How to Receive Responses to Craigslist Posts

By Andrew Aarons

Craigslist can be a valuable revenue stream for your business, especially if your business is involved in housing, job placement, or selling unique items. Managing advertisements on Craigslist isn’t difficult, though the way Craigslist uses your email address for responses to the ads can be a little confusing at first. You can make your Craigslist business more efficient by preparing to receive responses before posting your ad.

Craigslist Email

If you’ve ever looked at or responded to an ad on Craigslist before, you know that that the email addresses provided look a little strange. These email addresses are often a string of randomly generated letters and numbers before “” This doesn’t mean that you need a special Craigslist email address to post ads or receive responses; these are temporary addresses that forward messages to your specific email address. Craigslist assigns a random email address to each ad to protect your identity -- though you can create ads that show your regular email address.

Prepare to Be Swamped

A popular Craigslist add can bring hundreds or thousands of responses to your personal or work email account, and having multiple ads means processing that volume of email a few times over. Before you post your ad, consider creating a new email address that handles Craigslist specifically. If you have control over your domain and the mailboxes associated with your company’s email addresses, create a new mailbox called “[email protected].” You can then set up a new Outlook profile for this address and send all Craigslist responses to that account.

Email Choice When Creating Ad

Though creating a specific account to deal with Craigslist posts will help you stay organized and help keep Craigslist emails separate from your regular work email, you can post an ad to Craigslist with any valid email account. Go to the Craigslist page for your city and click “post to classifieds” in the top left corner. After choosing the type of posting and its subcategories, you’ll be prompted with three email choices: “use craigslist mail reply, show my real email address, and no replies to this email, please.” By choosing the first option, you’re telling Craigslist to use a randomly generated address to connect you with customers, making your own email address anonymous. If you choose the second, anyone who views the ad will be able to see your address.

Receiving Responses

Once you’ve set up your ad, anyone who views it will be able to contact you via the email address on the page -- unless you opted for “no replies to this email, please.” If you created a new email account and provided that email address, access that mailbox in Outlook or through your company’s webmail to see responses. If you used your standard email address, the responses will start to appear in your inbox with a subject line containing the title of your ad. You can set up email filters to place all emails with the same subject line in a particular folder in order to keep your inbox uncluttered.