Ghosted Craigslist Listings

“Ghosted” listings are listings that appear to have been successfully posted to Craigslist without errors, and can even be found under your account page and accessed directly by its posting ID, but cannot be found by browsing the site or searching for them.

  • There are a number of possible reasons why your listings may be getting ghosted.
  • Unfortunately, Craigslist is not about to provide us with a complete list of exactly what they are searching for so we can circumvent their filtering.
  • Most of what is understood about this system has been discovered through trial and error and is subject to change at any time by Craigslist.

*Note – Because Craigslist won’t disclose how their filtering works, and because they often make changes to it without any notice, we cannot guarantee that your listings posted with the Auto Posting Utility will not be ghosted. It is your responsibility to ensure you are following Craigslist’s Terms of Use, and we are not responsible for any issues with your listings or your Craigslist accounts if you do not.

  • With that out of the way, here is a list of possible reasons why your listings may be getting ghosted that may or may not be applicable specifically to you.
    • The description for many of these issues is necessarily vague (“some”, “too many”, “too often”, etc.) because Craigslist won’t disclose these limits, many of them are dependent on other factors that can make them more or less restrictive, and they often change as Craigslist updates their filtering anyway.

Content

  • Using special characters in your Title or Location
    • Your Title and Location should not contain any special characters (excessive punctuation, ASCII characters, or other non-alphabetic characters) intended to draw attention to your listings.
    • Even including these in your description can be problematic — like using strings of asterisks as line separators, for example.
  • Posting invalid information in the Title or Location
    • Your Title and Location should not contain any attention-grabbing keywords or other text that doesn’t accurately describe your listing (Title) or Location, such as website or email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Not specifying a Price
    • When you don’t specify a price, it is assumed you are trying to hide the price.
  • Not specifying a Location
    • When you don’t specify a location, it is assumed you are trying to hide the location.
  • Using any HTML that is not supported
    • Craigslist only allows a limited list of HTML elements (what HTML is supported on Craigslist?).
    • Any HTML other than the accepted elements will either be stripped out immediately when your listing is posted or increase the likelihood of your listing being ghosted.
  • Excessive links / excessive images
    • Listings containing excessive links or images are commonly spam.
  • Abusing keywords in your description
    • Filling your description with keywords unrelated to the item you are selling (including several other years, makes, models, features your vehicle doesn’t have, etc.) in order to manipulate search results is not allowed.
  • Any discussion of Shipping, Payment Methods other than cash, Auctions, or Bidding
    • These are all frequently related to common scams and other undesired activity.
  • Using the ‘@’ character in your description
    • This is commonly related to spam or attempts to mask your email address.
Resolving These Issues
  • If your listing was ghosted because of a content issue, you can often edit the listing to correct it and get your listing to appear normally.
  • Check your listing Title, Location, and Description for any of the prohibited items above and remove them.
  • Provide a Price and/or Location if they were left blank.
  • If your listing appears after editing it to correct these issues, then avoid including the problem content in future listings, or omitting the Price and Location fields.

Conduct

  • Posting too quickly
    • Posting too many listings in a short period of time is considered suspicious by Craigslist, and your listings may be ghosted, or Craigslist may enforce a waiting period of several minutes or more before you can post again.
  • Posting too many listings in any category
    • Continually posting listings in any category is considered spam.
  • Posting too many listings from the same IP address
    • Your IP address identifies the machine you are posting from.
    • Posting too many listings from the same IP address will be considered spam, even if you are using different accounts.
    • Switching accounts and posting from the same IP address can also flag those accounts to require phone verification again.
  • Posting too many listings from the same account
    • Posting too many listings from the same account will be considered spam, even if you are using different IP addresses.
    • Using one login to post from different IP addresses can also flag that account to require phone verification again.
  • Posting too many listings that are getting ghosted
    • If too many of your listings end up getting ghosted by Craigslist’s filtering process, Craigslist may determine that you are spamming the site and filter your listings, even if the root issue(s) were fixed.
  • Posting too many listings that are getting flagged
    • Your listings may not contain anything that Craigslist’s filtering catches, but if too many of your listings are getting flagged anyway, Craigslist may determine that you are spamming the site and filter your listings.
Resolving These Issues
  • If your listing was ghosted because of posting too quickly, you can adjust the Posting Interval in the Auto Posting Utility to a larger value.
    • The default is 90 seconds, which results in about a 2 minute interval between posts when the whole posting process is taken into account.
  • If your listing was ghosted because you are posting too much, then your only recourse in most cases is to wait a minimum of 48 hours without posting anything.
    • After this waiting period, try to post a single listing and wait to see if it appears normally or is ghosted.
    • If it is still ghosted, you may need to wait longer, or your posting habits may have been so excessive that your account or IP address is blocked.
    • If you have the resources available, you can create multiple Craigslist accounts and post from more than one IP address, to avoid Craigslist detecting that you are posting too much.
    • If you take this approach, make sure you only use one account with one matching IP address.
    • Using more than one account from the same IP address can cause problems, as can using more than one IP address with the same account.

Connection

  • Posting to a city that doesn’t match the locality of your IP address
    • Craigslist now also checks the locality of your IP address against the city you are trying to post to.
    • If it does not appear to be local to that city, your listing will be blocked.
  • Posting from a suspect ISP (Internet service provider)
    • Some Internet service providers are commonly abused by spammers and are blocked.
  • Posting from certain college campus, hotel, or other public connections
    • These shared or unsecured connections are commonly abused by spammers and are blocked.
  • Using a proxy or anonymizer
    • These tools are commonly abused by spammers and are blocked.
  • Posting from an account associated with a suspect email provider
    • Some email providers are commonly abused by spammers and are blocked.
Resolving These Issues
  • If your listing was ghosted because of your email address, you can register a new email address with a reputable email provider (Gmail, etc.) and use it to create a new Craigslist account.
  • If your listing was ghosted because of your IP address, then your only recourse is to acquire a new, private internet connection from a reputable ISP that is local to the city that you want to post in.