Recent craigslist update cracks down on spammers


Tired of Making Chump Change Online?

As part of Craigslist’s evolving efforts to crack down on fake ads and “e-whoring”, Craigslist is now using GEO-IP detection for its ads. It used to allow people from outside a particular city to post ads for that city. Eg. someone who lives in Seattle could post ads in Washington DC. That’s all changed now. Your IP must reflect the location you are posting to.

I am not sure how effective this would be in the long run. Craigslist is so lucrative for blackhat marketers that they have successfully bypassed previous antispam efforts. Even Craigslist’s lawsuit against one of the biggest CL ad posting software companies don’t deter other apps from popping up to take its place. Here’s a quick history based on a historical observation of craigslist’s ad volume/section activity (NOTE: we don’t condone any of the behaviors discussed in this entry. This is purely for news commentary purposes only.)

Antispam measure: community flagging of ‘suspect’ ads Workaround: post tons of ads to compensate for the kill rate.

Antispam measure: autoghosting of ads Workaround: posts tons of ads to compensate for the ghost rate.

Antispam measure: Phone verified accounts Workaround: Spammers would place free ads on other sites that trick people inito phone verifying accounts. They then turnaround and sell these in bulk to other CL posters.

It is an evolutionary arms race. Similar to how predator and prey evolve in the natural world. The prey would evolve a defense, the predator evolves to defeat that defense. Never-ending.


  1. Jordan@Acai Berry says:

    This is really good to know. Craigslist has not been that proactive in attacking the spam issue..maybe its just laziness? I don’t know, but it seems outside pressure is finally getting to them.

  2. mark@bunn coffee filter says:

    Pretty interesting that they are limiting it to your city location! I think that is a good idea because I hate spam on Craigslist, especially if you are looking for a true local service. I also work on Elance, and I will tell you that people post ads on there to hire people specifically to spam all over Craigslist, so hopefully that will cut back as well.

  3. Reigny from Craigslist says:

    There are SO many ways around the geo targeting BS… its a funny idea… but I know about 6000 marketers that will easily get past it.

  4. It is just a matter of time before services that rent ip addresses and proxies provide geo selecting.

  5. Nicole Hatoun says:

    Actually, Craigslist has been doing a really good job of making changes to try and stop spammers… The problem is that whenever a new change comes up, CL posters find a way around it, and these changes usually ADD even more unnecessary spam to CL.

    When CL implemented phone verification… you won’t BELIEVE how many people have made $20,000 a month or more selling bulk PVA (phone-verified accounts).

    Every new CL change makes it necessary for posters to post more often than necessary. Have you ever seen the ads on Since Backpage does not have the same filters, the ads tend to be cleaner, to-the-point, and there aren’t dozens of repeat posts. On CL, in order to by-pass the filters – you’ll have creepy-looking “spammy” titles, all sorts of weird coding and junk words, paragraph upon paragraph of junk text in the ad body, titles that do not adequately describe what is being sold (they can’t adequately describe what is being sold, if they do then the ad will be ghosted), bizarre symbols added all over the place, and ads using image instead of text (in order to keep CL filters from pulling the ad down due to suspect words – even in legitimate ads).

    IP geo-filtering sounds like a great idea in theory, however it is simply a new measure that will easily be bypassed, and similarly to PVAs, they will give birth to a new underground market where a few people will make a windfall of a profit.

    IP geo-filtering will also be incredibly bad for CL business… Those with knowledge of how IPs work will agree: many IPs do NOT accurately determine your geographical location. Most ISPs use IP blocks that range from all over the country. Rarely does a single computer get a permanent IP address (your IP address changes constantly, depending on what type of internet connection you have). Eventually, there will be so many filters put up that the only people who will be ABLE to post on CL would be the SPAMMERS.

  6. steve heimsath says:

    I feel sorry for all of the small businesses that were dependant on Craigs List, my previous business was one of them. I built websites for people. I posted 10 ads a week, nothing crazy but it fed my 3 kids and bought the house we live in. When they stopped those simple 10 ads I filed bankruptcy. Now I help small businesses find alternative low cost advertising. I mean really, why should they care I or anyone else posts the same ad in 5 or 10 different cities? If anything taking the reputable small businesses out of the mix with their actions actually helps to weaken the economy. It could help small businesses prosper, instead they kill them. and why? becuase 1 of 500 readers sees the same ad twice while sitting on their website for 8 hours? I mean come on

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