might consider to be “too commercial”.
    • These include displaying your banner image at the top of the listing, displaying very large photos or very many photos, providing several links back to your website or vehicle listing, using a colorful color scheme with more extensive HTML, etc.
    • While we provide these options, we make no guarantees that listings posted with these options will be safe from flagging.
    • Because what constitutes a listing being “too commercial” is entirely subjective, you may be able to get away with certain options in one category or location that you won’t be able to in another.
    • There is no way to determine the limit of what you can post safely ahead of time without trial and error.
  • If you find that you are being flagged more often than you would like, try using a simpler template, disabling your banner, displaying fewer and smaller photos, and using the simple white color scheme.
    • In our experience, clients that use the minimal template with all our recommended settings don’t get flagged unless they are entering other objectionable content themselves in their vehicle descriptions.
    • One of the biggest culprits of this type is entering your website domain name in your description text.
    • The less that you identify yourself as a dealer and the more you make your listing about trying to sell your vehicle rather than promoting your dealership, the safer your listings will be.
  • *Note – AutoManager will not provide technical support for flagging issues if you are not using the recommended template settings.

What is “Ghosting“?

  • Apart from flagging, Craigslist does employ an automated system for filtering certain listings, mainly intended to fight spam or abuse of the system.
    • When your listing is ghosted, it appears to have been posted successfully without any errors, and can even be found under your account page and accessed directly by its posting ID, but it cannot be found by browsing the site or searching for it.
    • This behavior by Craigslist is completely undocumented so avoiding or working around it can be challenging.
    • The best solution to avoid ghosting issues is to employ moderation and common sense in your listings.
  • Much like the IRS, Craigslist apparently doesn’t scan every listing that is posted, but selects listings to audit at random.
    • This means that just because you are able to get away with some behavior or content in some of your listings, it may not mean that those listings are “okay” and that you can expect to get away with it in all of your listings.
    • In fact, the more problematic listings that you post that do end up getting ghosted, the higher the likelihood of your future listings receiving extra scrutiny or even your Craigslist account being blocked.
  • If you are being ghosted, immediately reposting your listings will only compound the problem.
    • You should correct the problem causing you to be ghosted, and wait 48 hours before posting again, and start by posting only a few listings at a time until you determine that your posts aren’t being ghosted anymore.
    • You will have more success posting listings that follow Craigslist guidelines and Terms of Use that remain safely on the site so users can search for them than you will by trying to fight the system and trying to flood the site with more attention-grabbing listings than the next user.
  • Help for Ghosting Issues:

Why Can’t I Find My Listings on Craigslist?

  • There is a delay between when your listing is submitted and accepted by Craigslist and when it can be found by browsing the site or by searching.
  • Craigslist updates its indexes for each category periodically, and the amount of time it takes to update can vary widely between categories and locations, from as little as a few minutes to as much as an hour or more.

If it has been more than an hour since your listing was submitted and you still can’t find it, there are a few probable causes:

  1. Your listing has been Ghosted.
  2. The search term(s) you are using have been blocked.
    • Many of the same keywords that Craigslist checks to determine whether a listing is spam are also blocked for search purposes.
  3. Craigslist is having technical difficulties.
    • Craigslist is not a very sophisticated website and sometimes encounters technical difficulties, resulting in indexes being corrupted or reset.