Can a Business Post on Craigslist?

by Elizabeth Mott

Craigslist emphasizes community-level advertising that connects individuals with one another to buy, sell and trade items and services. Its paid posting categories welcome business ads placed by companies that read and follow its rules. If you feel unsure about the suitability of an ad you want to place on Craigslist, investigate your options before you post to avoid seeing your ad deleted for non-compliance with the service's Terms of Use.

Posting Limits

Craigslist expects you to post and buy locally. Don't try to use the service to advertise a job or product in more than one city by posting the same ad on multiple community-based Craigslist sites. This practice violates the Terms of Use and will result in deletion of your ad. Your experience on Craigslist also will improve if you read and understand the rules that govern which kinds of ads belong in which categories and which items won't be accepted at all. For example, job fairs belong in the Events category, not Job Listings, and Craigslist won't accept ads for multilevel marketing plans.

Housing

In New York City, apartment brokers can advertise at a fee of $10 per ad. Separate categories handle ads for properties that do or that don't charge applicant fees. Each ad must cover apartments in only one building, although you can use one ad to list more than one comparable unit in the same property. Craigslist requires brokers to disclose any and all fees; whether they cover application processes, credit checks or registrations; and to identify their company or agency clearly, including full contact information.

Available Jobs

Depending on where your business operates, you can post help-wanted ads at no charge or for a modest fee. In San Francisco, job listings cost $75 apiece; in 27 additional locations, they carry a $25 fee. You can include one job in a single ad. Just because postings run at low or no cost doesn't mean they reach an ineffectively small population. Quite the contrary: Craigslist serves up more than 50 billion pages each month, including more than 2 million new job listings. Among more than 700 localized versions of Craigslist, you can reach local job seekers in your town.

Services

Craigslist requires that businesses advertise their services in the Services category and that they use the subcategory system effectively in classifying their ads. The Craigslist user community patrols the service's listings looking for non-compliant ads and uses the flagging links that appear on every posting to mark rule-breaking posts for deletion. If you remember that Craigslist offers a largely free service, you can use it effectively within its rules, but the site operates differently from conventional advertising venues in its emphasis on avoiding mass postings by business owners.

Other Considerations

Craigslist reaches a vast audience through community-specific microversions of its main site designed to connect local advertisers with local consumers. Its emphasis falls first on its community aspect, which explains its focus on users helping users. Your best means of finding the right way to approach Craigslist as a part of your marketing and advertising efforts lies in spending time on your local Craigslist site, reading ads, familiarizing yourself with the category system and studying the help forum messages in which users help posters understand why the service deleted their listings. After you see first hand how the system works, you can work within it effectively.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.

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