Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Craigslist Ghosting

October 19, 2010 - BREAKING NEWS - Right in time for Halloween, there has been a recent flurry of activity on the Craigslist forums concerning ads being "ghosted" by Craigslist.  We suspect Craigslist recently modified their system to cause this and we want to share what we've learned and what we are doing with Ad Maker Tool to help with this issue.

First, for those who don't know, "Ghosting" is when you post an ad on Craigslist, it shows as successful in your account and you get a confirmation email, but it never displays on Craigslist. A ghosted ad will also display in your Ad Maker Tool account with 1 AdView, and 0 ClickThrus after a substantial amount of time has elapsed.

In general, the Craigslist community thinks that the basis behind ads getting “ghosted” include some of these reasons**:

  • Posting an ad more often than every 48 hours
  • Not deleting your old ad before posting a new ad
  • Posting the same ad in more than one city/area or category
  • Including characters other than letters and numbers in your Title / Location fields.
  • Including HTML /pictures / links

** Note: These reasons are just opinions from the users of Craigslist trying to help out each other. These reasons are not 'official' word from Craigslist.

With this recent crackdown by Craigslist, we highly recommend you use the above guidelines to help prevent your ads from being ghosted.

Here is one of many posts concerning this issue - and subsequent recommendations:

Below is the general Craigslist Help Forum - this is dynamic, but as of today (October 19, 2010) - many of the threads are referring to "Ads not showing up" aka "Ghosting"

Craigslist Help Forum - see all the threads about "Ads not Showing up"

Some of our users, including Yates, are having this "ghosting" issue so we’ve made some adjustments to the system to help.

We started by reviewing all the HTML code that we are using in the ads by referencing the “Acceptable” code per Craigslist.  Although we aren't using anything that violated Craigslist list of acceptable HTML code, we did change some of it to conform exactly to what they specify.

We also backed out our recent enhancement for Keyword Tags - since the forums also reference Keyword lists (comma separated lists) are also being targeted by Craigslist filters.

In addition, Yates discovered that when an account is “ghosting” ads, you should be able to use a plain text ad with a hyperlink (no tracking) and it will go through about 75-80% of the time.  Not ideal, we know, but it’s better than not being able to post at all.
We are only a few days into this, but we are expecting that after you post the “plain style” ads for a couple weeks, you may be able to go back to the full HTML version of the ad with tracking.  

In order to support this, we’ve made an adjustment to our system where we can set a “flag” on your AMT account so it creates “plain style” ads.  If you are having this ghosting issue give us a call or send us an email and we’ll set that flag on your account. Remember, if we do this - it will temporarily disable the statistics that we have all grown to know and love.

So here’s the Good News…The Silver Lining

As evidenced in the Craigslist Forum, this “ghosting” issue is affecting MANY of the Craigslist users and many probably don't even know their ads aren't even posting.

As a result, there will be less ads posted in your area which means less competition for those who are able to work around the issue and persevere.

Just remember, “We Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts!”  - stick through this little speedbump with us, and we'll all arrive better off on the other side!

Also, Backpage is not experiencing any of these Ghosting issues - you may want to post a few ads over there - to do that, just select "Backpage" before you post (see below) - you will also need to have an account on

If you have any questions, comments or insights on this “ghosting” issue, please give us a call or send us an email.

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