Sunday, January 26, 2014

How To Restore Your Craigslist Account From Being Blocked

First, it’s important to understand some terms and basic principles of Craigslist so that you are able to identify causes of the challenges you may face.

Craigslist is a community driven, free/inexpensive local classified ad website with approximately 30 employees. It is also in the top 10 most visited websites in the world. With this amount of traffic, it becomes a huge profit potential for local small businesses. It also becomes an attractive venue for wrongdoers or “spammers.” In order for Craigslist to maintain its appeal to consumers and advertisers, it has to have systems in place to prevent spammers from abusing their service.

A spammer is classified as a person who consistently posts numerous advertisements in rapid succession in multiple categories and/or geographies. The intent behind this is to give the spammer as much advertising exposure as possible with disregard towards those who may be viewing the website.

Even as a legitimate business with good intentions, it is possible that you may simulate similar behavior to these spammers by the actions you take when posting advertisements on Craigslist. The terms of use on Craigslist offer some insight into how to make the best use of their website.

Craigslist is a community driven website; meaning that the people who visit the site are moderators. In other words, if they come across advertisements that they feel are not appropriate, miscategorized, or posted too often, they can vote to have your ad removed. If enough people feel the same and vote to have your ad removed, Craigslist’s automated systems will remove your ad from public viewing. This process is known as “flagging.” If this happens often enough, Craigslist deems your activity as devaluing the experience of its users and may prevent you from placing any future advertisements.

The second measure Craigslist has in place to prevent spammers from abusing their website is automated detection software. It monitors the activity of users of the website, specifically advertisers. For instance, when you visit Craigslist, the internet connection you use, or your ip address, is logged. Also, your email address you log in with, your Craigslist account, and the ads you post are all stored in a system that details your user profile.

This information is compiled to identify you and monitor your behavior on the website. If any of the activity you do on the website is a violation of its terms of use or reflects patterns of a spammer, Craigslist may block your ads from showing up. Your account may show that your ads are active, but they will not be showing publicly on the website. This is a practice commonly referred to as “ghosting.”

When ghosting occurs, the worse thing to do is to keep trying to post more ads. They will likely get caught in Craigslist spam filters and continue to be blocked, eventually leading to the disabling of your Craigslist account and ability to post to Craigslist altogether.

The best way to prevent ghosting and flagging from happening to you is to follow some basic guidelines along with Craigslist terms of use. Let’s take a look at some guidelines to help make the most of your Craigslist marketing efforts.

Create a posting schedule that you follow regularly. Every market is different, so it is important to look at how many ads are posted daily in your area for the section you choose to advertise under. If there hundreds, or even thousands of ads posted under your section, then you can post more frequently than in a city where the number of postings are much less. Craigslist terms of use state that a user may post the same or substantially similar content no more than once every 48 hours.

  1. Be consistent. Always use the same email address, Craigslist account, verified telephone number, computer, web browser, and internet connection when posting ads. A user may maintain and use no more than one account, including a telephone or phone-verified account (“PVA”), to post content.
  2. Never have more than one ad running per category at a time. Also be sure that if you are running ads under multiple categories, make sure they are different.
  3. Never try posting ads in cities outside of your primary market area. Craigslist is a local service and they are clear on this one. Here is what is stated in their terms of use. Content that is equally relevant to multiple (i.e., more than one) geographic areas should not be posted on craigslist.
  4. Avoid using all capital letters and over punctuation in your posting titles. All capital letters is the offline equivalent to shouting. This can be perceived as desperate or annoying and be a red flag to the Craigslist community.

By following the above suggestions, you are likely to enjoy success in marketing on Craigslist. Violate the terms of use and abuse your posting privileges, and you may lose out on a huge opportunity to gain exposure to your offers. For further insight into Craigslist ghosting issues, visit the Craigslist forums. Here is a specific discussion about Craigslist ghosting.

Assuming you are reading this as a result of experiencing troubles with having your ads ghosted or flagged, we’ll discuss the steps to restore your Craigslist posting privileges. Please note, there are no guarantees of account restoration and no specific formula to follow. The following suggestions are based on past experiences that have resulted in favorable resolutions.

  1. Remove/delete all ads from your Craigslist account that are not showing publicly
  2. Clear your web browsers cache and cookies.
  3. Create a new Gmail email account
  4. Contact your internet service provider and request that they reissue a new ip address
  5. Create a new Craigslist account
  6. Try posting a simple text ad and wait up to 30 minutes to see if it posts
  7. If step 6 is successful, you should be good to go. Now follow the guidelines mentioned earlier in this article to prevent future issues.
  8. If step 6 is unsuccessful, repeat the process and wait at least 2 weeks before attempting to create your new Craigslist account and posting your first ad.

If you follow these steps you should be able to use Craigslist again. In extreme circumstances, you may need further consultation and may have to resort to other measures. You may also try sending an email to and explain what you have been doing. You may plead your case by expressing that you understand why you have been banned and plead your case. Then promise not to do it again.

If you have experienced issues with having your Craigslist account blocked or Craigslist ghosting, share your stories in the comments section below and we’ll see if we can help each other.

Written by: Robbie Reynolds

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