As of November 2013 there have been some dramatic changes implemented in the FOR SALE section of Craigslist. These changes affect the For Sale section of Craigslist across the country, but I will focus this article on Real Estate since they seem to be affected greatly and they work as a very good example for everyone else. You can gain insight of how to help yourself if you sell anything on Craigslist by reading this article.
As November 2013 rolls around most people are thinking of the upcoming holidays, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. Unfortunately as the old tale goes, there is a Grinch waiting to ruin your holidays a little early this year. That Grinch is in the guise of Craigslist.
If you have been posting For Sale / Real Estate ads on Craigslist for some time you have realized that is can be a very useful tool for selling or renting property. One big problem has been how boring Craigslist ads can be if you use their template or posting structure, so how do you make your ad stand out. For the longest time people have been using big images, external links, external templates and the like. In other words HMTL code which when embedded in the Craigslist advert would change your ad from boring to exciting. This was a great workaround for the longest time and it allowed people to do several things. First it allowed you to have really fancy and professional looking ads. Many companies sprung up to help Real Estate Agents (for a fee of course) create beautiful ads that showcased their properties and allowed them to make their listings really stand out. This gave the people willing to pay for these services an advantage. It also allowed them to track how many times their ads were viewed or followed, and it allowed them to redirect traffic to a different site whether that be their own listing or another external site which could focus on whatever they wanted to focus on.
“So what seems to the the problem you ask? What are these huge November 2013 Changes Craigslist has made.”. Well, Craigslist decided to put a STOP to these fancy ads and there are several reasons for it. Depending on your frame of mind, you can argue this two different ways. 1- Craigslist is run by a bunch of party poopers that can’t stand to see anyone create something beautiful and fancy. Craigslist wants to stifle users in all ways from being creative with their (Craigslist’s) limited posting format. or 2- Craigslist made these changes for several legitimate reasons a- To reduce the amount of spammers and scammers on their site, b- To reduce hidden links. HREF code allowed people to hide links instead of showing where they were actually going. For example a link could say “Beautiful House For Sale” and Actually direct you to a “Buy Pot online” site. This is an extreme example, but you get my point. You can still put links in your ad, but they have to show what they are for since they are no longer live (or clickable). For example a link can no longer say “Beat Craigslist Ghosting”, now it would look like “www.beatcraigslist.com”. By doing this they put a stop to a couple of things. First you cannot track how many times your link is clicked. Secondly people will know exactly where they are going to and cannot be deceived. For a smart ad writer this is no big deal. You put your link (albeit not a live link) in to your ad and simply instruct the reader to copy and paste the ad into their browser. It’s a bit old-fashioned and rustic, but hey, it’s not the end of the world. That will come when they ban links all together. 😉
The other effect of eliminating HTML from your ads is that you can no longer use templates and formats to make your ads look special. c- So EVERY single ad now looks the same. All this means is that people will have to find other ways to be creative and make their ads stand out. Outside images are also banned. So if you want an image in your page it will have to be uploaded to Craigslist and they will determine the quality and size of the image, not your template. OK, so this is a small inconvenience, but I’m sure you can come up with some creative ways to make your pictures better than the next guy. In reality you could take this as a bad thing and say that Craigslist sucks and is ruining my creativity, but in reality they are simple creating another opportunity for you to be more creative.
d- Another reason for doing these changes is that while many people are still focused on dealing with the internet on a PC based system, much of the world is looking at changing to a MOBILE based system. A lot of the HTML, Formats, Templates, Links, and so forth were really very bad to present or showcase on a mobile screen. What Craigslist has done is make a forward-looking change. They realize that these pages are too big and clumsy to load on to Cellular Phones or Tables, so they decided to make the ads more streamline. Yes, this may be bad for you listing your ads, but it’s good for Craigslist as they are looking at maintaining their viability and (let’s face it) not yours.
Right now these changes affect only the For Sale sections across the country, but in the future they could be implemented in other sections as well. So keep in mind for your future planning.
“So what does this mean to you?”. Well, it means that you have some head scratching to do. Put on the old thinking cap, or call upon your favorite MUSE and come up with some creative ideas and ways to deal with these changes. Make your ads less code dependent. Use more flowery attractive wording in your ads. Hey, before TV there were books remember? People actually had to write good content. Make your ads stand out in different ways. Get yourself a good domain. Instead of http://www.jackrealestate%linux729%_etuny/beaseborad/23453.com get an easy to write and simple domain like http://www.jacktherealtor.com. If your ad on Craigslist is boring and limited then simply send your readers to a really fancy and eye-catching ad AFTER they leave Craigslist. You can always upload a fancy image to Craigslist that shows more or says more than what you can in the TEXT fields. Remember that Craigslist is ONLY a source of Traffic. It is not the end all beat all of the sale. Craigslist will NOT close the deal for you, YOU have to do that. So don’t despair my friends. Simple find yet another workaround to deal with these current changes.
Happy Posting 😉