At ShowMojo, we’ve been fielding a torrent of inquiries regarding the changes to Craigslist.
Yes, these annoying Craigslist changes are hear to stay. Yes, tracking is dead. No, there is no one weird trick that will get your HTML template back onto Craigslist.
But there are things that can be done. This is our second list of to dos. You’ll find the first list here. And we promise to be back with more — especially ShowMojo-specific tips.
Here’s the very first thing to do. Email Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, seriously. Do it.
Please don’t bother him about lost HTML, or lost tracking, or flagging or ghosting. Yell at his about the lost hyperlinks. And use exclamation points. And call him a demeaning name or two for this single act. But nothing profane.
Craig — or someone over there at Better-Than-Thou Central — reads emails at this account.
Everything else Craigslist has done can be argued on some sort of merit (regardless of the opinions each of us has). Allowing no hyperlinks is wrong-headed. It is as painful to renters as it is to all of us. And it’s nothing less than an affront on the Internet itself. Tell Craig you’ll take everything else. But we need links back in some form. Perhaps as a separate field. Perhaps registered like handguns. Or regulated like pseudoephed. Somehow.
And if you have time to read the reminder of this post, then you have time to write that email to Craig.
Second. Decorate your links.
Renters want links. And we see many of them copying and pasting them from Craigslist into a new browser window, especially at night when they know there’s no one there to answer the phone.
Some text formatting still works. Specifically bold and underline tags. So mark your text up like this:
And it will show like this:
Our eyes are trained to spot urls, even when we cannot click on them.
We’ve already made this change to the ShowMojo post template for Craigslist. It should be live in the next couple of days.
Third. Sort your photos and upload them all at once.
Yes, you really have to upload your own photos. And, no, short of SERIOUS violations to the Craigslist terms of service there is no way around this. I’m sorry.
Two tactics can make this activity much less painful.
- When selecting photos to upload, hold down the Control key (the Command key on Macs) and select all the photos you want to upload at one time.
- But, before you do that, name your photos in alphabetical order from first to last. When Craigslist uploads your photos, it sorts them by file name. So apple-photo.jpg will always be added to the photo gallery before banana-photo.jpg.
Fourth. Do not use Craigslist’s email anonymizer.
For what it’s worth, I hate this suggestion, but Craig leaves us with little choice.
Craigslist’s email anonymizer keeps spammers from sucking up your email address and spewing hundreds of cheap pharmaceutical ads at it. But there’s a cost.
If Craigslist doesn’t like a renter’s email address then it will not send that email through its anonymizer system. And Craigslist won’t tell the renter when it doesn’t like an email address. It’ll just throw it away.
Last week we were testing with an iCloud.com email account and Craigslist would not send even that email to the poster. So renters with email accounts that are less susceptible to NSA snooping (read: not gmail) could inquire by email on dozens of your posts and get nothing back because Craig isn’t passing the emails along.
We could ignore this issue when we had hyperlinks. But with hyperlinks gone, this particular issue got compounded by a factor of five.
So either show a real email address or don’t show any email address.
Finally. Vote with your feet and go elsewhere.
Last week we saw a significant uptake in non-Craigslist traffic. At least temporarily, renters don’t seem too happy about the mess left in the wake of Hurricane Craig.
Follow those renters out to the other sites. Whether it’s HotPads, Trulia, or the local listing sites for your city, county or state. Of course, you’re probably already doing this. But if you’re using someone other than ShowMojo to syndicate your posts, are you forwarding those emails back to ShowMojo, so we can help you get more showings? Check out the Settings page, in the Listing Syndication section, to learn more about how ShowMojo can auto-reply to all your listing inquiries.
Also, get inventive. We have clients using Facebook ads (less inventive) and even retargeting services like adroll.com (more inventive) to acquire and retain prospective renters. We’re happy to throw in a hand and help where we can on initiatives like this.
We’ve all heard the adage about Google: if you use a free service, then you are the product. Well, Craigslist is a free service, and the only difference in using it is that your business becomes a plaything of King Craig.
That doesn’t mean we should abandon Craigslist, but we certainly cannot rely upon it either.