Can I Tell if My Craigslist Ad Has Been Viewed?

by Aaron Charles

There are multiple ways to know if people have viewed your Craigslist ad. Some of these ways are positive signs -- meaning that people are interested enough in your ad to view it -- but other indications don't bode well for your ad. Whatever the case, the knowledge you glean will help you take positive action for your Craigslist ad.

Craigslist

First know that Craigslist, as of early 2013, doesn't provide any program or application for you to track your Craigslist ads. Basically, all that you can do after you post your ad is edit, renew, repost or delete it. Furthermore, Craigslist doesn't rank ads by popularity. So where your ad is placed relative to other ads on Craigslist isn't an indication of how many times it's been viewed. Rather, ads are time-based -- the newer the ad, the closer to the top of the list it is.

Services

At least two services claim to help you track your Craigslist ads: MonitorHits and CraigslistAdTracker (links in Resources). From these services you get HTML code, which typically appears as a logo, embedded with a special Web link that you place in your ad. This Web link communicates with the service and logs how many times people have viewed your ad. Depending on the service, you might be charged a nominal fee.

Spam

If after posting your Craigslist ad you notice a sudden increase in random, irrelevant emails -- spam -- then that could be an indication that people -- spammers -- have viewed your ad, albeit with negative consequences. Some spammers troll Craigslist purely for the email addresses, even if they're anonymized. It's still considered best practice, though, to avoid putting your email address in the body of the ad, and to anonymize your email address when placing the ad. The anonymized addresses remain active for only six months after their creation.

Ghosting

And, ironically, another possible indication that someone has viewed your Craigslist ad is if you don't see it on Craigslist after you've posted it. Craigslist monitors ad postings via Craigslist staff and automated systems. If either of these perceive an ad as spam, they will prevent it from going live on the site after you try to post it. Craigslist users have noticed this happening while never receiving a message from Craigslist informing them that this has happened. Therefore, some have termed such occurrences as "ghosting" an ad. In such cases, it's possible that a Craigslist employee viewed your ad or an automated system "viewed" it. But either way, it means the general public did not.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images