How to avoid Craigslist Flagging

I am posting ads on craigslist since 2009. I have experiencedcraigslist flagging issue a lot. its funny, sometimes my competitorand trolls try to flag your ads because they do not want you toswim on top of Craigslist search results.

So we decided to test and figure out all variables that cancause flagging. Today I am going to share with you so you canchange your strategy a little bit to stay ahead of the game.

First, you might ask how craigslist decide to flag andremove ads from their site?

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The flagging system is a community and user-generated most ofthe time craigslist wouldn’t confirm whether your ad reallycontains prohibited content or not. Craigslist algorithm will justremove your post if there are several users who decided to flagyour post right after it is up.

Flagging is not 100 Percent user generated. Craigslist flagand remove ad themselves. So we must post ads in a way to satisfyboth craigslist and the community.

The system’s algorithm usually will not keep your ad if theratio between flags and ad view is not balanced. For example, ifwithin 5 minutes your ad is viewed 120 times and you get 23 flags,you are in the high zone and your ad will likely be automaticallydeleted by the system.

How to avoid Craigslist Flagging

The exact ratio is unknown but based on our test and data, ifbelow 5% of your visitors are flagging the post you are safe.Anything above 5% is going to be in the red zone and above 10percentage there is 100 percent chance that your ad is going to beflagged. The lower flag you got for a post, the higher chance thatyour ad will safely stay on the site.

Main reasons for craigslist flagging

  1. Your IP Address is not matching with the area you want topost.
  2. Your Ad content including title, images, and Description
  3. Competitors flagging your post
  4. Posting lot of ads in short amount of time from the sameIP.
  5. Using Special Characters in your Ad Title
  6. Posting in the Wrong Category
  7. Offering unsolicited offers. And email spam.
  8. Spammy Links in your ad. ( Click Bait)

1) Your IP Address.

Craigslist main purpose is to host local communityadvertisement, it requires you to post ads locally. Therefore, ifyou posting ads for property sale in Dallas, the site will assumeyour IP shows that you are in Dallas area as well. Craigslist isnot a global single domain website. Craigslist has a differentdomain for each city. For Example

newyork.craigslist.org

Losangles.craigslist.org

etc

In fact, the Total number of Craigslist sites are 700. Soif you are sitting in New York and trying to post in San Diego,California you might end up getting your ad flagged or ghosted.This is a very common mistake. Sometimes you might get away withit. But 90% of the time your ad will be ghosted or flagged rightaway.

Posting from a different area can raise a flag. Becausecraigslist detects that you are trying to game the system.

How to Fix it?

Semi-Dedicated Proxies

These proxies for for Craigslist Like a Charm!

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Don’t forget to use these proxies with FireFox Plugin orChrome Plugin. It’s easy and FREE!

If you want to post 2-3 ads per day and you are in the samecity, you don’t need any proxy. Just use your real IP address andmake sure there is no VPN installed on your computer. Check yourIP Address using different browsers Sometimes unknown programsinstall IP Changer which might cause getting your ad flagged.

2) Your Ad Title, Description, and Images

Since we discussed above, craigslist mostly depend on itsvisitors to decide which ads should be removed or not. Your bestbet is to offer great content to the visitors. Uniquely designedimage, catchy titles and converting ad description.

As long as you provide value, you are going to be safe.

The resource that you can use to create stunning andflag proof Craigslist Ads:

1) Craigslist Ad Title Generator. You can get a lot of uniqueTitles using this tool. Watch the video below to see how itworks.

I coded this excel spreadsheet for myself that I use quiteoften.

Disclaimer:- Please do not use these titles for mass posting. itis again Craigslist TOU. You can use these titles one by oneindividually.

2) You can get a cool looking craigslist image for few bucksthat can use for months after months. The awesome looking imagehelps you to look legitimate. It helps you increase yourconversions and grow your customers.

How to avoid Craigslist Flagging

3) Competitors flagging your ads.

When someone flags your ad it counts as alert against the postin question. Craigslist algorithm scan it to see if it isprohibited, offensive, hoax, or contain disturbing content. Whenthe number of flags accumulates and reach a threshold set bycraigslist algorithm, the ad gets flagged right away.

However, most of the time your competitor flag your ad becausethey do not want your ad swimming on the front page. They just flagand remove your ads using hundreds of different proxies and takeunfair advantage because of no competition.

How can you protect ads from Flaggers?

a) Increase your View Count. Everytime you open in a new tab, you have created a new impression. Andif you get a few hundred unique visitors to your craigslist rightaway. It’ll be quite difficult for someone to remove your ad.

b) Try not to use the same brandname in Title. You might be surprised, automatic adflaggers search for your brand and automatically send flags totheir competitors. A Craigslist post that contains item’s name,brand or company’s name is easier to be detected by the automaticflagging program, which will increase the chance of being targeted.To avoid this, use a unique combination of your titles and do notuse the same brand, again and again, to make it difficult forflagging software and alerts.

c) Mask your Phone number with VOIP phonenumber. Flagging software track you down if you usethe same phone number, again and again, even its easy for a humanto track. All they need to do is to searc forh your phone number oncraigslist and they will get a list to abuse and remove. Check thescreenshot below. I was able to find dozens of ads posted by thesame user by just searching for his phone number.

How to avoid Craigslist Flagging

Why expose yourself to spammers? Use VOIP numbers instead andmake your ad flag-proof.

You can get a new Number from Tossable and use them inyour craigslist ad. It’ll be quite difficult for a spammer tofigure out your ads if you use multiple phone numbers. On top ofthat, you can forward these numbers to your personal phonenumber.

Do not use these number to spam or mass posting on craigslist.It is just the matter of exposing your real phone number to spammerand scammers on craigslist.

4) Posting from the same IP Address.

if you are posting dozens of ads from the same account and sameIP address in short amount of time, you are in trouble! becausethis might raise a red flag. Its not natural.

Based on our tests and experience, if you post more than 10 adsper day from the same ip address, you might end up getting your adsflagged or ghosted.

How to get rid of this situation if I still want topost more than 10 ads per day?

There is no short answer to this questions. But I can write aseparate guide on this topic. Here are few quick tips that can helpyou:-

1)Schedule your post. If you have alot of inventory or items, you will need to make a schedule tospread out your post. If you are accidentally flooding theCraigslist front pages with your ads in a very short time, bigchance your IP will be blacklisted which result in flagging andghosting.

2) Use more than One IP address Asmentioned above, Craigslist system monitors the IP addresses of itsusers. When they notice too many posts coming from one IP address,that list will get flagged right away.

You can get new IP address quite easily. Read topic ” IP Address” in this article to learn more about changing your IP Address.

There are tons of other factors but let’s keep that for anothertime. Above are the most common solution for this particularproblem.

How to get rid of this situation if I still want topost more than 10 ads per day?

There is no short answer to this questions. But I can write aseparate guide on this topic. Here are few quick tips that can helpyou:-

1)Schedule your post. If you have alot of inventory or items, you will need to make a schedule tospread out your post. If you are accidentally flooding theCraigslist front pages with your ads in a very short time, bigchance your IP will be blacklisted which result in flagging andghosting.

2) Use more than One IP address Asmentioned above, Craigslist system monitors the IP addresses of itsusers. When they notice too many posts coming from one IP address,that list will get flagged right away.

You can get new IP address quite easily. Read topic ” IP Address” in this article to learn more about changing your IP Address.

There are tons of other factors but let’s keep that for anothertime. Above are the most common solution for this particularproblem.

5) Using Special Characters

It is funny but based on our test, using special characters inyour craigslist can cause flagging.

Why ?

Special characters are used by many posters just to grabattention and increase CTR (Click Through Rate) in most cases thesespecial characters are useless and misleading. Try to think from adifferent perspective. Ordinary craigslist visitors don’t likegetting tricked using this click bait technique. So they flag yourad.

Pro Tip:- Don’t overact, just do it naturally.

Hers is example of special characters. They an catch usersattention but it is quite dangerous for your ads. So avoid usingthese type of special characters.

How to avoid Craigslist Flagging

7) Offering unsolicited offers.

There are lot of shady people out there on craigslist. They postads on craigslist and offer in solicited or illegalproduct/services.

The content of and everything seems perfect, but when someoneshows interest in email, ad poster tries to extract phone numberand other personal information that can be used in a variety ofillegal activities.

Once smart people notice this, they flag the ad immediately.

Be honest with people you are dealing with. if your behavior isinappropriate, you might end up getting your ad flagged. What ifyour ad needs just 2,3 flags and who knows?

Spammy Links in your ad (Click Bait) Posting affiliate links,CPA type of links and links to a website with a quick rich or aPonzi scheme can cause red flags. Craigslist tracks these links forpotential abuse. And even user can flag you very easily if theyfind out that you are trying to game the system.

Solution:-

a) Do not use any link in thedescription. Posting links in ad description isconsidered as spam. Especially affiliate, CPA type of links.

Its better to use your website link on craigslist image. If youare not a designer, No problem! you can use Fiverr to getsome cool looking flyers.

b) Do not use URL Shortening Service.If you are using URL Shortening service like Google Short URL orBitly. Stop using them immediately! Based on our tests, we noticedthat ads with URL Shortener links are considered as spam and getsflagged very quickly.

c) Provide value to your visitors. Youare posting ads on craigslist to generate leads and clients. Somake sure you provide value to your visitors and potentialcostumers. If you use click bait, I am sure you’ll end up gettingflagged and even blacklisted.

James Walls

Social Media Specialist & Influencer.

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