I have been wrestling with Craigslist all week! There are some changes going on over there and I’m not loving it. Craigslist seems to be intent on remaining a ‘garage sale’ site. It’s purpose is to allow individuals to sell their used stuff through their site. They have never liked commercial businesses advertising there (or adult services) so they spun off a new site called Backpage.com. Problem is, most people don’t know about backpage and don’t know to go there for things like household services like landscapers, housekeepers, painters, carpenters etc. People looking for adult services DO know to check backpage and therefor sex workers or professional companions DO advertise on backpage. However, Craigslist owned Backpage is messing this up in a number of stupid ways too, not the least of which is nearly doubling ad posting fees out of the blue and without notice.
Craigslist will still allow for-profit services to advertise, but it seems that they are once again tightening restrictions. Already, you cannot post an ad that is ‘too similar’ in multiple cities. Stupid. For instance, if you have a mid-sized fencing company with offices in 3 nearby cities – you can only advertise in one of those cities. I understand if you are posting ads for your used vacuum cleaner all over North America. But what if you have a chain of yoga studios in 3 states and want to post ads for each of them (but they have the same name?). Stupid!
So, how are people getting around this? By creating multiple Craigslist accounts and using each one as a different poster in a different citiy and then changing the wording and layout of each ad and hoping that the algorithm doesn’t flag the ad. Stupid.
As of this morning, the ads that I have developed for various clients are no longer post-able on Craigslist. These ads have been running for ages and been renewed every second day for months and months. What they have in common is HTML. Craigslist posts a guide for acceptable html here. There is a note at the top of that page that says “Note: A, IMG, FONT, TABLE, DIV, SPAN, CENTER are disallowed in for sale and housing. Please use CL image upload for images.”. I’ve never noticed that note before. It may have been there, but I don’t think it showed up until recently. It never really applied to me before because I post in the SERVICES section which is not mentioned in the notice.
Today I went to renew some ads and found that the photo ads that I usually run showed up as blank. After wrestling with the ads for a while I had to conclude that Craigslist will no longer allow some html even in the services offered section. Specifically, the <a> and <img> attributes no longer work. That means that we can no longer post a fancy image with a live link to your website, which is the only thing I used to like about Craigslist! You can still use <h1> tags, you can bold, etc. but you can no longer even choose the color of your text. Stupid.