Craigslist ads being blocked?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Go Smart Solutions, LLC

**NOTE** Craigslist states to use "html sparingly". The Craigslist community is known to frown upon posts that have too much HTML or look too commercial. Click Here to read about it at the Craigslist help desk. If your Craigslist posts look too commercial or have too much HTML they will have a higher chance of being flagged or blocked by the Craigslist community.

Are your Craigslist ads being blocked or ghosted without you even knowing it?  Craigslist has recently added new filters into their system that will ghost (hide) ads from the Craigslist search results that have too much html.  The scary thing is you may never even know this is happening because you are not informed of it.  You will get a Craigslist confirmation like normal but your ads will not appear anywhere in the search.  It isn't consistent either but more and more people are complaining that they are getting blocked from Craigslist due to this (see here).

So you should ask yourself - is it more important that you post full color html ads to Craigslist that may get ghosted or even worse get you blocked? Or would it be better to post a more Craigslist compliant ad with little HTML and have your ad actually show up in searches and lessen your chances of being blocked?



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Mario Villagran
U.S. Spaces - Burbank, CA
MBA, Realtor
That's good to know because I've been using services like vflyer to post flyers on craigslist.  I'll have to try the single line items and compare my results.
Nov 30, 2007 04:26 AM #3
Misty Lackie
Go Smart Solutions, LLC - San Luis Obispo, CA
Real Estate Advertising
Hi Mario - we suggest for Craigslist at least to use a less HTML version. Our service provides a Craigslist compliant (little html) version.
Nov 30, 2007 04:31 AM #4
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

I use v-flyer for my craigslist ads (yeah, I know that drives some agents nuts for some reason) - they have a modified "craigslist approved" version that they've modified once, at craigslist request I believe, since I started using it   - and I get more response to those ads than to the ones using the standard four photos and text.  

Since I regularly search for properties that are similar to my listings, I can see whether or not mine come up in the searches, and thusfar (up to 5 seconds ago, I just checked), they do, even with the HTML.  I've also used Real Estate Shows flyers on craigslist with no problem. They're showing up, too.  I'm pretty sure both companies checked with craiglist, know for a fact one of them did; perhaps that's the problem with some HTML, that the writers are using non-craiglist-approved HTML? 


Nov 30, 2007 04:35 AM #5
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
I had no idea we will look at the way we use HTML and adjust to be compliant. Thanks for the heads up.
Nov 30, 2007 04:40 AM #6
Gary Bland R (S) E-Pro, ABR
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers - Wailea, HI
I thought they would like the ads in HTML so that people will review the post more often.  I will have to review my post in the future.
Nov 30, 2007 04:45 AM #7
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I use vFlyers, too, for my Craigslist ads, and they've never been pulled because I receive calls from them. In fact, I sold a listing this summer from a Craigslist buyer. I find the quality of calls I receive from Craigslist are not always the quality I want to receive, but you never know where a buyer may come from, so I keep advertising there.

However, I have heard from other agents that their ads have been pulled. I'm not certain why but I suspect it might have something to do with their selection of advertising words. Perhaps it was too much html. I don't know. But vFlyers definitely use a lot of html code. 

Nov 30, 2007 04:59 AM #8
Misty Lackie
Go Smart Solutions, LLC - San Luis Obispo, CA
Real Estate Advertising

Hello Tricia and Elizabeth - read Craigslist help desk and

Straight from Craigslist help desk.  Don't know if it drives the Agents nuts as much as it drives the Craigslist commuity (staff) nuts.

Nov 30, 2007 05:12 AM #9
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Okay, here's one explanation I can think of.  There is precious little flagging going on in our area, unlike California, where people apparently flag right and left with wild abandon - sort of a sport, it would appear.  ;-) 

The three links you provided that I clicked on were not the official helpdesk, by the way, but the helpdesk sf/bay area discussion forums, where the users of craigslist can try to help each other out - something else entirely.  (Note reference above to Californians flagging with abandon.)  I got that from this when I followed the link back: " The help desk is for users to help each other with problems related to using craigslist."  So it's not the staff, and it has the same validity as our experiences as users does.  

I'd say, know your market, know what kind of response you get from the two different kinds of postings (vflyer/postlet/Real Estate Shows/Real Estate Flyers/plain vanilla/etc.)  and make your judgment based on that rather than what some folks halfway across the country think.  

I'll see if I can find a similar discussion on the Austin area discussion area helpdesk, however - thanks for the heads up, this could be useful information.  


Nov 30, 2007 05:21 AM #10
Misty Lackie
Go Smart Solutions, LLC - San Luis Obispo, CA
Real Estate Advertising
Thanks Tricia - you make an outstanding point.  Yes, it does seem that the Craigslist community in CA are flag happy.
Nov 30, 2007 05:44 AM #11
Wendy Bibeau
Keller Williams Realty DTC - Aurora, CO
The Bibeau Group - Realtor - Denver Colorado Real
Thanks for this post and discussion!  We've been using Postlets for CL, and haven't had any leads at all.  However, I know the ads are not being removed.  Maybe we'll try something simpler next time to see if there's any difference.
Nov 30, 2007 05:51 AM #12
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Good information to know. I use V-flyers as well........and so far so good. I'll be watching more carefully. Thanks for the tip.

Nov 30, 2007 03:15 PM #13
Tucson Real Estate Experts Anne McKechnie
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Tucson, AZ
Previews Property Specialist
Thanks for the tip. I will check mine to see if they are all posted :)Anne
Nov 30, 2007 03:27 PM #14
Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA


Is this something fairly new?  Are they just now cracking down?  I get a free html code from, it is in the beta stage so I assume they are working to improve it.  I haven't a problem, but I've only been using them for a short time.  I'll have to watch the three I posted yesterday very carefully.  Thanks for the info!

Nov 30, 2007 11:48 PM #15
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA
Thank You for the info. I just started posting on Craigs list and I just try to blend in and get some calls. Thank sharon
Dec 01, 2007 12:51 AM #16
Jay Fink
EnterTo - San Rafael, CA

Just discovered this great site, lots of very interesting information.

I'm the sales manager for a classifieds website that gets great traffic, and we would love for all you hard working real estate professionals to put ads on our site. We don't have a flagging or ghosting system in place. We just appreciate that our users don't Spam, because that's not tolerated.

If interested please email me at

I'll send you some information.

Thanks a lot! 

Jan 20, 2008 05:52 AM #17
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker
Less is more...the buy, sell, swap guides are simple, but mass readership.  You are average average guy kitten,check,craigslist,advertising,html,ad design,layoutand if too much glitz and shine, you lost the meat and potato readers.  Use box of 8 crayons...keep the 128 box for special occasions!
Feb 16, 2008 01:25 AM #18
Max Douge
Exit Realty Enterprises - Frederick, MD
Misty... This is very useful information.  I invite you to join in the group, Marketing Using Craigslist, and share this blog there also.  Thanks.
Mar 04, 2008 02:25 AM #19
Keith & Shannon French - Catonsville, MD
Baltimore's Best for Rent To Own Homes

Wow! Was surprised to see how old this post was!  Just started having this problem and are working on the correction now.  Thanks for posting!

May 12, 2010 04:14 AM #21
Lisa Coates
Precision Realty - Halifax, NS
Residential Home Sales Specialist

Since this post was written in 2007. Has anyone figured out a way to become UnGhosted? If so, please share the love.

Oct 21, 2010 03:06 PM #22
Erna Neal
The Viking Team, Realty - Winter Park, FL
A Knowledgable Central Florida Realtor
Wow, I just recently found out about ghosting, I thought it was a new thing. Great post, thank you!
Sep 20, 2011 03:58 AM #23
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