Flagging and Ghosting

What is Flagging?

Being "Flagged" or "Ghosted/Deleted" on Craigslist means that your ad has been removed. It could have been removed by the Craigslist robot for posting too often or too many ads, or it could have been removed because too many people clicked "prohibited" button at the top of your ad.  Sadly, you'll never know which, but there are some things that you can do to avoid it.


Common Flagging Reasons

  • Posting identical content within 48-hours.
  • Posting content in multiple cities (even if the content is different).
  • Posting any two ads within the same hour. (time period varies by city)
  • Reusing the same title for multiple ads.
  • Posting too many ads in a single day. (limit varies by city)
  • Posting from a foreign country, state, or city. (e.g. using foreign employees or posting while you are on vacation.)
  • Using words that seem scammy, like free, credit card, weight loss, dating, etc.
  • Using photos that don't relate to your ad.
  • Missing photos.
  • Writing an ad that is "too commercial". Craigslist  doesn't  tell us how they define it, but our experience says:
    • Use the Craigslist email relay
    • Avoid logos in your images
    • Start your ad with some facts before you write poetically or romantically about your property.

User Flagging

Users report that they manually flag ads for some of the following reasons. Although we may not agree with their motivation, this is what people tell us:

  • Disgruntled tenant or former employee or competitor
  • Overusing words like "free" or "deal" that might be seen as too good to be true.
  • Missing phone number or missing email address
  • Too many large paragraphs in your ad; Not enough factual data or the critical information about your property is hard to find.
  • Looks like a template
  • Looks like a big company (even if you are a big company)
  • Any use of HTML, like bold or underline (even though it is allowed)
  • Too many ads that look very similar (in a brief period of time)
  • Forcing people to phone you instead of providing an email address
  • Generic ads that are not specific to one particular listing (building ads vs. unit ads)

Malicious Flagging

Other people using CL can manually flag your ads as "prohibited" for any reason.  This is usually done to remove scams from CL, but some people also do it maliciously to remove the competition.  Former tenants, employees, and competitors are sometimes suspected of this, but it's difficult to prove.

Respond to Malicious Flagging:

  • Make your ads hard to find...
  • Remove your property name from ads.
  • Remove your address (except on the map)
  • Change your phone number - e.g. 555 555 1234 instead of (555) 555-1234
  • Remove text that is unique to your property (e.g. "Enjoy our famous elephant-shaped swimming pool")

Unfortunately, CL will not tell you why your ad was flagged.

What do I do?

  • Stop posting for at least two days. (more is better if you can)
  • Post fewer ads each day.
  • Leave more time between posting each ad.
  • Ensure that you are following all of the other advice above.

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