A Guide to Searching all of Craigslist
Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities that serve 570 cities in 50 countries, and boasts an average of 40 million new free online classified advertisements each month and 10 billion page views – in sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.
One of the complaints by a small minority of people is - why can't I search all of Craigslist?
Why Craigslist doesn't allow site-wide search
Craigslist doesn't provide a function to search the entire site or to search across multiple cities and categories because it's meant to be for local communities, face-to-face only.
Why would anyone want to search all of Craigslist?
Andrew Payne, the creator of crazedlist.org says it best:
i know your mission is to create communities, and i totally love and respect that. the problem is, if i'm looking for a yamaha wr250 with a CA plate i'm willing to drive anywhere in CA to get it, or even OR or AZ. searching on 10 or more site just gets tiring. you made craigslist because newspaper classifieds are limited, i made this search because i thought going to 10 different sites and re-entering the same search is what computers are made for.
Richard Collamore, the creator of allofcraigs.com adds:
Searching all of Craigslist can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It's good for people who do freelance work, like web design, programming, and writing - which can easily be done at home anywhere in the World. Having the capability to search millions of Craigslist-ings is great for hard-to-find and rare items, and for research too. Maybe someone enjoys reading their local "rants and raves" category and wants to see what other people across the World are ranting about, or perhaps other popular categories like browsing all the personals. Having the choice to search all of Craigslist is a very interesting niche with a lot of user demand.
I want to search all of Craigslist - How can I do it?
Here is a list of websites and applications, pros and cons, that help you search all of Craigslist:
1) Third party websites that use custom programming scripts that allow users to connect to all Craigslist sites at once.
Pros: Real-time results. Comprehensive search refinements. No downloading.
Cons: Possibly against Craigslist terms of service and at risk of being blocked or being served with a "cease and desist" order by Craigslist, although unlikely. Might be difficult or confusing to use for a novice and may not work with certain web browsers.
2) Third party websites that use Google custom search, or Google itself. Google crawls Craigslist daily and indexes the ads to make them searchable.
- allofcraigs - features all advanced Google search parameters with comprehensive refinements and results. Users can view Craigslist ads and the latest news submitted by users on Twitter.
- searchallcraigs - simple search tool, no refinements and basic search results
Pros: Ads are delayed, therefore most of the spam postings will be flagged before Google indexes them. Search results may include relevant ads by Google that may help you find what you're looking for. Easy to use, no downloading required.
Cons: Ads are not real-time, therefore you may get expired or deleted ads.
3) Desktop and mobile applications. Some are free, and others charge a fee.
- Craigslist Reader (Free desktop application)
- Craigslist Desktop (Free desktop application)
- Craigslist Ad Notifier (Ads are sent to your PC Desktop, SMS Text Message, and/or Email - Free Demo, $9.95 after)
- Craigstoolbox (Image Preview Extension for Internet Explorer and Firefox - Fee undisclosed)
- CraigsPal (Similar to Ad Notifier - Free and premium versions $29.99 to buy)
- Various iPhone apps dedicated to searching all of craigslist are popping up, like Craigsphone.
Pros: Very comprehensive and useful to any Craigslist power user.
Cons: Fees. You never really know what you're downloading to your computer.