Is Craigslist just for scammers and spammers in 2021?

Craigslist 2021, Is Craigslist just for scammers and spammers in 2021?

As a rental property marketer; I have worked with Craigslist for a long, long time, more than 8 years at this point; and from a marketers perspective, 2021 marks a new low point in working with Craigslist.

In recent months, I have seen my legitimate listings for apartments and houses being deleted en masse; for example, I logged in this morning to find that 70% of my listings had been deleted. At least in the past; Craigslist ghosted my posts; i.e. showing it as live to me, but not showing it to anyone else, now they just delete my post, sometimes within minutes of me clicking post, making me feel like I’m wasting my time.

Over the past two years, I have noticed a lot more spam, people posting the same advert a dozen or more times, which does breach the Craigslist TOS, yet, those posts don’t seem to get deleted. I have also had issues with scammers taking my copy, my photos, and changing a few details like Email addresses and phone numbers, and reposting my property to Craigslist, usually at a much reduced rental rate. I have flagged and had my colleagues flag these fraudulent listings, and Craigslist seemingly ignores the flags.

To be clear, I try to follow the terms of service; I post one advert per rental unit in the correct Craigslist area. Sometimes I post in two Craigslist areas for cities like McPherson, which is halfway between Wichita and Salina, so I post to both Wichita and Salina Craigslist areas, other than that, I follow the Craigslist TOS. I’m not interested in spamming dozens of adverts for a single unit or cheating the system.

I do use a template system, which I developed myself, using a bullet point type of listing, with sections for contact, apartment features, community features, pricing, and finally company information, which creates very similar looking posts, but each is unique information wise. All the deleted posts were using this template, so I am guessing this is the reason why the Craigslist AI went on a cull of my postings.

At this point, I’m questioning whether Craigslist is worth the time and effort? Craigslist does not seem to be the big lead generator these days. Zillow, Hotpads, Zumper, Costar ( seems to be the big lead generators in recent years; and I have to put in much less work on those platforms. Time is money; which means Craigslist offers poor ROI in terms of time, spending 1/4 of my day messing with it.

Fortunately, I live and market in an area where fraudulent listings are not a massive problem, like bigger cities. I find one of my listings fraudulently listed maybe 4 – 5 times a year. However, I am very frustrated with the current state of Craigslist, after spending the past 10 hours recreating my listings on Craigslist after seeing 70% of my adverts highlighted in pink, i.e. deleted when I logged in this morning.

/end rant

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