The Ghosts of Craigslist Past

By
Real Estate Assistant with SuccessWebsite.com
http://actvra.in/lh6

For the past 3 years or so, I have been helping my clients post ads for their listings and real estate services on Craigslist, and in the beginning it was a lovely service to offer. They were getting great leads without having to pay a dime. Sure, it took some time to put together and post the ads, but it was great to be able to tell a client that we can generate leads without additional ad costs.

It was also the perfect opportunity for companies like ours to develop products to help clients post ads more effectively on Craigslist.

And that’s just what we did. We spent months developing a product that would combine online listing flyers with USP (unique selling proposition) ads to generate the maximum amount of traffic to the website. It was wonderfully complex and would surly be the most innovative thing to hit the market.

After a stellar launch, there was more interest in it than any other product we had put out before. Our clients were extremely excited about it and new business was coming in as a result. And then.......... the ghosts came (insert scary music here).

Ghosting is when your ad appears to be accepted by Craigslist, but is not actually posted to the list of ads. You will receive a confirmation email from Craigslist saying your ad was accepted, and the link will direct you to what looks like a successfully posted ad online, but if you search for it on the list it wont show up. The ad is there, but can't be seen by anyone. It is a "ghost".

There are benefits to posting ads on Craiglist simply because it gets a massive amount of traffic on a daily basis. Should you build your business around it? Definitely not. And it is always dangerous to rely on one method of advertising (especially when it’s free).It can be very easy to get sucked into trying to "game the system" when your time could be better used elsewhere.

But, there are still some great ways for real estate agents to advertise on Craigslist.

Just yesterday I recorded a webinar specifically on this and what you can do to avoid the ghosting issues. Click here to access the Craigslist webinar video.

I also recommend the following quick tips to those who want to successfully post on Craigslist:

  1. Make sure you have a strong headline. The most effective headlines within Craigslist contain the geographic Area, unique type of home (fixer upper, foreclosure/Distress, luxury etc.) and the type of prospect (first time buyer, investor, home seller etc.)
  2. If you plan to post more than once a day, create multiple accounts. You will also need multiple phone numbers for verification purposes
  3. Use images for your ads instead of .html.
  4. Try posting in the "Real Estate Services" category rather than "Real Estate For Sale", especially if you are offering a free list of homes, real estate reports or an online home evaluation.

The bottom line: Blocking, ghosting and flagging are not unique to real estate advertisers. They are problems that have become widespread among all Craigslist users, whether they are spammers, legitimate businesses or innocent individuals. It can be even more frustrating because the conditions that cause these problems are not consistent from city to city. And Craigslist seems to be firm in its refusal to openly deal with the matter.

In the end, the most I can do is try to address the Craigslist needs of our members and remain committed to helping them succeed. And as Ray Parker once sang in that mildly popular 80’s tune “I ain't afraid of no ghosts”.

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  1. Patrick Ciriello 10/14/2011 12:55 PM
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Rainer
51,119
Shawn King
Star, Boise, Eagle, Meridian Real Estate
Boise Premier Real Estate

Kristie, 

Thanks for your insights.  I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Craigslist.  BACKPAGE!

October 13, 2011 10:28 PM
Rainer
57,601
John Marion
RE/MAX Town & Country

Thank you for the information about posting to Craigslist, Kristie. I'm posting ads regularly now I will have to go back and check that they are actually appearing.

October 13, 2011 11:22 PM
Rainer
14,750
Kristie Filion
SuccessWebsite.com

I am thrilled with the response I have had form this post and can't wait to continue the development our Craigslist program to meet the needs of our clients.

As an alternative to Craigslist, you can also use Backpage & EBay Classifieds (Kijiji in Canada).  Ebay Classifieds does not allow for .html or active links, so it really is more of a "Classified Ad" where you would use an image or just text.

Make sure you give your viewers specific instructions to copy and past the url in the ad or include a "Benefit Rich" domain name in the ad, just like you would do for a print ad.

October 14, 2011 09:33 AM
Rainer
332,837
Paul Gapski
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty
 

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

March 10, 2012 06:55 AM
Anonymous #41
Anonymous
Habib

 Craigslist help us to ads post. But Now I am telling everyone about a great community websites www.theadxchange.com. Ther are tring to raise money to complete sires. To learn more go http://adxfounding.com

February 23, 2013 08:39 AM
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Rainer
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Kristie Filion

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Additional Information

I write about the mad science of internet marketing for Realtors.