4 Walls Announces Weekend Coverage for 4 Mindshare & Respage Customers!

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The Dark Side of Using Craigslist Tools

Everyone knows that Craigslist is a great source of leads, but many property managers don't have the time to keep up with posting chores. The market has responded with a variety of third party posting services and tools to help. Check them out, but proceed with caution because there is a potential dark side with many of these services.

Third party posting services and companies do your Craigslist postings for you, and using them violates Craigslist Terms of Service. This has been discussed numerous times, but just in case you aren’t aware, you (and the posting service) can be fined. You can check it out for yourself here: www.Craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use.

Many property managers continue to use third parties because Craigslist's enforcement of this policy has been minimal. But the reality is, this is a business risk, and however minimal, it's something that you and your company's legal or risk management department should be aware of.

Craigslist is also ghosting a lot of listings, which is one of the ways the site tries to enforce their no posting services policy. In a nutshell, you (or the third party doing the postings) go through the motions of posting and publishing your listing. The listing shows up in your account as published, but it never shows up on Craigslist. No one knows for sure why Craigslist ghosts some listings and not others. However, it appears that Craigslist sometimes ghost all postings from certain accounts or ads that the site finds objectionable. To complicate things further, third party posting services use multiple accounts, and some of the account's ads may be ghosted while others are not. The only way to know for sure is to spot check a number of ads.

Free and low cost Craigslist ad generator tools can make the posting chore quicker, but should also be used with caution. These tools are systems that help expedite your posting chores by generating template-based HTML ads for you in just seconds.

First, while your results may vary, all of our A/B tests indicate that text ads work better than HTML ads. Even though it's free to post to Craigslist and these ad generation tools make it faster, the task still takes up valuable staff time, and you want to be sure you're getting the best results.

Second, make sure you know how the lead from your Craigslist posting will be tracked. Can you put your own tracking numbers on the ads? This is the only way to ensure that the leads you are generating from your posting efforts are truly free.

Craigslist is still a great source of leads for most communities. By all means, continue to post. But if you start noticing that you're not getting as many leads as you once did, it may be because there are 2,000 or more ads posted every day in your market, or your ads are not showing up, or your leads are being attributed to other lead sources.