So How Does Craigslist Flagging REALLY Work?

Despite the luxurious three figure income that freelance writing provides, I still find myself seeking side work from time to time. Fortunately, I’m not just a snarky writer, I also happen to be pretty good at fixing broken electronics as well. I often post my repair services on Craigslist, but recently I’ve noticed a lot of my ads for Xbox 360 repairs getting flagged down. Given the fact that I don’t offer any modding services that violate the Craigslist terms of service (and the law for that matter) I was surprised my listings were getting taken down. I was even more surprised when I saw listings going down within minutes of going live on Craigslist. 

After this happened a few times, I decided to check out the policies governing flagging on Craigslist. From the Craigslist page that explains flagging:

Free classified ads receiving a sufficient number of qualified negative flags are subject to automated removal.

Based on that description my assumption was that multiple users had to flag a listing down in order to get it removed from the site. After Googling around for a bit, I discovered that several autoflagging programs are available for purchase, and they make it really easy for one person to get a posting removed from Craigslist. Autoflagging software connects to a proxy server, flags the posting in question, switches proxies, flags the listing again, and repeats that process until the listing goes down.

With this new-found knowledge I was certain I had cracked the case. Obviously, another repairman was using an autoflagger to remove my listings. After contacting a few other local repairmen in an effort to find the culprit, I found that I wasn’t the only one having this problem. At least two other repairmen were going through the exact same thing, so we all contacted Craigslist about the issue. Craigslist never responded to me (or the other repairmen), so I decided to dig a little deeper.

I started adding tracking code from Stat Counter to each of my posts in an effort to track down the flagger. There are a couple of ways to determine which users are the ones doing the flagging. The last person to visit a listing before it goes down flagged it down, and there’s a good chance that anyone visiting a listing multiple times in less than a minute flagged it down.

I was completely surprised at the results I got from Stat Counter. It turns out that one single person making no effort to disguise their IP address, or location was responsible for almost every flag. In fact, it appears that all they have to do to get a listing removed is flag it over and over again.

Just to be clear, that flagger wasn’t solely responsible for every listing that got flagged down, but almost every listing they attacked did get flagged down. One listing actually got removed after one single flag from this user.

I contacted Craigslist with this new found information, but I never received a response. No system is perfect, but it seems that it should take more than one flagger to get a listing removed from Craigslist. The current flagging system leaves the door open for a great deal of abuse. Anyone looking to bump competitors off of Craigslist can do so with minimal effort.

So, what’s the solution? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to that question. Every time a listing goes down in this manner, I contact both Craigslist, and the flagger’s ISP with all of the relevant information, but it seems like neither is willing or able to do anything about it.

  • Cherface2010

    We are having the same problem, simply trying to sell a travel trailer, and Craigslist has not responded. It is literally making me ill. We are so rural that we have come to depend on Craigslist. Something really needs to be done about this!

  • http://jenniart.com Jenni

    Really when you think about it, this is the same problem that occurs with anything automated. Heck, look at Google and SEO… there’s always a way to game an automated system… the difference of course is that Google cares very much about weeding out the crap and keeping people from gaming the system… as where Craigslist clearly does not give to craps.

    • Dr Hannibal

       Facts:
      1.Craigslist is being ruined for legit posting through abuse of the unaccountable anonymous flagging system. This sytem needs to be shitcanned for something else that locks out the cowardly scum who abuse it now.

      2. CL keeps making it harder for individuals to post legit ads(captchas and worse, phone verification) while the SPAM floods in with bots and scamware anyway.

      3. The CL  ‘flagging forum’ is a goddamn JOKE resulting in NO action. just the same old parroted brainless  useless responses from halfwit know-nothings in denial about OBVIOUS rampant flagging abuses.

      The only way Newmark & co. will wake up to the problem is if another Craigslist Killer appears who decapitates a few nazi flaggers, then eats their livers with fava beans.

      • Me

        1.Craigslist is being ruined by bad posting through abuse of the idiots abusing the posting system held marginally at bay by the flagging of responsible CL users. This system needs to be reenforced by lowering the flag threshold so that those abiding by the ToU have more effect against the scum who abuse it now.

        2. CL keeps making it harder for individuals to post bad ads(captchas and better, phone verification) while the SPAM floods in with bots and scamware anyway in spite of the best efforts who take the ToU seriously.

        3. The CL ‘flagging forum’ is a BLESSING resulting in many improved ads and more responsible CL users. We just need more volunteers to help educate the horrible abusers who are in denial about OBVIOUS abuses and entitlement issues.

        • Kiss my ass flagging bitches

          You really are a dumb fuck you wouldn’t know a blessing if it shitted on you asshole

        • Mark Emilio Fleener

          Clearly, you have not been paying attention, and are the one that is the idiot, back to the beginning with the likes of you, seriously, read what people are experiencing and ask yourself if you want strangers having the ability to oppress you. It has nothing to do with the rules.

  • Skip

    How specifically do you do this? I signed up for stat counter, and inserted the code in the CL ad, but CL blocked me from posting it. Did you use the HTML counter? I got robbed and put up a reward notice on CL, and it looks like the thief is getting my posts removed as fast as I can post it… I really want to catch them!

    • Anonymous

      It looks like CL has started automatically blocking ads with links in them during the submission process – as of right now, I don’t know of a way around that. 

      • David Wyatt

        SIMPLE, make a free website, host your pictures there, when the ad pops up it will HIT your site leaving the IP.  /A work around they cannot fix….  Gain IP then give to angry hacker forum…..
         

        • Me

          Yeah, they can… by preventing your LINK, ass.

      • Me

        That’s because… WAIT FOR IT!   

        LINKS are PROHIBITED! Again, y’all feel you should be able to abuse the site anyway you want and then bitch and moan when you’re prevented! LOL Serious entitlement issues… get professional help.

        • Bo

          Take it easy there, buddy. You don’t need to go as far as saying that someone needs professional help.

  • Steve1024

    Very informative! Thank you! I too have posted on Craigslist only to be flagged within minutes. My postings were neither offensive, rude or violated rules of posting. Obviously there is no monitoring by CL in regards to flagging. Proven by them not responding to email. I too have emailed to no avail. I’m sure that when used appropriately flagging can be beneficial. But of  course there are those that use it as a tool other than intended. Thanks again for the insight!

    • Me

      And why would you expect them to support a FREE AD? What do you want, a REFUND? Seriously, y’all are idiots.

      • Mypaypaladdy

         I wouldn’t have a problem with them posting their own ads on the site to support it, for themselves.  As long as there are no pop up/hover ads, maybe if they DID receive income from it, then that would give them the motivation.

  • Chris

    I had the same problem and did the exact same thing with statcounter and found my flagger… then I dug a little further and figured out who that ip address belonged to… one trick to figure that out is to send emails to your competitors from a gmail account that is not associated with you or your company… act like you are a potential customer to get them to send an email back to you… when they email you back, check the email headers for the ip address that the email came from.. if its the same email address as the person flagging you, then you know who your flagger is… then the next trick is to get them to stop… You can always send them a cease and desist letter, threatening legal action if they continue to disrupt your business…

    • http://twitter.com/MyParentingCoac Brenda Trott, M.Ed

      I guess you should go to a public computer to pull this one off:)

    • Anonymous

      This is an effective method as long as the person in question isn’t using a web-based email service like Yahoo or Gmail. The IP attached to an email from one of those services will not be the same as the IP of the computer that did the flagging. 

      • NehmoSergheyev

        If you are in communication with the party, and if you can get them to open a webpage or an email with images from a server you control, then you can get them to open a webbug. That is, a 1×1 pixel gif from the server. The log from the Server will say what ip address requested it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6STMDSJGRLIEEC5L7OLSVIBF4I Son of Liberty

    You can stop the flagging abuse by NOT using craigslist. If craigslist doesn’t care about the users that abide by the rules and leaves the door open for nuts to abuse their site, why should you give them the benifit of your participation. They are spitting in your face.

    • jpbutterworth

      I agree. Craigslist SUCKS. Try backpage instead.

  • Spookstrickland

    I’m having the same problem with competitors that are flagging my posts.  I’m trying to start a Poll to get some proof for craigslist that this is indeed a major problem.  So please vote

    http://pdxvancouvermusic.createaforum.com/the-jam-room/does-craigslist-have-a-flagging-problem-to-many-posts-flagged/

  • Jason_goodburn

    Unfortunately, the solution is to use Kijiji or Ebay.  Kijiji is a much better service, though its popularity seems to depend on where you live.  Ebay seems to be a rinse and repeat of Craigslist.

  • Geoherms

    I placed a post under items wanted indicating I was in search of a vehicle and it has been flagged for deletion 7 times now 3 times today so far,
    A vehicle is an item, it is an item I need therefore I posted it in items wanted and I was not begging for the item I indicated what I could afford to pay. If Craigs List wants it under the Cars and truck catagory then ad a wanted catagory to the cars and truck catagory
    Craigs List need to remove the flagging function until they can make improvements on it so that they can preview the ad before it is deleted to prevent spiteful vindictive flagging.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djquew VjQue Williams

    to tell you the truth this is why most of us flag post. I’m a DJ and this person is trying to get a DJ for $120 on NYE. most likely he’s getting paid $800+ and were flagging this piece of shit. we flag any BS Cheap DJ post or DJ’s posting for cheap. they don’t understand our equipment is not cheap to repair. some speakers cost so much to repair in the range of $600 to $1000 each blown woofer. here is the add. DJ Needed For NYE Party (Equipment Provided)

    Hi,

    My friends and I are having a pretty small but still super sick New
    Year’s Eve Party at my buddy’s place in Woodland Hills and we need a DJ.
    We’re all in the film industry and have our own equipment, tracks,
    turntables, speakers, etc. and we could ordinarily do it ourselves but
    but just need someone to spin the night away. All you have to do is show
    up, be ready to bump it up, and enjoy yourself. We’ll provide gear and a
    good time.

    Being a small party, we can’t afford to pay that well, BUT we can give
    $120 for you to spin from 10 PM to 2 AM (4 Hours), give you free booze,
    and keep you on retainer as a DJ for any events we do (We’re a
    videography/live event company and are always asked DJ recommendations
    for big events).

    Questions, concerns, or ideas? Let me know! Thanks!

    Location: Woodland Hillsit’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests Compensation: 120

    • NID

      And you jutify your actions because some wont pay your price. Or that you ant your ilk won’t work for that!

      Maybe there is a no name upstart DJ that will work for 120…hell thats 30 bucks an hour and they are providing the equipment…..

      Stop flaging ads, your not the CL popo. just don’t take the work.

      • Me

        NO. Flag MORE ads. We are ALL the CL POPO… as we AGREED to be when we agreed to the Terms of Use. If you’re not willing to take responsibility for keeping the site clean, DONT USE IT.

        • purplealphabet

          Go read the TOU again. Specifically part c. Flagging.

    • AngryMetalDude

      It’s people like you who ruin CL for the rest of us. The only “piece of shit” here is you. It’s none of your business what he is willing to pay. If someone else is okay with his offer it’s their problem. Don’t flag people because you don’t like their rates.

      I don’t use CL for buying/selling often, but I use the casual dating and the musicians wanted sections regularly. I’m sick of seeing an ad I spent a considerable amount of time writing get taken off because some jealous shmuck didn’t like what I have to offer to other people. It takes a coward to flag posts. If you have a problem with an ad, message the poster and confront them like you still have your nads attached.

      • Barbara Lamar

        Couldn’t agree more.  Don’t people like VjQue Williams realize they’re hurting the people who would like to apply for gigs or jobs more than they’re hurting the employer?

      • Me

        It does not take a ‘coward’ to flag, it takes a hero! When you agreed to the Terms of Use, YOU agreed to flag bad ads. If you don’t want your ads removed, WRITE A BETTER AD or use a different site. SIMPLE. It’s butt hurt idiots like you who ruin CL for the rest of us.

        • David

          hahaha are you kidding? your pathetic if you think your a hero for flagging 

          you are a real coward to flag someones ad because you think its written poorly or you disagree with what they are offering/asking for

        • Mypaypaladdy

          Yes, BAD ads, meaning ones that violate the rules, like it says someone is only supposed to flag if they think it’s violated the TOU, and nowhere does it say that someone charging a price you don’t like is against the rules.

      • Kiss MY ASS flagging bitches

         Can he get a fucking amen its my ass and my time i will sell or give it to who i very gotdamn! please.

    • th3 j0k3r

      hey DJ DILLHOLE  

      oooh my equipment is expensive… thanks for your mad copy and paste skills hope your dj is just as tight. the add says use my equipment money and booze so lets assume its new years in Alabama id say its not as bad as u make it SO STOP U FLAGGITSDEM RALEIGH BOYZreally gimme a min to look into you. no wonder people hate you ya really have nothing better to do… SADThe IP thing… i think your missing something there ip is the same but if you log out of your craigslist and into your wifes and flag again your ip is the same but the flagging power is increased… get it looks like the three strike rule to me… for the guy i once tried it on to figure it out SORRY

    • David Wyatt

      I hope you die a horrible death something like being raped to death by a gorilla.  It truly is pathetic fucks like you who cause people lots of trouble for your own greedy dipshit reasons.  /he isnt undercutting you dipshit, he just had his own gear/venue/booze and was offering someone a decent deal.  Your pathetic monkey ass would rather charge a shitload more so you cancel his ad?  Fuck you and the ignorant whore you fell from…  I assure you karma doesnt forget.  You will pay for your deeds one way or another idiot.

      • Tgirl10705

         Raped to death by a gorilla!!!!!ROTL!!!!! That is the funniest shit I’ve ever heard :D

    • purplealphabet

      I don’t get it. You cite your equipment repairs as the reason you’d charge a higher rate for your services than they are willing to pay. However, their ad clearly states that you would be using their equipment.  

      $120 for 4 hours of work is $30/hr. +open bar, and possible future gigs. How much should a guy with no gear get paid for spinning records?

  • Mattduffel

    Look, If you complain enough, or make yourself a nuisance to CL they will even start flagging you. It will show as a post, but never go live on the site.  CL punishes people who repost, when the problem is actually the spammers.

    • Anonymous

      The invisible posts you’re referring to are referred to as “ghost” posts. Ghosting is actually automated, and has nothing to do with whether or not you annoy CL.. A post gets ghosted when it gets flagged too often over a certain period of time. I don’t know that CL has publicly admitted to the specific numbers of posts or time periods that they use to determine whether a post gets ghosted, but the process is automated and has nothing to do with them punishing you for reposting – they’re punishing you for reposting something that gets flagged down each time it goes up. Now, like I said in the article, flagging is broken, and as such, so is ghosting, but it’s important to understand how it all works. 

    • Me

      *rolling eyes* Learn how the site works before you bitch about it. Seriously. You’re clueless and shouldn’t be using it at all.

      • purplealphabet

        Right, why try to have a voice, and be part of the solution? 
        Do you know what you sound like?
        …and if you don’t like the war in afganistan, you should just get out of america…Something is definitely wrong when brand new legitimate ads for fairly priced items from loyal users who respect fellow users and the TOU get flagged down in an hour.

        If this kind of atmosphere persists, the only people using it will be spammers, and kids who can’t spell trying to sell their bmx that has “ovr $1200 of upgrayyds” for $750.

        Good luck.

        • realgirlz

          yeah!

  • Anonymous

    Craigslist doesn’t respond to anything except the cops.

    • AlWh

      actually, they rarely respond even then…I have a friend getting harassed illegally through CL, and although they’ve gotten the police involved (its complicated), CL hasn’t done squat. They truly do NOT care.

  • Pamela

    I have come up with the fact of not using CL and just making forums on FB instead. It has gotten pretty popular and i would advise others to use it too.

  • Pamela

    Join us on Facebook and put a end to CL. http://www.facebook.com/groups/288840164504654/

  • BettyhatesCL

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/288840164504654/ I too have continuously been flagged for even trying to sell rabbit manure. Craigslist needs to become a thing of the past, facebook pages for selling stuff are popping up all over, and 
    http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/   is slowly become more widely used. Spreading the word about other popular websites to sell stuff is the best way to send a message to craigslist since obviously there is no one behind the wheel there.

  • Anonymous

    A STAT COUNTER WHAT A JOKE

    the print out showed the same IP

    YOU NEED TO CHANGE IPs TO FOOL CL INTO FLAGGING

    even IF you found the persons IP if it is dynamic it shows the hub location

    GOOGLE RALEIGH BOYZ we are the baddest most hunted flaggers on CL, we 
    even had rewards put out for me….

    • Anonymous

      Yea, read the article, don’t just look at the pretty pictures – my assumption was that you would have to change IP’s in order to flag a post down on your own – after all that’s how all the script kiddies do it – they just write code to proxy hop, flag, and proxy hop again. 

      I tested the stat counter by viewing the ad, and seeing if it caught my own IP – it did. From there, I let it run, and the results were what’s listed above – someone hitting the ad from the same IP over and over again was getting the ad flagged down. I’m not exactly sure how or why it worked for them, but it did work for them. 

  • Mmattaoj

    Well just about any commericial business user I see on CL I flag someone lists commerial ongoing service ads in the for sale sections should be flagged.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T3JCO3XPGKLQ5GSLMJU3X2HUF4 Woody

    You clearly don’t know how flagging really works if you think one person with same IP can bring your ad down. Go spend some time in the Flag Help forum.

    • whatthegeek

      Yea, I understand how flagging is SUPPOSED to work, but this same IP was definitely flagging my posts, and several posts went down with the only viewer being someone from this IP. As to why it worked out that way, I can’t really be sure, but it did. 

      PS: The flagging section on the CL forums is populated with people pretending to know something about how CL works, not members of CL staff. They’re taking their best guesses at why an ad got flagged – not providing legit information. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T3JCO3XPGKLQ5GSLMJU3X2HUF4 Woody

        OK, believe that. Stop using Craigslist and your problem is solved.
        To Flag Help forum: Yes, members of the community try their best to help people with flagged ads. Oddly that’s usually because it is  a bad ad for one or more reasons. 

        • Synch2k12

          I worked for a company that trolled Craigslist and routinely flagged what they felt were competitors ads.

          • Bryanschultz

            This is true… I heard from one of my friends who knows someone who is flagging my ads because I am selling the same things they are, but cheaper. How is there any salvation to those of us who get flagged from a competitor? I tried to contact CL, but I didn’t get a response.  I read that if you had a paid CL account that you cant be auto flagged and removed. I have yet to find out how to get a paid account… I would pay not to have a competitor flag me and have my ad removed when I was within the CL tou.

        • Self

          Woody you’re a liar.  And an idiot if you think there are SUFFICIENT alternatives to craigslist.  Nothing will give you anywhere near the same results.

        • I_Feel_The_Pain

          Woody, you dont know the difference between the hole in your head or a hole in the ground. Most flagging that I have encountered is due to selfish people who dont have a life and cannot compete with others so they flag their competition.

          It’s a war. So the flagging providers make money, which who know may give some kickbacks. I wont mention names.

          It’s a war and we are forced to retaliate in kind.
          Go use some else other that CL. No because despite the BS that we have to put up with it is still a free source of business leads.

          So the flagging wars will continue until someone gets hurt.
          Trust me someone will and then there will be some sort of lawsuit to shake things down.

          Hang in their fellow posters, alot of us feel the pain.

          Remember!
          Never Give Up!
          Never Surrender!
          Flag your enemies into the ground if you can find them!
          If CL is reading this do the letters “FY” mean anything to you, because apparently you don’t give a darn.

        • DatBus

          Completely untrue. Ads can be, and often are deleted for no good reason at all – no matter how careful a poster is or how conscious they are of the TOU. Craigslist will do nothing to help them, then lie about how the system works.

      • Tiredofbs

        Why would their ‘best guess’ not be legit? They have experience reviewing ads and know what works, and what doesn’t.

        All of you who think that you should be able to just abuse the site anyway you want need to use a different site.

        It is part of the Terms of Use that y’all AGREED to. It is your responsibility as part of the CL community to moderate the site. That includes FLAGGING ads that are miscat (the worst abusers are those who ‘target market’… assuming they are ENTITLED to post where ever they feel they’ll get the most exposure, regardless of what category or local that is in).

        Let’s take For Sale/Farm & Garden as an example. Why would it be acceptable to post Boarding? Or Training? Or Lessons? Or Hay delivery? in a For sale section? What exactly are you selling?! NOTHING. But heaven forbid anyone point out there IS a VERY APPROPRIATE SERVICES OFFERED/Farm & Garden section!
        @twitter-375507156:disqus 
        Then you piss and groan when your ad is deleted when you intentionally posted in the obviously wrong category!

        All of you here bitching about CL flagging are holier then thou jerks who think you should be able to abuse the FREE website without regard to the Terms of Use.

        Do what you AGREED to do… post ONLY in the site most local to you. Post ONLY in the one category that is appropriate to what you’re offering. QUIT eBegging for free shit. No one want to police you.. you’re attitudes leave no choice if we want CL to remain marginally useful to the majority.

        • whatthegeek

          What you’re describing is how the flagging system on CL is supposed to work. In your scenario, ads that broke the rules get flagged down while legit ads get to stay up. In theory, it’s a sound system. 

          Unfortunately, that’s not how flagging actually works. If you don’t believe my story for whatever reason, look around the comments here. People posting posting legit ads in the right category in their local CL  are having their ads flagged down immediately. They are using CL as it is intended to be used, but they’re still being flagged down by people who are abusing the flagging system. 

          You’re right when you say that someone misusing CL deserves to get flagged down. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who didn’t do anything wrong that are getting flagged down too. 

          I would also argue that the TOS didn’t intend for people to police CL with bots designed to flag posts down automatically based on specific keywords or phrases. Further, these bots allow one person to do the flagging of hundreds of people – that would also seem to go against the TOS. These are the problems I’m addressing with this article, and these are the problems a lot of the commenters here are angry about. Just because you personally haven’t had a problem, that doesn’t mean that the flagging system is working as CL intended. 

        • whatthegeek

          Oh, and as for why their best guess wouldn’t be legit, I suppose sometimes they are right, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t have access to information on when and how a post was flagged. So, a post that got flagged down by an automatic flagging bot would look the same to them as one flagged down for legit reasons. 

          In either case they would try to find something wrong with the ad. If they’re trying to find something wrong with an ad that was flagged down by a bot, nothing they say is going to be helpful – if you tweak your ad you’ll probably still get flagged down by the same bot. 

        • Kiss_My_ASS flagging Bitches

           Bitch you and the rest of those tired ass flaggers need a life… Why would anybody want to police a free classified site… I understand if you got a check for it… Go get some dick or something miserable ass lady… Its a classified site either buy it or go to the next fucking ad… Craigslist is a business they have a staff let them get paid for doing what the fuck they get paid for! You don’t need a Masters of Education to understand what the fuck I am saying…. Your just an educated fool,

          Simply put!

        • WLady

          You’re an asshole that probably flags innocent ads and you clearly belong in the CL Community. 

        • anonymous

          HH the people trolling the help forums are NOT experienced as you think. ANYONE can go do what they do. I did for a day just because I was bored. They are nobody. Most just want to call everyone a spammer because they have no authority in their own life. They are either minors or house husband whose wives wear the pants so they go on the help forums to feel like they wear the pants for a change. And the people going there for help often are following all the rules. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • 50321

    You are clueless how Craigs flag system works.
    Did you should ask  in the flag help forum why your ads would be flagged

    • Jecca657

       this doesn’t always help I think people get bees int heir bonnets.  i have had craigslist help comb over my ad and they don’t see anything wrong and its still getting flagged.  I’ve even put a plea up for the flaggers to see what they feel I’m doing wrong…

      • Tired

        Called a “Flag rant” and just draws more flags. Not a good plan.

    • DatBus

      Don’t go anywhere NEAR the CL “flagging forum”. It is filled with abusive trolls who find fault with your ad no matter how good it is, and will nothing to help you.

  • Quenivzw@gmail.com

    Thanks for the info. It’s sad when people do things like that. If they don’t like our ads they should just move on

  • Larry

    Craigslist Does Not Care, They will not respond, There are a few trolls in each area and they have no life. They think its their duty to police the posts. I do repairs on amps and get flagged as soon as I post. Yes you can go to other ad post But Craigslist Has Killed All Other Forms of places to place ads that get attention. Part of posting is putting up with the No Life Morons.
    Flag On !!!!!!!

  • Jwmcclu

    So the point of all your research and writing was…..

  • Rizalina5

    CRAIGSLIST SUCKS USE EBAY OR OTHER SITES.  CRAIGSLIST DOESNOT CARE…

  • http://www.facebook.com/talldeb Deb Petersen

    It has nothing to do whether we understand flagging or not. Most of us who have repeatedly gotten our ads flagged have looked there first to see if we are violating the rules. I’ve had numerous ads flagged.  How about “Free queen matress, boxframe, and springs”. In the free section. Down within one hour.
    Or free kitchen tearout. U demo, u haul, free. the listed items. Down within 1 hour. Posted in free section. with very good, not too big 4 pictures.
    I’ve put very benign ads on such as selling coffee table with pictures for reasonable price in the appropriate category. Down in one hour.
    I’m suspicious now that if you’ve had one ad flagged many more will be, and the more flagged the worse it gets.
    I’ve spent an hour or two reading the rules and trying to understand what it is I might be doing wrong.
    If you can track their IP they might be able to flag you based on my IP so it doesn’t matter what I put where.
    Free moving boxes in the free section shouldn’t be flagged!
    Personally I think CL has it ass backwards. The poster should have some protection but all the benefit goes to the flaggers.
    I’ve even thought of starting a new ‘CL’.
    cheers Deb 

    • Mypaypaladdy

      Actually, I found out today, it really has nothing to do with rules, unfortunately. I’ve recently had an ad taken down for a short term domestic gig, which I revised several times and put back up. I’m assuming it was probably taken down because it was assumed I was spamming and posting it to much

      But, when I went to the community forums asking for help, I was told the reason it was probably flagged from two different people were because

      1. It was too long “Write an ad, not a novel”
      2. You want THEM to supply the food?

      WTF, where does it say that people can flag because they personally don’t like it? Here in the terms of use it says

      A user shall not “flag” (or otherwise seek removal of) content on
      craigslist without a personal, good-faith belief that the content
      violates the TOU. A user may flag content only on his/her own behalf

      and my post, violates none of the rules in the TOU below:

      “Content prohibited from craigslist includes but is not limited to: (1)
      illegal content; (2) content in facilitation of the creation,
      advertising, distribution, provision or receipt of illegal goods or
      services; (3) offensive content (including, without limitation,
      defamatory, threatening, hateful or pornographic content); (4) content
      that discloses another’s personal, confidential or proprietary
      information; (5) false or fraudulent content (including but not limited
      to false, fraudulent or misleading responses to user ads transmitted via
      craigslist); (6) malicious content (including, without limitation,
      malware or spyware); (7) content that offers, promotes, advertises, or
      provides links to posting or auto-posting products or services, account
      creation or auto-creation products or services, flagging or
      auto-flagging products or services, bulk telephone numbers, or any other
      product or service that if utilized with respect to craigslist would
      violate these TOU or CL’s other legal rights; and (8) content that
      offers, promotes, advertises or provides links to unsolicited products
      or services. Other content prohibitions are set forth in guidelines for
      particular categories or services on craigslist and all such
      prohibitions are expressly incorporated into these TOU as stated in
      section 1 above.

      I said I thought it was idiotic how someone could flag because they personally didn’t like it and it could be removed, and they said how dumb it was for me to come here not knowing the rules.  How was I supposed to know people can flag for something that doesn’t violate the TOU? Where is that in it?

      • NehmoSergheyev

        The TOS is irrelevant. People flag because THEY don’t like the post. That’s all.
        Unfortunately, the solution seems to be
        Start a Jonny-come-letely competitive site
        Use another ad service (that won’t get many views)
        Hunt down the flagger and … then what?
        Repeatedly re-post so that the flagger needs to work as hard as you (You would need control of a few accounts, and maybe some special software.)

      • charlie

        yeah I just got done with that forum no matter how polite you try to be they all talk to you in a degrading manner and try to make you feel stupid. I have had more than one cl account. my first one was tied to an email I couldn’t get back onto after my last computer got bombarded with viruses. second one I was being targeted by some jerk who was giving me a hard time, third one to get around said jerk. yeah im flouting the rules because somebody is flouting the rules to hurt me. I started off following the rules but the more I got screwed with the less I cared about the rules and after dealing with those asshats at cl im determined to get around them just for spite. looking into proxy servers.

  • Kevin

    I have had mainly one ad for a vehicle flagged. That ad was flagged about 7 times.  I would just keep reposting it.  I emailed C/L about this issue several times. No response.  I have been thinking this thought for a long time.  I DON”T THINK ANYONE IS ACTUALLY WORKING AT C/L.  That is why we don’t hear back from them.  Anything I have ever received from them was from their ROBOT. DO NOT REPLY.  I think the whole thing is running on a computer based program that is from the Twilight Zone. It is there to mess with our heads when it feel like it.  But, I will say this.  I have sold several thousand dollars worth of junk (oops! items) over the years using this free service.  How can you really complain? 

  • Terrell

    I found the opening lines of your essay quite funny. Thanks. 

  • Lmanfromtexas420

    What your going to find on CL regarding flagging is the blind leading the blind.  First the people who are helping in the flag forum are nothing but assholes, pure and simple.  They have no clue as to what is going on.

    I have used Craigslistadtracker.com and you would be astounded as to who is looking at your ads and from the repeats you can see the flaggers are cowards and hide behind proxies.

    Below are Ip addresses I picked up that are looking at my ad.  If you see the IP coming up more than once or from the IP 166 series you can be pretty sure that they are flagging you.

    One way to prevent flagging is to post, wait for it to hit then delete.  You will be warned that if you repost within a certain time frame you would be overposting and subject to removal.  What you do is wait until just before the ad expires you repost.  It will repost to the spot that it originally had.  In addition you need to continually change the header on your ad.  Everytime you change the header, the title, the flagger has to reset and begin again.  Takes time but the ad stays up.  The easiest way to change the header is to place a symbol in front of the title.  example,  hot time in the city, change to ^hot time in the city., at the same time indent your ad, it will drive the flaggers crazy.

    IP Address City AreaCode State Country99.141.6.36 Chicago 312 Illinois United States98.20.12.85 Texarkana 903 Texas United States76.202.130.90 Tyler 903 Texas United States76.14.136.128 West Sacramento 916 California United States76.14.136.128 West Sacramento 916 California United States76.0.117.223 Harker Heights 254 Texas United States76.0.117.223 Harker Heights 254 Texas United States75.254.54.41 Burnet 512 Texas United States74.82.68.160 United States74.125.158.91 Hamilton Ontario Canada74.125.158.83 Hamilton Ontario Canada72.172.61.80 Avery 903 Texas United States70.178.222.246 Fort Smith 479 Arkansas United States70.178.222.246 Fort Smith 479 Arkansas United States69.29.77.35 Columbia 573 Missouri United States69.29.77.35 Columbia 573 Missouri United States68.28.187.115 United States68.247.136.223 Bethel 203 Connecticut United States67.61.124.194 Texarkana 903 Texas United States67.20.135.191 Hardeeville 843 South Carolina United States67.142.178.24 United States67.142.168.22 United States67.142.168.22 United States67.142.130.41 United States66.249.73.87 Toronto Ontario Canada24.22.249.22 Kirkland 425 Washington United States24.119.145.56 Texarkana 903 Texas United States24.117.251.109 Texarkana 903 Texas United States209.183.163.150 Fort Smith 479 Arkansas United States184.155.51.240 Pampa 806 Texas United States174.253.80.45 United States174.253.68.19 United States174.253.142.126 United States174.125.161.41 Cabot 501 Arkansas United States173.217.0.53 Bossier City 318 Louisiana United States173.217.0.53 Bossier City 318 Louisiana United States173.216.251.101 Floral 870 Arkansas United States173.184.156.130 Texarkana 903 Texas United States173.184.106.199 Texarkana 903 Texas United States166.205.10.146 Plano 972 Texas United States166.147.97.177 United States166.147.97.177 United States166.147.72.160 United States166.147.72.158 United States166.147.72.148 United States166.147.72.148 United States166.147.72.144 United States166.147.72.144 United States166.137.142.14 United States141.0.8.186 United States

    These IP’s are from today

    108.77.148.229108.77.148.229166.147.115.204166.147.116.219166.147.72.143166.147.72.155166.147.72.29166.147.72.33166.248.71.98166.249.192.200166.249.194.104173.184.101.36173.187.232.101174.229.138.165174.253.68.13524.119.248.17824.119.55.14224.32.143.2665.55.75.23866.175.172.23267.140.113.3767.140.113.3767.140.113.3767.140.113.3767.140.113.3767.140.113.3767.140.125.6067.61.124.19467.61.127.22867.61.127.22868.15.127.468.28.59.11569.155.12.14069.155.12.14071.30.143.21572.9.86.10174.127.162.14874.192.205.11774.193.113.18474.82.68.16075.227.233.3275.88.217.8775.88.222.1675.88.222.1675.88.222.1676.174.167.11576.224.166.798.19.212.12299.195.63.9599.60.70.3

    hope this helps some of you.  

    • awns

      Lmanfromtexas420, you save my life with this. I was getting hit hard, very hard. Now I just protect my ads by deleting them, then, after the attacker has passed, repost them, I can bring them down and repost to keep them save, until renew comes, by that time the ad is rock solid

  • Raleighboyz

    Raleigh Boyz flag the flaggers.

    The raleigh boyz were formed to hunt down flaggers that were ruining the fun and flag them.

    • Bryanschultz

      Great!!! Could you help me? lol

  • ridemybroom

    sounds like Geek you have a few haters, maybe because you have found the secret behind flagging and they dont like it…tough titty said the kitty……craigslist is a pile of shit anyways…wanna advertise do it on facebook in your pvt pge…think someone shud really go on cl and blow it up…wished the law was changed so sites like that will have to go away….they juast out extorting people and trying to make a mint off of it in the process…if no one went there maybe we all would stand a chance of it just going away…theyd lose their asses and that would be the end…maybe if we all got together and banned it…it just might happen….thats the only way of getting rid of crappy people and crappy sites like Cl…..lets do it ppl make it happen !!!

  • Andy

    You are operating a blown account. Every account has different threshold depending on your adherence to the CL TOU, the local population etc. An excellent site with auto flagger software and tutorials can be found at http://www.craigsflagger.net

    • jay

      Did you mention craigs flagger was your site Andy?

  • Richandjeanette

    It’s an underground flagging team sponsored by Ebay. Ebay has wanted to buy the remaining shares of Craiglist for years. No progress to date. They only own that 1/4 interest purchased many years ago. They need over 50%, or 1/2, to control the company and brand it Ebay with fess of course. Soooo. Ebay has no other options. They need to increase profits and grow the bottom line for it’s sharelholders. Reducing the amount of successful transaction on Craiglist, causing some to migrate to Ebay for the item, helps them achieve this growth.

    Ebay sucks if I am correct about this. Wait a minute, Ebay sucks anyhow!

  • Fluffles

    Kiss_My_ASS flagging Bitches:

    U MOMMA DUN TEACH U REL GUD?? U SOND SO SMART! TLKIN DEM BIG FANCY WRDS! HEHE!@c3f4c98817a08651fa48dbbd18aeeb0d:disqus U’S TEH SMATEST OF EM! NOW U GON TCH ME, YA?

    This is how you sound to me, so please stop talking that uneducated bull-shit and crawl back into the closet, as obviously your not ready to be out in public.

    “shitted” is not a word and for the love of GOD, there is a shift, space, and comma key. Please learn to use them so you might pass yourself off as even -somewhat- intelligible.  You know they’re there.

    I usually don’t care about retards on the internet, but you. . you were just so special, I had to make a comment.

    “Your just an educated fool” ya know?

    As for CL, I only use it to sell feeders and rats. I flag every-so-often, but only when the post actually deserves it.  I.E (that is, since I’m not sure Kiss_My_ASS would understand) when they are blatantly breaking the rules, or when individuals getting into posting fights. There is a forum for that crap, so nothing irritates me more than two people arguing over how these sorts of posts should be in the forum.

    Hell, I’ve been flagged for selling cheaper feeders. It can be frustrating.

  • DaCLmanInLasVeg

    I have been selling stuff for years on CL.  I get flagged all of the time.  However, a few years ago I discovered a system that works.  I have 5 CL accounts, all have unique gmail addresses with phone verification.  I post an ad one day, then delete.  I rotate my accounts.  Eventually my account gets shut down, But my ads rarely get enough flags to get removed.  I never let CL host my pictures, my phone number is a jpg. and I never allow emails.  I don’t put all kinds of key words either.  I have considered trying to sell my stuff on other sites, but CL is still the king.
    I figure if I get flagged, I deserve it.   There is no way for anyone from CL to stop me creating more accounts.  I change my IP every time I log into my account and clear my cookies too. 

    • NehmoSergheyev

      Yeah, but you’re a pro. Is the only solution to devote your life to CL? Most people only post when they forgot to spay the cat or they want to get rid of the clunker.

    • charlie

      see that’s the thing I have too many accounts and flags on my ip. i don’t know how to change my ip address im not great with computers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TiffanyRBenitez Tiffany Benitez
  • The Dude

    Yeah, this seems to be pretty common. Just last month I advertised an item for sale and got flagged. Not sure why. Although, I think one of the potential buyers flagged me to avoid others from seeing it. I posted it several times and got flagged several times. I had a good price on the object so it sold pretty quickly. This is not the first time. I have had ads flagged for no apparent reason many times.

    And yes, that craigslist forum or whatever that community help thing is, is WEAK! Wow.. just a bunch of grumpy idiots with no life hanging out on craigslist or whatever. They were no use at all.

  • get a thicker skin

    You’re tracking his ISP? It’s not against the law to flag an ad. Do you really think the folks at CL are going to track this individual down and…..??? And what? Lighten up. Then get a life.

    • REALLY?

      Um your telling him to get a life for actually researching the problem he was having regarding someone messing with one of his forms of income and writing a helpful blog because he noticed MANY people were having this problem…lets see here who needs to get a life?The guy taking action over a problem he and a million other people were having or the guy reading his blog and leaving random rude comments insulting him?I think you loose this one…

    • Dr. Gonzo

      Sounds like you’re one of the jealous, bitter, no account flaggers and are just mad it’s been pointed out.

  • Love this article

    I have had the same issues with CL.After going to the help forum I was immediately attacked by the people I thought were staff (considering they are on there CONSTANTLY and go off on everyone that asks for help by quoting rules)and told to take my rants another place,that no one person could flag another -that it took hundreds(if not thousands) of readers and was then told they were not staff ,that literally nobody cares and there is no staff on CL…very professional and classy lol. So after coming upon your article and seeing you actually researched it I tried to copy and paste it to the forum but you can’t if your new …CL has just gone down hill and turned trashy.I appreciate your well written and well researched article:)

    • charlie

      ill bet they are staff, only they are paid to discourage you and make you go away

  • Occams

    Sadly, if you incur the wrath of one of Obama’s ‘internet warriors’, who have multiple-ID software, flagging software, etc (Rants & Rave, Politics), they can actually attach a ‘flagging bot’ to your account, with, again, CL doing NOTHING.

    My posts, now, last 5-20 seconds OF POSTING. They haven’t even made to the boards!! I post, look at my account page, and within 10 seconds it turns pink to ‘REMOVED’, so PLEASE do not come on here and talk about how this is all on the up and up, and how it’s multiple people flagging. IT REQUIRES MULTIPLE IP’s – which is what flagging software generates.

    CL SHOULD take a hand in this, but as someone below says, it’s just a trash-website, now.

    And anyone who doesn’t believe this needs to do a little research in ‘Obama’s internet warriors’, “I was a paid internet shill”, “Software developed that gives user multiple ID’s and ability to remove others’ posts in chat rooms’, etc.

    CL is U-S-E-L-E-S-S. I complained to them – several times, of my posts (even piddly for sale stuff) being removed LONG before it made the boards.

    Their ‘solution’ was to block my account. I could ‘renew’ – I could not post new. I’d get a “This post is being blocked due to similar posts. Users prefer not to see the same posts over and over”, or words to that effect. Even ‘TEST’ as a post, and the same ‘posted multiple times’ message.

    If I ever meet someone from CL, I’m probably going to slap them…..

    • NCBlue

      Dude you probably got flagged because you are an idiot. Obama’s warriors too funny take your tin foil hat off and get a life

      • Occams

        Wow, are YOU seriously misinformed.

        Go look up some info on this, and get back to us here on who’s wearing a tin foil hat – and who’s wearing a dunce cap.

        While you’re at it, go back to English 101. It would help make your posts somewhat more coherent.

        Then again, it validates your general persona.

  • Occams

    Sadly, if you incur the wrath of one of Obama’s ‘internet warriors’, who have multiple-ID software, flagging software, etc (Rants & Rave, Politics), they can actually attach a ‘flagging bot’ to your account, with, again, CL doing NOTHING.

    My posts, now, last 5-20 seconds OF POSTING. They haven’t even made to the boards!! I post, look at my account page, and within 10 seconds it turns pink to ‘REMOVED’, so PLEASE do not come on here and talk about how this is all on the up and up, and how it’s multiple people flagging. IT REQUIRES MULTIPLE IP’s – which is what flagging software generates.

    CL SHOULD take a hand in this, but as someone below says, it’s just a trash-website, now.

    And anyone who doesn’t believe this needs to do a little research in ‘Obama’s internet warriors’, “I was a paid internet shill”, “Software developed that gives user multiple ID’s and ability to remove others’ posts in chat rooms’, etc.

    CL is U-S-E-L-E-S-S. I complained to them – several times, of my posts (even piddly for sale stuff) being removed LONG before it made the boards.

    Their ‘solution’ was to block my account. I could ‘renew’ – I could not post new. I’d get a “This post is being blocked due to similar posts. Users prefer not to see the same posts over and over”, or words to that effect. Even ‘TEST’ as a post, and the same ‘posted multiple times’ message.

    If I ever meet someone from CL, I’m probably going to slap them…..

  • Bob Maloogalooga

    I have actually done this; it works.
    First file a small claims suit against the offending IP address. Any amount is fine.
    The moment you’re filed, u have subpoena authority.
    Go to any cheap attorney and pay him (I’ve gotten it done for as little as $203) to file a subpoena against the ISP of that IP address, for any and all records associated with that IP address, including the owner’s name and address. They MUST comply. If your harasser is going through a proxie, then you must serve a subpoena for each proxie. You follow the bread crumbs back to the source. The last one I did traced back to a guy in Ohio or something who owned a fabric shop. Turned out he was friends with a tattoo artist in Seattle who wanted me flagged off. Nailed ‘em. More people need to do this and make it very public. Once you have your culprit, add his name to your suit, and hopefully collect damages. People stupidly say “stop using Craigslist”. Right. And the effective alternative is?

  • jayran

    hi guys .. yes this is so aggravating … i think i almost had an aniorism one night cuz of it lol .. not kidding; i was steaming mad and i believe it could make someone do something rash. … but i just wanted to say that i seem to just re-post my stuff and it stays. .. like; i will wait til the next day and re-post and then .. no flag/remove .. idk .. i know it sucks when they flag you immediately .. very damn aggravating but i havnt had to repost in a while .. maybe they get tired of it .. idk.. good luck to all. i feel your pain. j-

  • NehmoSergheyev

    The craigslist staff is busy dealing with the money-making part of the business, and they just hope the basic craigslist free section will take care of itself. It’s free, so you can’t expect much from the company.
    However, there is an answer. Somehow come up with a better system. Code it. Start a new coppy-cat site. I realize it would be a late entry in the field, but it seems even late commers get a decent audience with the still high rate of expansion of the web.

    You could try.

  • DatBus

    It took me years to figure out that Craigslist is completely dishonest about their “community flagging” system. They willingly throw their users to the wolves without any desire to protect those who would be discriminated against, ganged up on and annihilated by abusive flaggers – regardless of how careful the poster is in following the TOU. It’s a lazy system of managing posts that gives power to lone wolf flaggers or small groups of rogue trolls to delete ANY ad they choose for WHATEVER horrible reason. They say its about the “community” when its really just vigilantism. Craig himself avoids any conversation about himself flagging system, which means that he KNOWS that they are culpable for major financial damages by allowing certain posters to rule over others. After all, who designed they system? Who employs it? Who sets the parameters? And why lie about it? Since there are no reasonable options to Craigslist at this point in time I would encourage any and all to challenge this brand of ILLEGAL discrimination and force CL to employ a better system of ad management. One that respects the rights of the user.

  • jpbutterworth

    So I suggest you go gangbusters and begin flagging everyone you even suspect of doing illegal mods to Xboxes. Make it clear that if you can’t get a piece of the pie, nobody else will either!

    What really sucks is that honest computer listings get flagged all the time when people who are selling computers with PIRATED COPIES of Windows on them almost never get removed.

  • Tim Bucktoo

    Multiple times my ad is flagged off before it even hits. Craigslist is useless.

  • Raleighboyz Craigslist

    the raleigh boyz developed a new flag bot that not even CL can block

  • Joe Smith

    Craigslist is under cyber attack by terrorists who have hijacked the flagging system individually, and with a variety of malware that infiltrates and attacks user accounts.
    This is a attack not only on Craigslist, but on inter-intra state commerce in the United States and a clear and present danger to the flow of information on Craigslist across the United States and the world. Since Craigslist is constantly recruiting these cybers to police their site, they have given them the ability to do so, and are directly complicate in this activity and just as guilty as the people they recruit. They have become the 21st Century Information Nazi’s, disguised as a classified ad site, which benefits mostly themselves. Since they do not want to shut down their flagging system and remedy it,
    and place other protections to keep their advertisers and users safe, a federal investigation if warranted and will be called for shortly.

  • Austin Nuker

    the raleigh boyz developed a new flag bot that overwhelms the CL flag counter, to this day CL can not block it…it has been flagging post all over the country for almost a year

  • chris

    Which code did you use for statcounter there are so many? I tried one and it didn’t work :/

  • Guest1988

    I dont understand how i cant get a single posting up without flagging, and yet competitors can post 100′s of ads all with the same words and maybe 3-4 duplicate ads and not get flagged? is Craig just out to get me or something?

  • Skilled Scribe

    Mike, thank you for sharing this information. I realize that I am late to the game on finding this post, but let me tell you, it has helped me to realize that I’m not alone. I’m a freelance writer as well and have been facing flagrant flagging violations by people, who I am sure are competitors, just feasting away on my ads. It is utterly infuriating. At the very least, the knowledge that the headers are tipping their programs off has helped. I’m now varying my titles in the hopes that I will become too much of a challenge for them to keep up with. I think I’m more determined than they are. And while Craigslist is by no means the end-all, be-all of advertising my services, it is unfortunately a lucrative aspect of it for me. I simply can’t turn away from it. Anyway, thank you again.

  • realgirlz

    I’ve been faxing complaints the the SF Craigslist office. Preferably long ones.
    FAX Craigslist here: 415-504-6394
    Online Free FAX: http://faxzero.com/
    (((FAX must be a .DOC, .DOCX, or .PDF file:)))

  • realgirlz

    This video shows just how easy it is to flag adds on CL. It isn’t personal, they barely register you. You are just a brief obstacle, no more than a mosquito to them.

  • Catherine Sisto

    It’s a war to keep ads up.