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9 Tips to Prevent Craigslist Ghosting

by in Tips on Jun. 7, 2012

Ghosting is the practice that when your ads appear to have posted successfully, Craigslist actually hides these ads from users.  These ads are not searchable nor do they appear on the site. Essentially, Craigslist is tricking you into believing your ads are posted when they are not. These hidden ads, we refer to them as being “ghosted”.

How to Identify If Your Ads are Ghosted

The easiest way is to search for the ad’s Craigslist ID in the apartments board.  If you cannot find the corresponding ad, then it is ghosted.

Find the Craigslist ID in Your Craigslist Account:
Search for the ID in Craigslist:

Potential Factors Causing Ad Ghosting

When posting more than 20 - 30 ads a day, it is normal to have a small percentage of your ads ghosted.  However, if you are experiencing heavy ghosting, it is likely caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Suspicious posting location.
  • Multiple users posting together.
  • Links in your ads.
  • Posting too many ads.
  • Similarities in ad titles and descriptions
  • Posting to multiple boards

Nine Ghosting Prevention Techniques

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that will instantly solve the ghosting problem, because it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.  However, with a little patience not all is lost. We recommend you try the following solutions in the order listed:

1. Are You Posting Locally?

Craigslist requires that you post ads locally.  For example, if you are posting ads in the Boston apartments board, Craigslist expects you to be posting around the Boston area.  Posting from a cellular network using your phone or tablet is not reliable.

You want to make sure you are posting from a local Internet connection. Local DSL / Cable Internet connections are the most reliable choices.

2.  Are You Posting with Others?

The most common cause of ghosting is multiple people posting on one Internet connection.  Craigslist tracks the number of ads and users per Internet connection.  If people post on one connection, they are fighting for the limited Craigslist allowances, and are more likely to be marked as a spammer by Craigslist.  For example, if you are posting from a busy real estate office, chances are your co-workers are posting as well.

You should post from a location where only you are posting ads.  The best choice would be to post from home.  This is where our auto poster works best.  It can post ads automatically from home, while you are away at work.

3.  Rotate the Ads Posted

Posting duplicated content consistently will cause suspicion from Craigslist.  Posting the same ads everyday will make you more likely to get ghosted.  Instead, you should rotate your ads to post on different days.  For example, if you have 200 ads in your “Advertisements Tab”, you can divide them into 5 groups, and post 40 different ads for each day of the week.

4. Change Ad Titles & Descriptions Often

For the same reason as #3, you should also change your ads’ titles and descriptions frequently.  Changing ad titles is especially important.  With new titles and descriptions, your ads will be much less likely to be treated as duplicates and more likely to show up.

5.  Remove Links in Your Ads

Another common cause of ghosting is linking to other websites.  For example, do you have social media links or links to your own website in your ads? Craigslist does not like having links in ads as it takes users away from their website.  Your are more likely to be ghosted if they have links.  Consider removing any links you have in your ads.

6.  Clear the Browser Cookies

When you log into Craigslist, it installs a small tracker (called a cookie) in your web browser.  Craigslist can continuously track you with it.  You should clear your browser cookies once in a while to start fresh.  Click on the link below to see how to clear your browser cookies:

http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser’s-Cookies

7.  Stop Posting For a Couple Days

If you have been posting ads consistently using one Craigslist account and suddenly starting getting ghosted.  Craigslist tracks how many ads are posted by an account, and you likely have exceeded their posting threshold.  You should stop posting for a few days to let Craigslist’s counter reset, then lower the number of ads you are posting each day afterwards.

8.  Change Craigslist Email Handle

Another thing you can try is to change the email associated with your Craigslist account.  We have gotten a number of reports claiming that changing their Craigslist email handle helped.

9.  If All Else Fails, Start Clean Again

If none of the above worked.  Then the last resort is to start completely clean by creating a new Craigslist account and posting from a new IP address.  However, that is not a simple task.  To create a clean Craigslist account, you will need to do the following:

  1. Clear your browser cookies.
  2. Get a new IP adddress. (IP address is like your postal address, but for your internet connection. You can call your Internet service provider to get a new IP address.)
  3. Register a new email address.
  4. Register a new Craigslist account with your new email address.
  5. You likely need a new phone number to confirm your new Craigslist account.

Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of Craigslist ghosting and the possible methods in improving your ads. can help you get more of your ads through.  If you have any questions or need further assistance, you are welcome to email us or chat with us online.

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