Giving Back: a Craigslist posting guide

by tomleen 65 replies
Hello fellow members of WarriorForum,

For some time now, I've been posting on Craigslist.
I've been through many trials and tribulations, but thanks to the very helpful members of this amazing forum, I finally started figuring things out for my own.

Now, I'm posting 200+ ads/day consistently, and making a steady living.

So why this post?
I want to give back to the community that helped raise me up.
I believe in paying it forward. That's an important value to me. Call it karma, or whatever, but the many blessed dividends I've had in my life are really do to helping others.

I hope this guide will cut your learning curve in half. All of my advice stems from posting firsthand.

IP solution
- An IP address is the way that computers identify each other on the internet. I needed a good way for these IP addresses to be different in Craigslist's eyes. I've noticed there's a *LOT* of speculation about this on WarriorForum. People will recommend different things without ever trying what they recommend.

What didn't work:
I tried HideMyAss and free proxies found online (they are everywhere). Out of about 260 posts, about 248 of these were flagged and deleted immediately. That's a 95% flagging rate.
- Some Craigslist posting experts on this forum have talked in length about WHY this approach fails. The idea is that Craigslist has already found and blacklisted a lot of these IPs.
- Public proxies run into the same issue. Go ahead and try and you'll see what I mean.

What did work:
- using residential DSL lines (RDSL).
- This worked better than VPNs and public proxies but after about 1-2 weeks of posting (~55% success rate), they were blacklisted too (~10% success rate)
- I'm fairly certain that Craigslist is able to track these residential DSL lines across accounts.

Renting VPSes and mounting personal proxy there also works.
- Since I could never be sure that other people weren't sharing the proxies, I purchased a cheap VPS for $5/mo and setup a Squid Proxy with help from one of the members here. I am not technical by any means, but it was pretty easy to do.

Resetting your router for a new IP
- If you force your router to use a different MAC address, you will get a new IP address. So it's pretty simple to post, then go into your router and change the IP address, then post again. As you setup more computers, you will be able to post faster simultaneously!

Phone Verification
- Almost all sections of Craigslist require phone verification at one point or another. It's one of the hardest part about posting on Craigslist.
- VoIP numbers like Twilio/Google Voice/Callfire all don't work.
- Craigslist can detect whether a phone number is VoIP or not. They just never send you the phone verification code.
- Asking friends does work. This one is pretty obvious but you can ask any of your friends in US or Canada to help you phone verify. Leveraging my Facebook network, I phone-verified about 80 or so accounts. You should always start off with this.
- Some carriers (but not all) will lease you a line with refundable fees. I have friends now opening lines, phone verifying and then refunding.
- Purchasing prepaid SIM cards
- I started purchasing SIM cards and plugged them into old phones to phone verify. It worked great and is still working to this day. the troublesome part of it is that most online prepaid SIM cards don't actually work... you have to find ones that Craigslist has not already blacklisted already. Private message me if you want more tips here as I'm reluctant to post this information publicly.

Content
- Adding the same URL to the posts caused a LOT of deletions. Craigslist can track your URLs across posts.
- Automated spinners would work for a little bit and then start flagging hard. I recommend AGAINST automated spinners like WordAI as they tend to cycle through the same permutations.
- Scraping is pulling content from another site. This almost always resulted in a bad live rate for me. Craigslist can track content on other sites. A lot of times Craigslist has deals with popular websites to "share" their content so they know if you are simply scraping off another site.
- Other users are scraping content too, so Craigslist starts to see the same content over and over, resulting in flagging or banning your account.
- Hiring content writers and manual spinners to create content at scale.
- You can find good ones on Upwork to write your content.

Do manual Craigslist posting teams work? -
You can find a ton of Craigslist posters on Upwork and internet marketing forums. The truth is that 90% of them claim to know how to post, until your ads get flagged after a few hours.
- There are too many horror stories about outsourcing Craigslist posting to Upwork freelancers outside of the US. Buyer beware.
- My experience: poor communication, hard-to-track live ads, high risk of being scammed

Do Craigslist posting services work?
- Difference between a "Craigslist posting service" and a "Craigslist posting team": these services generally have a website that show you all the live ads being posted in *real-time* instead of handing you a spreadsheet. You can usually specify that a live ad only counts after it's been live for 3 hours. Everything is automated and no risk of being scammed.
- As mentioned by many other Craigslist expert posters here, the best posting services are usually "private" Craigslist posting services and not on "Google". They usually require a minimum amount to post. These guys usually handle everything for you and work with you to formulate the best content.
- I've had good success with Craigslist posting services when I wanted to scale up for certain niches.

Do Craigslist bots work?
- Do-it-yourself bots like CLADGenius and other bots don't work.
- My experience: I have used almost all of them, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that all of them gave me terrible results. CLADGenius was the best of the worst but crashed so often and got my accounts banned. Not worth the $3000 price tag.

So after all this work, why post on Craigslist? After all, it seems like a mountain to climb.
Well, fellow Warrior members, the effort is certainly worth it - the payouts on Craigslist are amazing as there is high barrier to entry to post. It might seem hard at first, but if you can find your niche and find a way to post, you'll be making steady, monthly income for days.

Never give up.
#offline marketing #back #craigslist #giving #guide #posting
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  • Profile picture of the author austing hausbb
    Excellent work... I've been trying to post on Craigslist for a while and a lot of what you posted is new to me.
    The best way I've found to post on Craigslist that you've alluded to is to run multiple computers and switch between them.

    Have you had difficulties scaling your ads? I'm not talking about spamming Craigslist, but hitting multiple regions as your product goes nationwide.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    When I started posting, it made sense to offer my product/services to as broad of a demographic as possible. Craigslist is the best way to do that.
    So these days, I've been focusing on scaling the ads via the system I outlined in my original post. I have not ran into scaling issues yet, as I've been outsourcing to a lot of different freelancers.
    My methodology is basically... run with the system manually until you can prove that it works, then outsource it.
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  • Profile picture of the author beat ship
    Very interesting "what worked" experiences. A lot of posts seem to focus on what doesn't work, so it's refreshing to see what did work. I've also had success with prepaid numbers for phone verification.
    Craigslist makes it very difficult to actually use different numbers as they block VoIP as you know.
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    It's interesting to note that Callfire/Google Voice don't work. Any idea on how they do that? There must be some kind of 3rd party service, right?
    If so, how come asking your friends works and VoIP doesn't?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    I'm not sure on the technical specifics of why VoIP doesn't work. All I know is that many of the big name providers i've tried get blocked automatically. There was another user on this forum who had posted an in-depth thread/guide on why phone verification with VoIP doesn't work. I believe it's in the Programming section.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stfenhuse
    That was one of my posts. Feel free to sort through the posting history, there's a lot of misinformation out there, so I try to make sure everything is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
    In short, the reason why VoIP doesn't work is because 3rd party databases keep track of what "type" of number the submitted number is. As a result, in the same way that Craigslist tracks IP, they also track phone number and blacklist the ones they don't like.
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    If VoIP doesn't work, then the only real ways I can think of verifying phone is through the methods outlined in the original post. But what do you do when you run out of friends to ask? Do you have to find one of these carriers like you said?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    There are a few more techniques for phone verification that I didn't share in the thread because it would be difficult to explain it all and the thread is long enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author beat ship
    Question for you Tom is, how far does this method get you in terms of scaling? You mention that you are posting 200+ ads/day, is that consistent or are you taking breaks in between?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    I'm fairly confident that it can get you to a decent amount of live ads per day (given that your content is decent and not spammy).
    I also want to put up a disclaimer that I've only posted to a handful of sections. Though, as far as I can tell, the rules are generally the same across Craigslist sections. Some have more difficult filters than others.
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  • Profile picture of the author mogamre
    How do you reset the MAC address on your router to renew your IP address? Can you explain how that works? I'm confused and want to try it.

    I've read on other places that this works, but how exactly do you do it? Every time I try, I end up with the same IP address.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    Changing your MAC address in the router seems to give your computer a new IP. My workflow is generally to login to my router (http://192.168.1.1) and then there is usually a bottom on the admin console that allows you to change your mac address. Then, go ahead and reboot your router, you should have a new IP address to use with a different account.

    My workflow is: post -> reset router -> clear cookies -> post
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  • Profile picture of the author roy mag nuson
    I use the same method and it's worked out well. I find that it helps the live ratio to also download and run a program called CCleaner before each post too.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    Yes, I use a similar program in my workflow to clear the cookies (not via the browser). I'm not sure what happens under the hood but it seems to do everything it needs to do!
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  • Profile picture of the author mogamre
    I was finally able to reset my MAC address and get posting! I have 1 live so far. Thanks!!!!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author side planers
    I have been clearing my cookies via browser since I started posting. CCleaner seems to help the live ratio, but I'm still getting flagged. Can you help me?
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  • Long-time Craigslist poster here.

    Clearing your cookies and erasing your cache will certainly help, but it is by no means the complete solution. The idea behind Craigslist posting is to make your accounts as unique possible as from one another. Basically, you want to be the OPPOSITE of a VPN (virtual private network).

    If you start with that premise, you'll start to see quickly the necessary steps you need to take to fulfill that objective. It is by no means an easy task, but then again, Craigslist posting can be so profitable that if there were an easy solution, everybody would do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    Craigslistpostingclub, that's a very interesting way to think about Craigslist posting and I'd like to hear more about it.

    What do you mean by "necessary steps"? What, specifically, can I add to my workflow above to help increase live ratio.
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  • There are a lot of similarities between what scaled Craigslist posting looks like and proper anonymization.
    The concerns are the same.

    For example, consider digital fingerprinting (google Panopticon fingerprinting)
    -> In anonymization land, if computer A has a different digital fingerprint than computer B and computer C, it's obvious who computer A is.
    -> In Craigslist posting land, if computer A has a different digital fingerprint than computer B and computer C, it's a unique account.
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  • Profile picture of the author domain finder
    Tom and others, can you advise me on how to best funnel your leads once your ad is live?

    Do you recommend email forwarding to one main account and auto-replying from that master account?
    Or how about photoshopping an image and placing your URL there for contact?
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    • Profile picture of the author djhickory
      for email forwarding , i would recommend Em Client , and rule for 1 ad every 48 hours is still on, after 2 months you can Re post each ad, then Renew them too, but stay inside cl tos or you'll get a COD Letter , and IP Geolocation Matters 100% up 60 to 90 Miles In My Cities, They are Different Every City Section
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  • 1. You can certainly forward all your email to one account, which is what many do. However, be careful of mass auto-replying... Craigslist can filter down on the ISP of your email servers and "rank against" you so that most of your emails become ghosted (they appear to be sent, but not actually sent)
    2. Earlier this year, Craigslist added a capability to filter out text from the images. This is no longer a good approach.
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    • Profile picture of the author swollengoat
      Originally Posted by craigslistpostingclub View Post

      1. You can certainly forward all your email to one account, which is what many do. However, be careful of mass auto-replying... Craigslist can filter down on the ISP of your email servers and "rank against" you so that most of your emails become ghosted (they appear to be sent, but not actually sent)
      2. Earlier this year, Craigslist added a capability to filter out text from the images. This is no longer a good approach.
      @craigslistpostingclub - Is there a way to handle replying to CL's email-relay inquiries at a mass level?

      We were seeing success rotating the forward-to address with an auto-reply, but emails are no longer being delivered successfully. Any insight into how to successfully handle inquiries with replies (even if manual) would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks

      SG
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  • Profile picture of the author mogamre
    So I was having decent success with the solutions posted here, until Craigslist started asking for phone verification. I have a total of 20 accounts now that are phone verified, but it seems like I need more accounts to post...

    What is the general rule of thumb for posting frequency?
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  • Craigslist terms of service says once every 48 hours, so I would abide by that. I have had decent results this way.
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  • Profile picture of the author domain finder
    Thanks Craigslistpostingclub, you definitely know your stuff. For IP addresses, can you tell me if geolocation actually matters?

    For example, I'm in Georgia and I want to post outside of Georgia, to San Francisco.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    From my firsthand experience, I've found IP geolocation to matter... but not matter TOO much, if that makes sense.
    For instance, posting in my hometown, I get a near 100% live ratio. But the further that I get from my home town, the harder it is to become live. It could be due to other factors, but I'm not sure.
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  • It is important to match your IP geolocation as well as your phone geolocation (area code) for maximal live ratio.

    Of course, that is not to say you won't get ads live without doing the above. But the live ratio in my experience, holding content stable.
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  • Profile picture of the author djhickory
    And for this being a Guide on how to Post on Craigslist, It's not a Guide, but a List of Failed attempts , there is So Much More to the Game then you Know, I like your Attitude tho , Never Give Up
    Just Do it!
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  • Profile picture of the author jpdsa
    I have been having trouble finding reliable spinners that can balance between uniqueness and readability.

    You don't recommend automated spinners - but what's the best way to create unique content in a scalable manner?
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    You can always hand-spin the content yourself. This is what I find works best... just make sure to start with multiple ad templates.

    Or else CL will start flagging quickly if you use 1 ad template for everything.

    Tom, can you comment on this?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    I recently transitioned to a posting service, which has been working extremely well. High live ratio with 150-200 ads/day.

    Regarding content, one of the biggest challenges was finding a reliable spinner. The reason why I recommend against automated spinner is because they generate high readability but they use the spins for every single client.
    Invariably, there will be the same clients posting in the same section as you, especially if it is competitive.

    Hand-spinning works best but it is extremely tedious.
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  • Profile picture of the author domain finder
    I find that scraping content works well - I have pretty good live ratios there.
    I used to scrape content a lot, but then now I simply ask the website if I can "partner" together to promote content.
    I provide the advertising and they provide the content. Works very well.
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  • Profile picture of the author cetab titan
    Tom, can you comment whether or not hand-spinning works when you're nesting the content at a 2nd / 3rd tier level?
    What I mean is... instead of spinning on a word-by-word basis, what about first at a word basis, then a sentence basis, then a paragraph basis?
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  • Profile picture of the author jpdsa
    Thanks for the insight on your posting solutions, Tom. But it still doesn't really answer my question.
    How does one find a reliable spinner if automated ones don't work?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    The posting service I use outsources everything for me. So basically, any good service should be able to have a team of spinners ready to mix up your content and find what works best.

    Many times, your ads will contain words/phrases that will cause the ad to flag quickly. So it's not always a matter of spinning, either.
    You need to experiment to make sure that the words/phrases you use are OK with Craigslist.
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  • Profile picture of the author austing hausbb
    I have been trying to figure out a content solution for the longest time now. Your post has been helpful in learning how to scale up, but it certainly takes so much time to do!
    On top of that, if you don't have a good scalable content solution, then you're stuck dead in the water..
    Content-wise, how does the process of posting with the service work? I am considering it.
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  • Profile picture of the author mogamre
    I recently switched from hand posting to using one of the aforementioned services. Obviously, your mileage may vary, as the original posters said.
    However, things generally work smoothly - they handle content, IP solution and all you need to worry about is conversion.

    What Tom is posting is correct in its methodology, but then again it is extremely time-consuming to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    Time-consuming is correct. That's why I switched to the service as quickly as I did.

    But for your reference, this was the workflow that I ventured through to try to get a high volume of posting content (100-150+ live ads/day)

    - Try manual posting... see what works in terms of ad keywords / triggers. If your ads are going reliably live, then move on to the next step
    - Hire a freelancer... give them a template of your ads and see what they can come up with. You can find freelancers on sites like upwork/elance
    - If the cost is too high and you want to reduce costs, start hand-spinning yourself. This will be time-consuming but at least it'll get you up and running.
    - Tried automated spinners - realize that this was bad for live ratios
    - Finally transitioned to a posting service, now they handle content for me. I just need to worry about conversion
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  • Profile picture of the author esta tedch
    Read through the majority of the post and my main question is how one generally tries to convert their leads.
    Do most of you guys find monetization is maximized with email relay, phone numbers or something else?
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  • Maximization of conversion is something that is more iterative, than a magic bullet solution.
    You need to be able to understand your target demographic well enough to know which avenues they might pursue.

    For instance, older demographics are more likely to simply pick up the phone whereas, in my experience, the younger demographics are more prone to emailing.
    For my clients, I recommend just allowing all avenues of traffic at first. If someone emails via email relay, you can always convert them to phone number.
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  • Profile picture of the author jpdsa
    Tom, appreciate the advice on trying to outsourcing the content spinning. Things do get tedious very quickly.
    After some more digging, I find that there are tools online where you can just automatically substitute in a great number of synonyms. Then filter them out after.
    This speeds up the spinning process, tremendously.

    Any chance that you could recommend me some good spinners -- or even better -- the posting service that you use?
    You definitely know the CL game extremely well, so the helping hand is always appreciated.
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  • Profile picture of the author libel lusasso
    So glad I found this thread! I'm currently working on gathering new leads for my financial services businesses.
    One main obstacle is that I'd like to qualify my leads more by funneling them through a login system on the website.
    However, after a period of time, my ads are getting flagged. Any advice?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    I have never worked with domain-only ads, but my understanding as I mentioned online is that it does create a distinct campaign footprint to enter your URL in every ad.
    That's an easy one for CL to trace. Therefore, I would recommend against it.

    At this time, most of my campaigns are phone-number or email relay based and I've been doing very well (100-150+ ads/day), posting through some guys I found online.
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  • Profile picture of the author libel lusasso
    So are you saying that posting with multiple domains is ultimately not scalable? This is unfortunate to hear for those of us who have a lot of domains looking for CL traffic.
    How long does it take for a campaign footprint to be discovered and for ads to be flagged?
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  • Profile picture of the author Stfenhuse
    Here's an interesting idea that might be able to help you. I am posting 300+ live ads through a posting service as well, and I find that this tactic works quite well for domain traffic.
    I've posted other material before on this, but mysteriously, it seems to have been deleted.

    Prepare your domain and landing page for CL traffic.
    Once that is ready, you can purchase a regular TLD domain and point it to your hosting.
    If you purchase multiple domains (20-30), you're able to point all of them to your landing page via IP address. The DNS will resolve itself, you just need to set it up.
    Dependign on the size of your campaign, you'll want more or less domains.

    For instance, since I am posting 300+ live ads, I generally use about 50-100 domains. They are quite cheap (only $5-6/yr).
    Here is another tip: for maximal conversion, you'll want to go with a dot com domain, instead of another one. This has been my experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author cd banzkz
    Sorry if this is a silly question, stfenhuse. But where exactly do I purchase the domains and how do I set them up?
    Why would having multiple domains even help me in this situation?
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  • Profile picture of the author Stfenhuse
    In this situation, your main concern is eliminating the campaign footprint that CL uses to flag your ads.
    As you said yourself, we find that after about 1 week of posting, CL starts to catch on to the fact that there are multiple URLs that are common across many posts.
    To this end, you diversify your domains.

    As for purchasing the domains, there are many places online that you can look at. Search "domain registration" etc.
    They are fairly cheap
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  • Profile picture of the author cetab titan
    Currently posting on Craigslist with the advice on this thread, but running into a few issues...

    I want to receive leads via phone. But I am getting high flag rate by entering the same number from my office in the ad.
    I think that Craigslist is tracking my ads across numbers, even though the method written here works.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    Try purchasing a few VoIP numbers and use "call forwarding" to forward all calls to your phone number. Then, you can enter the VoIP numbers on the ad, insteaad of your main number.
    If you are posting nationwide, it's helpful to get numbers with local areas of the area you are posting to. I find that maximizes conversion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ahsan Sarfraz
      I read this Thread and want to do the addition.

      There Are Filters on Craigslist in almost every section you need to understad those filter.

      Image Filter

      Title Filter

      Description Filter

      Zip code Filter

      Phone Verification Filter

      PVA live ratio Filter

      IP filter

      These filter work differntly in different Section.

      Like in Car section Image filter is very strong It read Size, Pixels, Name, Density of Image.

      It Also can read if you put some text on the Image , its actually OCR (optical character recognition) filter .

      Well A lot more then this.
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  • Profile picture of the author cetab titan
    Sorry... what is VoIP and how do I get these numbers to call forward?
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  • Profile picture of the author tomleen
    VoIP is voice over IP. Basically, it uses the internet instead of telecom network infrastructure to route calls. They are usually quite cheap.
    You can purchase multiple numbers for as low as $0.50-1 per number. Or you can get a few from Google Voice for free.

    For my campaigns, I'm using google voice to collect the leads. They have excellent phone and text tracking!
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    What are the pros and cons to using VoIP numbers for craigslist? Do they detect VoIP numbers if you are posting them with your ad?

    They seem to do this with phone verification, so just wondering what other experiences are.
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  • Profile picture of the author siera
    Craigslist does not track VoIP on the ad itself, but they DO track VoIP numbers on the phone verification step.
    The reason for this is that a lot of offices use VoIP to route their calls. So they can't block them on the ad itself.
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  • Profile picture of the author austing hausbb
    How many of you are finding it easy to be able to find affiliates and monetize off Craigslist traffic. It's getting more and more difficult to find it these days.
    Is the market just tightening up or is Craigslist dying?
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  • Profile picture of the author Clarence Chan
    Thank you so much for this guide. Saved me some time.
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  • Profile picture of the author vpn port
    Craigslist traffic is becoming antiquated in my opinion. They have made the filters too difficult for the average poster to get through.
    Just the other day, I was looking to sell one of my cars in my Los Angeles home and it got flagged.

    These kinds of experiences are extremely frustrating for the average users. The filters have become too difficult.
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    • Originally Posted by vpn port View Post

      Craigslist traffic is becoming antiquated in my opinion. They have made the filters too difficult for the average poster to get through.
      Just the other day, I was looking to sell one of my cars in my Los Angeles home and it got flagged.

      These kinds of experiences are extremely frustrating for the average users. The filters have become too difficult.
      It turns out that the For Sale > Cars & Trucks > By Owner section is the most tightly filtered section on the whole site. The reason for that is Craigslist wants to prevent dealers from avoiding the $5 per post under the By Dealer section and trying to fly under the radar. Each section has their own different ad filters and degress of filtering.
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  • Profile picture of the author siera
    I wonder what has changed in the past few years that has made Craigslist a net-negative proposition? Are people still actually making money off this market?
    I'm interested in hearing other opinions... but still remain skeptical..
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  • Profile picture of the author esta tedch
    I have been in the market for apts/housing in Craigslist and it still remains one of the best ways to find housing. I mean, with the advent of Facebook groups and other areas, it seems like it's dying off.
    But it's still bringing good revenue for brokers. If it didn't then Craigslist would just lower the pricing on its sections, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author prettysony
    I read this article, but can anyone reply about ad content and image resizing? HOw they work best?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ahsan Sarfraz
      600 by 450 pixels is the default image size on craigslist but you can vary it. Craigslist automatically resize it to default.

      Craigslist Ask for unique Ad content. Try to spin your Ad Content you can also use Some symbols in the title and body of the ad.

      Resizing your image is also good option you can do it in MS-Paint.

      Writing your content on the image is another way to get your ad live but be aware of OCR (optical character recognition) filter on Craigslist.
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  • Profile picture of the author craigsposterpro
    It can also help to rename your image filename and add borders to the image. Regarding ad content, you should definitely analyze the ideal ad format for the specific section you are posting to. Simply click on a variety of ads in that section. There are ideal ad sizes and ad formats in terms of word count which are prevalent for each section.

    For instance, Services > Skilled Trade ad word size ad stick rate works best between 50 - 75 words. Also, it's not recommended to use images or website links in the Jobs and Gigs sections. You can easily reverse engineer and surmise what works best for the sections you are posting to and make sure your ads conforms to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leandro Rocca
    Good morning, I've tried to post on public craigslist and at 40 minutes I'm removed. Can you help me?
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