It’s not just you. It happens to everyone. And yet, when that email comes in from Craigslist with those dreaded words, “Your posting has been flagged for removal.” you can’t help but wonder, “What can I do?”
Our clients ask us about flagging a lot and the first thing we say is, don’t take it personally. The Craigslist community, is just that; a community. And in every community there are a few grumpy old men, who feel it’s their duty to keep everyone in line. And in the Craigslist community anyone, at any time, can flag an ad for any reason. Sometimes these reasons are valid, sometimes they are questionable and sometimes they are just ridiculous.
So, the first thing you need to know is that Flagging is not done by Craig or anyone on the staff at Craigslist. Flagging is done by other users of Craigslist. Have you ever noticed the litte box in the upper right hand corner of every ad?
By clicking one of the above links any Craigslist user can Flag your ad for removal (or in some rare cases for the Best of Craigslist page). And if you click the small question mark you get taken to this page that explains flagging in more detail. The good news is that it takes more than one flag for that ad to get removed. The bad news is that the number of flags needed to remove an ad varies by category, city and the flagging history of the ad itself. So there’s no way to tell, and the team at Craigslist is tightlipped about the numbers.
For those of us posting in the Housing category the most common reasons your ads are getting flagged are:
- the ad is in the wrong category or wrong location – double check that your ad was posted where it should be
- the same ad is posted too many times repeatedly – be a good citizen of the Craigslist community and refrain from over posting. If you do post more than once a day spread those posts out throughout the day.
- the ad is considered spam or exploits certain keywords -do you have keywords in the text of your ad for amenities that are not in your community or the unit you are offering? Users will flag your ad if it’s coming up in their searches despite not meeting their criteria
- your competition is flagging your ads to reduce your exposure – this is unfortunate, but sometimes it does happen. Keep posting and eventually your competition will tire of flagging your ads. You might also try making sure that your ad is not searchable by community name or address. This makes your ad hard to find for someone looking for your community specifically, but for the average Craigslist user, your ad will still appear in searches.
- you have a disgruntled tenant (or former tenant) – this another unfortunate one, but from time to time this might happen. Follow the same tips as if your competition was flagging you.