This Craigslist posting is being blocked!

by Charity on November 30, 2009

Bitly blocked on craigslist

Another rule for using Craigslist:

Craigslist has decided to block posts that include the URL shortened links from Bit.ly. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before Craigslist caught on. When Craigslist makes a change, they don’t explain why. Did they want to prevent tracking/reporting? Were there issues with image visibility? Or is it something else? I have never experienced an image visibility issue, so I’m inclined to believe that Craigslist is trying to prevent tracking.

There is no clear statement within the craigslist terms of use which indicates that tracking ad views is not allowed. In fact, not much within the terms of service is clear. This is my favorite line within the Craigslist terms of use regarding 3rd party posting agents: “…except with express permission or license from craigslist.”

I once requested verification on this specific term and my response from Craig was “I cannot parse your email.” Which basically means “I don’t understand your email explaining that you don’t understand our terms of use.”

Why track views/impressions on Craigslist?

When you run an ad in a local paper you can request the circulation numbers to determine if your ad will be cost-effective or how many impressions you should expect to receive. By understanding how many views/impressions are counted per Craigslist ad, it is possible to improve future ad posting titles, content, and formatting. After Craigslist forced vFlyer to stop tracking and reporting, many of us were doing our own with the use of URL shorteners. With the removal of Bit.ly it may not be long before other URL shorteners are blocked. Tracking will still be possible, but no longer as simple.

My 2 cents:

Craigslist doesn’t really care about the people advertising on the site. Those of us that post are all slaves to the system and to the hyper-sensitive Craigslist forum pack. If you’ve not seen the forum on Apartments, you should scan through it. Although many properties receive more traffic from Craigslist than any other source, it is my hope that eventually people will move on to another site to seek their new homes. Until then, I will strive to continue the improvement of ads posted.

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  • http://www.theapartmentnerd.com Mark Juleen

    This is why Craigslist will #fail. It’s just a matter of time before people will move on to something better. Google or Facebook will do something to move everyone away and it could happen any day.

    • http://2witterbug.com Charity

      Mark,
      I really hope you’re right. Thank you so much for commenting!

    • http://angrytechblog.com Djangelic

      I would love it if google or facebook created a competitor. I doubt it would have the marketshare that craigslist currently enjoys, but I think eventually it would catch up. Here’s hoping!

      • http://www.2witterbug.com Charity

        Thank you for both linking to this post and for commenting! I believe that Oodle (the Facebook Marketplace) is currently the most viable competitor to craigslist, although I have high hopes for another product still in development. We’ll see how that pans out.

        Craigslist is antiquated and controlled by flag-happy craigslist cults and post-crazed spammers. Unfortunately, in the industry I am in, craigslist provides one of the best returns on investment. So, we wait…

        Glad to have you sharing here, I hope you’ll come back!

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  • Kristi Dingess

    Nothing like commenting on an old thread, but Craigslist is a battle I fight daily and I am always looking for insight onto how to better utilize it.

    I’ve noticed that recently HTML heavy ads are almost always ghosted.  Vflyer, postlets and use ads just seem like a waste of time at this point because of the seemingly high risk that it will “ghost”.   I have taken a bit of a different approach by using plain text ads with web hyperlinks or an image based ad that links back to our website.  (It’s three lines of code at the most)

    Using the web links to our site gives me a good chance to get an idea of interest, clicks and key traffic days from our own web analytics.  

    I do also occasionally use the RentLinx Craigslist posting tool because Rentlinx will show you the number of views an ad has gotten.  Best of all, RentLinx is free and allows you to use the actual property phone number, as opposed to a toll free number.  However, I go easy with it because I only like one of the three templates offered and it does tend to be heavy on the HTML side.

    Just my two cents :)

    • http://www.sociallyengagedmarketing.com CharityHisle

      This post was written in 2009! I can’t believe you found it Kristi! LOL 

      I believe that people over-use craigslist and it has caused craigslist to crack-down on the tools that people use in order to prevent over-posting. I’ve been saying for years that you only need to post once a week. These communities that post multiple times a day are contributing to the problem.

      I love vFlyer, BakeExtraCookies, and RentSentinel! I don’t know how much longer craigslist will even be a consideration for marketing. I’m still hoping it goes away! ;)

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