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Why Craigslist is Losing Favor With Many Classified Advertisers

Updated on August 18, 2014

Why Does Craigslist Flag One Business, Yet Not Another Similar Business

Craigslist has pretty much banned NWM businesses from advertising for people who many be interested in earning a second income from home; however, they seem to allow certain similar businesses to advertise anyway. A good example of that is Avon, which is a NWM. I constantly see ads for Avon on Craigslist, while I see other similar companies have their ads removed within hours of them being posted. I would really like to know how Craigslist expects to survive if they do not treat all similar advertisers equally?

Craigslist-Why They Are Getting Left in the Dust

It was a great concept, if you had something to offer, you could advertise it for free. Craigslist used to be pretty much the only free online advertising game in town, but now times are different, and Craigslist hasn't seemed to done anything to keep up with the competition. Allowing anybody to flag any ad for any reason, and not allowing advertisers to have any recourse is a big part of why I think Craigslist is shooting themselves in the foot.

Also, (although they are not the only one), they are discriminatory on the types of ads that they allow, which I believe interferes with my right to free speech. (Of course there's that Freedom of the Press Issue too, I guess.)

I understand their desire to eliminate scam advertising, but along with doing that they are also alienating many legitimate advertisers who are simply trying to promote their businesses.

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The Biggest Mistake Craigslist Ever Made

Many businesses rely on clickable links in their ads to drive traffic to their websites or other offers. In almost all categories now, Craigslist has eliminated the ability to put clickable links or images in advertising. This has driven many advertisers to seek alternate sites that allow clickable links or images. One of the best ones around (in my opinion) is Backpage, which is also a free site like Craigslist, with some paid options. Backpage is much more liberal in their advertising policies, and because of that, I think they will soon surprass Craigslist in popularity

Some people say that Backpage doesn't get enough traffic, but I do not believe that. Just as with doing a Hub on HubPages, or writing on a blog, you need to do your keyword research, and find long-tail keywords for your ad titles that have good traffic and low competition so that your ads will show up in search results such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

If you want to know if your ads are getting indexed and how much traffic they are getting, I recommend that you sign up for a free trial of Classfied Ad Tracker. That way you can find out if it's worth your investment before you spend the money on it..

Has Craigslist Even Realized That They Aren't the Only Game in Town?

Craigslist is still a high-traffic source, and every day people are trying to find ways around the Craigslist police, and every time someone finds a loophole, Craigslist seems to find a way to plug the hole post-haste. So while many advertisers are trying to find ways to beat the system, twice as many advetisers are jumping ship from Craigslist and going elsewhere to places where their advertising is more appreciated.

One of those competitive free advertising sites is AdlandPro; however, they do not allow html code in their ads or clickable links, but you can have a link to your website or your offer. The downside is that you can only have three ads that have the same website or offer link at any one time, which may put some limitations on what you want to accomplish with your advertising campaign.

Adpost a Craigslist Alternative

Adpost is another popular free advertising Craigslist alternative. They also do not allow html code in the body of their ads; however, you can post a website link to your site or your offer as long as your link starts with an http:// URL. Adpost also allows you to promote your ad to many of your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc. However, if you choose to promote your ads to Facebook, I highly recommend that you join as many groups as possible that are relevant to your offer and allow posting on their pages. I DO NOT recommend that you ever post your offers on your personal Facebook page because A) It will annoy your friends B) Facebook has been known to suspend accounts for doing so. As a matter of fact, I don't recommend that you post anything about your business on your personal Facebook page anytime EVER.

Another Lesser Known Free Alternative to Craigslist

Another free alternative to Craigslist is classifiedads dot com, which is also a free advertising site. This site allows html code in the body of the ads, so you can post html based image ads, or clickable links on this site. They also allow you to promote your ads on your social networks gaining you additional exposure for your ads.

If you don't know how to make clickable image ads, there are tons of videos on how to do it on YouTube, but most importantly make sure you use images that are in the Public Domain that no one holds a copyright to.

The downside to this free ad site is that after you have a certain number of ads posted, there seems to be a limitation to how many new ads you can post on a daily basis. I've seen some people on the free sites that are posting hundreds of ads per day using autoposters so they can just have their ads dominate every every city and country where they are doing business. Overall, this tactic ultimately hurts everybody, because that is one of the reasons that Craigslist has gotten so strict about their posting rules. Yet people continue to try to beat the system.

How to Make Clickable Image Ads

Summary of Free Ad Alternates to Craigslist


Another good source of free classified advertising is Locanto which is also free. One of the great benefits of Locanto is that you can also get a widget to ad your person ads to your website or blog for free, thus getting you additional traffic. The downside of Locanto is that you can't advertise any NWM opportunities and there are certain restrictions on the types of products you can advertise. However; there are many NWM PRODUCTS that you can advertise with no problem. If you have a product that is conducive to people ordering on the Internet, and it fits within Locanto's guidelines, Locanto can be a beneficial site for you to promote your products.

You can not post html code in the body of an ad text on Locanto; however, you can enter a hyperlink to your website or to the URL for your specific product. Locanto also has the option to promote your ads on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and via e-mail, which may be advantageous depending on what type of product you are marketing.

Of all the free classified sites listed here, OLX is the most restrictive next to Craigslist; however, they still have a place if you have a NWM product (not opportunity) to market. Like many of the other sites, you can not put html in the body of an ad, and on OLX you can not put a link to your website either, therefore you must rely on telephone or e-mail contacts from this site.

The site does have the option to promote your ads on your social networks, again on the most popular ones.................Facebook, Twitter, G+, and e-mail. It would be nice if OLX would offer the same type of widget that Locanto offers, so your ads can display on your own personal website or blog too, but as of yet that has not happened.

Hopefully, the information contained herein will be helpful to you in deciding on some alternative free advertising sites that might be better suited to your current marketing efforts than Craigslist. Maybe eventually Craigslist will get the hint that they are only hurting themselves by continuing to implement more and more restrictions upon their advertisers.


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    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      Hi mackyi, Thanks for you comment. I still use Craigslist, but it certainly isn't the friendly place that it used to be.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 3 years ago from Philadelphia

      As a past frequent user of Craigslist, I must say this is a very informative hub. I also agree with you on several points. Thanks for sharing.

    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the comment. I only use Craigslist for my business, but I have to be very selective on what and how I advertise, and it's kind of disheartening that when you put ads up for products that you can't simply have a clickable link to your website. The only area where you can still put a clickable link is in the community sections. Makes it more difficult for people who ONLY sell their products via their websites.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 3 years ago

      Wow, I learn something every time you publish a hub. I had no idea there were so many alternatives to craigslist available. Thank you very much for the information.

      I had pretty much gotten completely away from Craigslist for several reasons.

      Reason #1. Way to many scams and scammers on Craigslist. Here in my area crooks were using Craigslist ads as a way to find out where you live and what you might have in your house they can come back and steal.

      Reason #2. People that list items for sale don't bother to take the ad down after they sell the item. A big waste of time to track down the seller only to find they no longer have the item.

      Reason #3. People that list items for sale and then will not respond to phone calls, text messages, or emails when you attempt to contact them.

      Reason #4. Some of the items listed on Craigslist are stolen and you can run into trouble for purchasing stolen items.

      Thanks for the info and I will be checking out some of the alternative sites.