Craigslist’s classifieds service can be a valuable tool in any small business owner’s advertising exposure plan. According to Craigslist, the site experiences monthly traffic of approximately 50 billion page views. Accidental and malicious flagging, though, can cause difficulties. As flagging is performed by Craigslist’s automated system and staff, and other users, you can’t permanently stop all flagging, but you can take certain actions to limit it.
Follow Craigslist’s Guidelines
Ads are often flagged because they fail to meet Craigslist’s Terms of Service and other guidelines. For example, Craigslist doesn’t want you to post about auctions, bidding or business opportunities involving multi-level marketing, club membership recruitment or up front investments. Ads offering prohibited items, such as weapons, alcohol, tobacco, drugs or hazardous materials are also flagged. Additionally, Craigslist requires that you post in the correct category. Post ads for services under the “Service Offered” option and job opportunities under the “Job Offered” or “Gig Offered” options. To post about an employment-related event, such as a job fair, use the “Events” option.
Stop Spammy Behavior
Craigslist warns users that it won’t tolerate spam, such as identical or almost identical ads posted in multiple geographic locations, or at the same time, in one area under different categories. Pick one local city or area and one category for your ad and wait at least 48 hours between each new ad posting. If you need wider coverage, Craigslist states in its FAQ that you should take the ad elsewhere. Additionally, never post a phone number containing an odd combination of text and numbers, such as phone number “5five5-one21two.” Craigslist flags this activity because spammers use this method to try to stop its automated system and staff from detecting their ads.
Change Ad Format and Wording
Use of text formatting that is too commercial often results in flagging. For example, limit use of ALL CAPS and symbols in the post title and ad text, and sales language meant to coerce, such as “BUY NOW!” or “Call NOW! Offer ends TODAY!.” Additionally, triple-check the wording you use to present your service and remove any language that makes your ad seem deceptive or unclear. Ads with similar wording to other user ads are also often flagged. Review the ads in the Services Offered sub-category where you originally posted your ad and then rewrite your ad as needed.
Report Flagging Problems
Information in this article applies to Craigslist as of November 2013.