Craigslist Ghosting and Flagging | Online Marketing Tips

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Las Vegas S.0075212

Craigslist Ghosting and Flagging  | Online Marketing Tips |

by Lori Ballen / Author of The Ballen Method System to Internet Lead Generation



Craigslist Ghosting, Online Marketing TipsGhosting and Flagging, What are they and how do you stop them?


When I do my trainings 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:


  1. 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.
  2. Avoid ads with high HTML. Honestly, Avoid much "coding" at all if you can. When you design  simple, your odds of ghosting go down.
  3. Avoid too many links and too many images - again Simple.
  4. Avoid posting in multiple cities and categories from the same IP address
  5. Avoid posting the same ad again and again
  6. Avoid using the same templates
  7. Make EACH ad unique and don't use the same "footprint" - Don't leave a traceable trail
  8. Delete your cookies
  9. 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


  About The Author  

 Lori Ballen, Author and Presenter on Marketing and Internet Marketing Lori Ballen is a Mega Agent with an award winning real estate team in Las Vegas called The Ballen Group at Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas.  Lori and her husband Richard Ballen have owned multiple successful businesses based on her marketing strategy which is now called “The Ballen Method"  Lori and Richard now travel and train other business professionals on her methods which include  Identifying a Niche, Finding a Target Audience, Creating a Message and a Product and then using Blogging, Press Releases, Social Media, Classified Ads, Video and Fresh, Relevant web site content with Disciplined Consistency in order to dominate the search engines for desired searched keyword strings.

Lori Ballen has become known for her “Keeping it Real” style and approach to Social Media. What you see is what you get with Lori. Passion, Enthusiasm and Energy are what she’s about.


Use promo10 to save 10% on the purchase of The Ballen Method Internet Lead Generation and Online Marketing System now.



Hello, Lori


Posted by

Lori Ballen

Digital Marketing Strategist
Ballen Brands - Helping Business Professionals Rise Above the Noise.

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Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage 05/05/2013 12:16 PM
  2. Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%! 05/05/2013 12:27 PM
  3. Gabe Sanders 05/05/2013 10:55 PM
  4. Debbie Reynolds 05/05/2013 11:01 PM
  5. Cheryl Ritchie 05/06/2013 12:25 PM
  6. Roy Kelley 05/07/2013 03:18 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Posts to Localism
craigslist real estate
online marketing
how to use craigslist for real estate
craigslist flagging
craigslist ghosting

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Jenny McCarty
JTR Property Network at Keller Williams Realty Red River - Barksdale AFB, LA
"Jenny The Realtor"

Thanks for the great tips!  I missed your seminar in Shreveport, and wish I hadn't.  Again thank you for the great information!

May 05, 2013 07:17 AM #6
Lori Ballen
Keller Williams Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV
Digital Marketing Strategist

Great to see You Too Bruce

Sorry I missed you Jenny. I'm coming to Memphis in May... Road Trip?

Love the Market Leader Trainings Debbie

True Fernando - Keeping up is the name of the game

Great Work Kathy

May 05, 2013 07:25 AM #7
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
New Home Team

Lori- Great suggestions and i will start to follow your ideas..

May 05, 2013 07:53 AM #8
Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate
RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales - Anacortes, WA
Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties

Lori, great suggestion especially about checking your ads on another computer so you know if you are being ghosted. Thanks a bunch

May 05, 2013 08:02 AM #9
Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Great information!  I've been hesitant to use Craigslist since there's so many problems with it, like criminal activity!  I may give it a shot.

May 05, 2013 08:27 AM #10
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Lori - These can be real problems when working on Craigslist. It makes it much more difficult to use.
May 05, 2013 09:21 AM #11
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lori, not a huge CL fan, and post there rarely - but yes, this is something one must do to avoid ghosting and flagging.(I guess, even I fly well above the radar as I don't post as much!)

May 05, 2013 09:57 AM #12
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Watermarking photos in listing html is the KEY....having multiple html options - postlets, zillow, vflyer is the best option for aggressive posting

May 05, 2013 11:06 AM #13
Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty in Lake Nona - Orlando, FL
Keller Williams Land Division Specialist

Since using the Ballen Method for the last month, our ghosting has dropped dramatically.  We are using less postings to achieve higher results. 

She really does know her stuff. 

May 05, 2013 11:57 AM #14
Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years
Thanks foe the reminder. I agree lots of helpful info on this one.
May 05, 2013 12:24 PM #15
Kimberly Tapscott
Keller Williams Prestige Properties - Stamford, CT
Giving you the service you deserve!

Thanks Lori - I've always wondered the diferrence between ghosting and flagging.  This is a must read for those using craigslist...thank you for sharing.

May 05, 2013 12:53 PM #16
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

Excellent tips.  I've read stories of people over posting and being banned so they couldn't post anything, let alone a lead generating ad.

May 05, 2013 01:57 PM #17
Sarah Becker
SJB Real Estate & Management - Browns Valley, CA
Northern CA REO & HUD Home Sales
Great pointers to consider. Thank you for sharing.
May 05, 2013 02:29 PM #18
Nakia Brooks
GaRealtyGroup | 2ShortSaleGuys - Braselton, GA
Selling GA, One yard at a time!

Great tip Lori,


Always love reading and learning from you.  Always such great information.  Certainly makes our life easier as students when the information is clear and to the point!



May 05, 2013 06:52 PM #19
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I've never been a fan of using Craigslist myself.  Too much of this kind of thing is a turn off to me.  

For those that do use CL, I'm sure this will help them.  

May 05, 2013 09:46 PM #20
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

Great tips and that seems like a lot of work for Craigslist ads! 

May 05, 2013 10:16 PM #21
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Lori -

Thanks for all the great tips.
I get SOOOOO ANGRY when agents over-post. 
Eventually it will ruin the free access we all enjoy for listings.

Have a happy day -

May 06, 2013 12:45 PM #22
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Lori, thank you so much for sharing some tips on Craigslist posts, this would help many I'm sure.

May 07, 2013 03:23 AM #23
Charles Stallions Property Manager
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

You did a great job of explaining and getting the word out there. We have not been able to stop this but will try your suggestions

May 07, 2013 02:18 PM #24
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

Great pointers. Definitely remember the days when there were only a few listings a day posted on craigslist, now it seems like thousands a minute.

May 11, 2013 09:19 PM #25
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Lori Ballen

Digital Marketing Strategist
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