Agents Be Warned-- Do not Use Postlets with Craigslist!!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Gainesville Apartments by Trimark Properties
http://actvra.in/CPx

Don't Risk Being Banned From Craigslist

I've noticed a lot of recommendations on Active Rain for the 3rd party service sites Vflyer and Postlets. Like the rest of you, I love their functionality and think that the idea is fantastic, and my company often uses them to post listings for available Gainesville apartments. I've seen a lot of improvement in the last few years and hope that the sites remain in beta (and therefore, remain free) for a while.

However, many agents here on Active Rain have posted about using the services for 3rd party posting (or coded posting) on Craigslist, and this is a violation of the terms of use of the Craigslist posting service, and can result in having your account banned.

My company has used the services to post onto Craigslist in the past and was never caught-- but do you really want to risk a lawsuit that you cannot win, because you expressly agreed to the terms of use, or do you want to risk getting kicked off of Craigslist? Be careful. Don't do it.

There are several other very important issues outlined in the Craigslist TOU agreement that agents should read:

* Do not use craigslist to post "bait and switch"-- which means you must immediately remove an ad if the listing is sold
* Do not post "off topic" ads, such as links to blogs
* Consider this rule: "...hat includes links to commercial services or web sites, except as allowed in "services" and realize that it means that linking to your site within the housing section is actually a violation of their terms of use Realize that just because you haven't been caught, it doesn't mean you won't be.

Be careful. Read about the many users who have been banned or have had sites permanently blacklisted. Be careful! And good luck!

 

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Rainmaker
216,199
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Well, we've now heard from both vflyer and postlets that they have worked directly with craigslist (and, even better, Craig!) to be in compliance with their products and that they are in compliance.  That's good enough for me, being, as it were, straight from the horse's mouth. 

Aubrey, given that, sounds to me like they've both already done what you think they should do as far as modifying code for craigslist, and that perhaps you were misinformed as to, or misunderstood, the reason that you were banned.  

Jul 02, 2007 08:06 PM #82
Ambassador
915,866
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Whew!  So many comments, and so many opinions on this topic.  Based on ActiveRain recommendations, I had planned to start using Postlets, but this gave me pause... until I saw Christopher's comment.  'Guess it's okay, after all.
Jul 02, 2007 08:56 PM #83
Rainmaker
337,656
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information
we have seen some arbitrary outcomes from craigs list. Apparently there are some folks in the bay area that flag our listings in Lake Tahoe from being advertised there. Can not get a reason, and for the most part there's nobody to talk to that's in charge.  We have heard that it is effective for Lake Tahoe rentals... like I said, if its ok to put up rentals there, but listings are flagged, well... that's like I said, arbitrary. Thanks for sharing this information/
Jul 03, 2007 12:29 AM #84
Rainmaker
143,051
Joshua Jarvis
Keller Williams Realty - Atlanta Real Estate - Duluth, GA
Putting the REAL in Real Estate in Gwinnett County

I'd have to agree a little bit with the poster that called you out as a chicken little here.

Sites like Point2 Agent, Vflyer, postlets, ect are all fueling the increase of postings on craiglist.  Also, if the fine is $100.  I would love for them to try to collect considering you don't really need anything but an e-mail account to start an account.  I'll continue to use Vflyer as it looks much more professional than anything else posted on craigslist.

Leaving a property that has closed and the new owners has moved in may be irresponsible, but Removing the property BEFORE then is a disservice to your client.

The bottomline is that 9 times out of 10 we are using this stuff to generate leads.  Sorry if Craig doesn't approve of these things, but I will link back to my site or blog as much as I want as long as I am posting a quality "post" there.

Thanks for the post though, it definitely keeps those eyes open.

Jul 03, 2007 04:14 AM #85
Anonymous
Anonymous

Joshua -

Craigslist does have a terms of service - and they can collect the fines.  It's not that hard to click on your link and find out who you are.

Your blatant disregard to their terms of service is exactly why they pursue people, ban people and delete posts.

Thank you for making it harder for other people to post by not following the rules (which CLEARLY state that providing a link to a commercial service is not allowed except in services). 

Jul 03, 2007 09:56 AM #86
Rainmaker
276,429
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

This discussion has worn me out. why use CL anyway? The REAL buyers aren't looking there for their next house or investment. CL costs nothing and that's what its worth.

Bill Roberts

Jul 03, 2007 10:50 AM #87
Rainmaker
216,199
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Ah, but Bill, other agents are having success with it.  So, while it may be worth nothing to you, clearly it has value to those for whom it does work for those who know how to use it successfully. 

We all have our different techniques and tools that work for us; that's one of the things that distinguishes us from each other, don't you think?

 

Jul 03, 2007 10:56 AM #88
Anonymous
Anonymous
It works for us, and I had my doubts it would.  We get both rental and buyer inquiries that are filled and sold.
Jul 03, 2007 11:21 AM #89
Rainmaker
299,768
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor
Great response to Bill's comment, Tricia. I thought I'd come back and mention the buyer I have coming into town from Illinois next Wednesday. Just so happens that this buyer found me through one of my listings on CL. That particular listing is already sold so we're going out to find him another home. He's qualified and ready to go, so I don't think CL was too much of a waste in this case. What works for some doesn't work for others and we all have our own techniques, as you mentioned. That's what makes this so much fun.... find what works for YOU.
Jul 03, 2007 03:17 PM #90
Rainer
6,950
waey wyqw
wyq34y - Dell, MT

Automatic posting by software to Craigslist is strictly prohibited. But you can use vFlyer and Postlets to create compliant Craigslist ads and post them yourself.

Eventhough it is a common practice, Craigslist is not 'suppose' to be a web site traffic generator. It was built and is operated as a non-commercial free classified ad web site. Links are not allowed in your ads unless they point to another Craigslist ad.

I think a lot of agents are missing the point and have lost their focus. It's not about traffic its about leads.

Aug 04, 2007 08:15 PM #91
Rainer
6,950
waey wyqw
wyq34y - Dell, MT

Currently, I am conducting an informal survey that will quantify the effectiveness of Craigslist. Please click on the link below to answer 5 short survey questions. Also, tell your associates about the survey. We need at least 100 respondents to fill out the survey.  Once I receive the results I will share them with everyone.

Survey: The Effectiveness of Real Estate Classified Ads on Craigslist
Aug 15, 2007 09:27 PM #92
Anonymous
Anonymous

Troy - I did the survey - but I have to state, we have 2 companies, 1 is real estate and 1 is property management.  I answered overall here are the break downs:

how many leads do you generate per month?  real estate 9-12, property management 21+

do you use ad templates? yes on both (we've found them to generate a higher response rate)

how much time do you spend? 4-6 hours combined (all ads are posted once a week on the same day - takes about 1-2 hours per week).  3 hours for real estate and 3 hours for property management

geographic market - suburban 

 

Aug 16, 2007 07:45 AM #93
Rainer
6,950
waey wyqw
wyq34y - Dell, MT
Christina, Thanks for completing the survey. Don't forget to tell an associate about the survey.
Aug 16, 2007 11:47 PM #94
Anonymous
someone

I have worked with craigslist TOU for some time and would like to clarify some things for everyone.

1. Postlets and v-flyer both generate the HTML code to post on craigslist, they do not post for you. If they submitted the post for you they would be considered a posting agent which is strictly prohibited.

( A "Posting Agent" is a third-party agent, service, or intermediary that offers to post Content to the Service on behalf of others )

 

2. Any link leading to a commercial web site (shows up in blue, hint hint) is against the TOU:

( m) that includes links to commercial services or web sites, except as allowed in "services"; )

If you post a link, you will probably get flagged. If you get flagged enough or reported, yes, they may ban your link address as has been mentioned above. However, that's against the TOU in the first place, so how about making your ad without a link to your site..that's how you would get blocked and recognized in the first place.

Dec 01, 2008 05:37 PM #95
Anonymous
Anonymous

Trimark Properties has the absolute worst customer service of any place I have ever lived in my entire life. Places like this make me want to just buy a house. They take the easy way out of everything and make the renter do all the work. It is a SCAM!!! I encourage anyone who is thinking to move into any property own/ran by Trimark to seriosuly rethink that decision. They are the most obnoxious, lazy, and pitiful company I have ever dealt with. TRUST ME DO NOT EVER, EVER, EVER MOVE INTO ANY APARTMENT, HOUSE, OR EVEN CARDBOARD BOX IF IT IS RUN BY TRIMARK! SAVE YOURSELF THE AGGRAVATION!!

Aug 17, 2009 10:31 AM #96
Anonymous
Isaac

This is a fairly simple subject to figure out folks, per the CL TOU.

If the program AUTOMATICALLY POSTS, then it is against cl TOU.  Period, end of story.  that has always been a violation of CL tos.

Considering they now use captcha text, it's virtually impossible to auto-post anyway, unless you have some pretty good OCR technology!

However, if the program merely generates the HTML for you, then CL has no way to say it's a violation of TOU.  In fact, they wouldn't even know.  Nobody knows how you generate the html.  You copy and paste something in.

that said, why would you pay for a program whose only benefit is to generate some extremely simple HTML tags such as CL allows...such as:

<img src="yourHostedImage.jpg">

and

<b>bold print</i>

Goodness, RE agents should be smart enough to do this themselves....

Jul 11, 2011 05:29 PM #97
Anonymous
Chris

Consider using Search 'n Grab as one of your free advertising sources

They are much more socially connected and short of doing anything illegal or overly spammy, will let you do as you please. Personally, I like the interface and presentation more and advertise my own website's URL however I want with no worries.

www.searchandgrab.com

 

Aug 10, 2011 08:27 AM #98
Anonymous
Anonymous

This is confusing!  Both Vflyer and Postlets supply you with Craigslist code.  Why wouldn't we know about a lawsuit for the both of them for supplying that code - if it is not supposed to be used?

Can we get a Craigslist professional to speak on this subject.

I see you received a "feature" for this post and yet it is confusing.  I think this should be checked out more, made more clear and definitely verified - before we all go changing our way of soliciting business!

Craigslist has a "if" and "if" you do it kind of reputation already... I was just beginning to trust using it and now I read this.  Please clarify.

Aug 10, 2011 08:50 AM #99
Rainmaker
181,020
MaryBeth Mills Muldowney
TradeWinds Realty Group LLC - Norwell, MA
Massachusetts Broker Owner

This is one of the reasons why Active Rain is so important to fellow Realtors.  Although I didnt know this before, I received a notice tonight that one of my rentals in Plymouth MA was removed from Craigslist.

I could not understand why, I kept rereading my posting, anything offensive???  anything that was against fair housing??? both answers were no, I could not understand why....

But now I do, they were posted to craigslist from another time saving provider...ugh!

Thank you for solving my evening's issues....

Jan 27, 2012 11:59 PM #100
Rainer
333,262
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo
 

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Mar 05, 2012 03:15 PM #101
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Aubrey Zaffke

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