Ghosting and Flagging, What are they and how do you stop them?
When I do my training on internet lead generation and Online Marketing, Craigslist is always one of my hottest topics. And of course no matter what the conversation, it always leads back to a heated discussion on ghosting and flagging. Posters are both annoyed and frustrated by these activities and want to know how to stop these nasty beasts: Ghosting and Flagging on Craigslist.
Flagging is a link that can be clicked by anyone who sees your ad that will report your ad as miscategorized, prohibited or Spam. Then, with no ability to defend yourself, Craigslist deletes your ad. In most cases, I have found that this is generally being done by the competitor. There are actually companies out there that you can pay daily to FLAG your competitors ads for you. And if you are anything like me, and fly way ABOVE the radar, you are probably being flagged by people who want to get you out of the way. As of today, May 2013,The best ways to prevent flagging are to change your craigslist footprint. The things that make you stand out to these competitors that make you easy to find. Things like repeated signature line in the ad, obvious symbols and all caps titles, and any other thing you repeat on your ads. Confuse the competitor, Make your ads very unique and different, Force them to connect the dots. Now, if you are posting in the wrong categories and have in appropriate ads, well, that will get you flagged by everyone legitimately so.
Let’s talk about Ghosting.
Most aggressive Craigslist posters are being haunted by this. And it is scary.
Ghosting is when you post an ad on Craigslist and you believe it has been submitted based on Craigslist response to you. You receive a “Thanks for posting with us, we really appreciate it!” message that is followed by a link to see your ad, and one to manage your ad. You click the link and SEE the ad and assume all is fine. But if you were to go to another computer, and pull up your ad like a consumer would, you see it’s not actually there. It’s invisible to the public eye, like a ghost.
Why does it Happen? There are many reasons why it happens but the number one reason is over posting. It’s a tough battle. If you live in a city like I do, Las Vegas , your page one is probably gone in a matter of minutes. In some areas page 1 stays up for days, even weeks. If your page one on Craigslist is moving that fast, you have no choice but to post, post, post. And that will bring in the ghost!
I don’t like to teach “cheats. I get calls, Facebook messages, emails, tweets, every day asking me how to “beat” Craigslist or how to “cheat” the system to get past ghosting and flagging. The truth is, if you have to post aggressively to compete, you won’t “beat” the system. But…. what I do teach is best practices and some ways to avoid this haunting practice that Craigslist has put into play.
Here are 9 Tips to better your chances of avoiding ghosting:
- Don’t Overpost – Again, in my community that’s awful advice. So we have now created a network of posters who use unique accounts and unique IP addresses and unique ads to post.
- Avoid ads with high HTML . Honestly, Avoid much “coding” at all if you can. When you design simple, your odds of ghosting go down.
- Avoid too many links and too many images – again Simple.
- Avoid posting in multiple cities and categories from the same IP address
- Avoid posting the same ad again and again
- Avoid using the same templates
- Make EACH ad unique and don’t use the same “footprint” – Don’t leave a traceable trail
- Delete your cookies
- Take a Deep Breath and understand that you are not playing YOUR game. You are playing THEIR game and Craigslist sets the rules… Like it or not