Craigslist Shuts Down Search Tool; Apparently They Define What Local Means

from the didn't-expect-that dept

Jairus writes “Craigslist has shut down a search tool that allowed users to search all US Craigslist cities for job postings and for sale/wanted ads. I used the tool a lot and I am REALLY sad to see it gone.” The search tool in question was built by an independent person, not as part of Craigslist itself. Craigslist certainly has the right not to allow it (and the letter they sent was friendly, rather than the typical corporate cease & desist letter you expect these days). However, it still seems a bit odd, and goes against the basic spirit that most people associate with Craigslist. It might be understandable if they claimed that the search was causing bandwidth problems or an accidental denial of service attack, or something along those lines. Instead, the letter claims they asked the guy to take it down because it: “goes against the basic intent of Craigslist to be a local tool.” That’s a very odd statement. While Craigslist is a local tool (and a very useful one, at that), local can mean different things to different people — especially on this great big internet. The tool certainly sounds like it would be useful to those trying to search for jobs in multiple places, without doing much harm, so it’s too bad to see Craigslist apparently react this way. There could be more to this story (at least, I hope there really is more to this story), but if not, it seems like a bad move on the part of Craigslist.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Craigslist Shuts Down Search Tool; Apparently They Define What Local Means”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
jeremiah (user link) says:

CL's "local" trip

I’ve run up against the “Craiglist is *local*, man!” retort before when posting for services that were internet appropriate (ala, sound design, music production, etc). Turns out CL doesn’t want that kind of activity – again, they’re really focusing on geographic community. Even if you’re a web designer, CL wants you to find clients in your city, not across the country or globe.

Is it a bad move for them to ask an indie developer to cease a service that violated their TOS? Do they have to give a reason?

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Re: Third Rate Link Farm

Basically, CL comes from an older generation of bloggers, the Mike Masnick generation, who insist on using antiquated mid-1990s software because “it works”. They expect the rest of the world to accept this idea.

CL today has a grand total of 20 job openings in Rome, 38 job openings in Seoul, and 7 job openings in Rio de Janeiro. But hey, I guess they are “lesser cities” in the Mike Masnick generation scheme of things.

Slade says:

Re: Third Rate Link Farm

I live in a college town running a call center, I have found it is the best way to find young eager salespeople to fill my call center, and it doesn’t cost anything! Also I moved recently, found my new fridge, washer and dryer, sold some old collectibles, and brokered a trade for a car stereo. CL ROCKS!

Peter Meilahn (user link) says:

Re: Third Rate Link Farm

This is bogus, Minnespolis has a great Craigslist, more theater seats per capita than any other city than NY, is the center of many industries and the birth place of the first intranet…

My point, the fact that big cities lists are best is ignorant and a reverse provincialism…

My city is better than your city should have been left on the playground in the bully’s mouth

Jairus says:

Let's not forget eBay

First of all, I am VERY happy that tech dirt published this story. Thanks tech dirt!
I shared my hypothesis with other people on the CL forum (just check the link that takes you to the forum from the defunct page) and they laughed at me.
I am afraid that the problem with this tool was that it started to look a lot like?eBay. eBay owns 25% of CL now and I think this was a conflict of interest more than anything else.
I contacted quite a few people from different cities and most of them while they preferred local pick ups they were willing to ship stuff.
I like CL, I find the prices being very reasonable, less people know about it than eBay and there are no fees, feedback and other things to worry about like eBay.
I do hope that somebody else would make a similar tool and post it at least under it falls under the CL ?radar? again.
Look for the movie ?24 hours on craigslist? to be released soon.
Looks interesting.

craig (user link) says:

Automatic Craigslist Searching

I put together a craigslist search that emails you when an item you are looking for gets posted.

Check out:

I got tired of searching craigslist several times a day and was still too late for the good stuff so I put together this program that notifies me when something I want is posted.

Craig (no not that craig)

Steve says:

Craigslist search

I really wish that craigslist would at least allow for regional searches. Northwest, Midwest, Southwest. I’m looking for something special and having a larger search area would be very nice. I’m surprised that they will not allow this sort of functionality. I hope that they reconsider at some point or at least expand the search options.

Nathan (user link) says:

A Better Craigslist Search

OK.. I’m throwing my Craigslist search tool on the pile. I’ve put a fair bit of effort in making the interface (in my opinion) the best and easiest to use. Since I don’t actually parse the craigslist results, I can’t be shut down by craigslist (and in fact, don’t believe I’m even violating their TOU, but that’s up for interpretation).

Go check it out:

Search Craigslist

Mr. Me says:

I don't need local

I don’t need local when the item I want isn’t available here. I searched the web for a discontinued item & then I searched craigslist, only to find 3…NONE of them were in my area! Most were on the other coast, one was a few states away. What good is local in this case? It’s not.

Oh yeah, I did find a retailer who’s site claims to have the item in stock…in FRANCE (I’m in the US)! LOL (and yes, I’m waiting for a reply to the email I sent them).

I think they should set up a secure payment system, but don’t go all ebay on us with bidding, just keep pricing as is.

I think the parcel services (or a 3rd party monitoring service) should get in on the act, take payments & purchase list on one end & verify shipping content on the other, when the items are shipped, then payment is transferred, if there’s no shippment within an alotted time frame, payment is refunded & the seller gets red flagged that way both parties are safe from scams.
Hell, paypal doesn’t give you that security, maybe it should be an ebay optionas well.

Is it just me or does this actually make sense?

Ok, I’ve rambled on long enough.

nonyabusiness says:

IT's For LOCAL only

It is not sad that they banned that tool. The idea is to keep it from becoming the next Ebay where it is basically run by merchant wheeler and dealers and is not really helpful to the common person anymore! I vote to keep craigslist local, because IT ROCKS! We do not need people from all over the USA spam filling our local FREE classified service PERIOD!

lost in a paper bag says:

Global search shut down

Could the reasoning for the regional, national, or global search engine shut down be related to the billing process? Most of craigslist is free, but there are some places and catagories that charge a fee. Maybe the non-local search engines somehow cause a conflict with this process. Just a thought.

George (user link) says:

Re: I love this

Brian has mentioned this in several places. I assume Brian owns CraigsPal.

At this point in time my experience with CraigsPal is horrible. The program’s Nw search set up box won’t open thus it is totaly useless since you can’t even set it up.

Also on their website where users can Log in, that does not work either so you can not directly contact them to discuss program errors.

WARNING- Readers never purchase a program where the only way to contact the business is thru computer messaging. Make a rule with yourself. NO PHONE=NO PURCHASE.

Eddie says:

Re: Re: I love this

George, it is really not polite to attack CraigsPal with bogus complaints. I use CraigsPal two years now, it is the best tool I’ve ever seen for Craigslist. Niftly organized, precise, actually Craigslist should have done this years ago. I recommend it to all of my friends who love Craigslist, as I believe CraigsPal will help CraigsList to be used much more efficiently and overall to keep it the most popular pro-social website.

George, I can conclude you are competitor of CraigsPal trying to attack real values of people who love and use properly Craigslist. If I am in your shoes I would be ashamed.

Mike, please do not pass bogus complaints, I contacted CraigsPal on several occasions to add some features to their search browser and they did it without the word said. I can not support someone without the real facts. Please be aware that some people use your boards to make trade wars on it, and that is not ethical, makes you not ethical person.

I strongly recommend to everyone. I appreciate time saving idea and good work of CraigsPal.

George (user link) says:

computer class

Never assume. Have large amount of computer experience. At the moment I co-administer a PhPbb bulletin board and Moderate others and have done some, be they minor, but have done them- Application Designs for the industry I work in.

At this point in time CraigsPal has contacted me. Possibly via my email address from this site and we are working out the problems. Im sure we can find and solve the problems.

ben (user link) says:

automated craigslist search

Here’s another great craigslist searcher:

– Runs your search on craigslist once an hour and notifies you about new listings.
– Sends you emails or text messages.
– Lets you narrow your search by adding keywords to include or exclude. This is in addition to any craigslist filters you used (such as price, keywords, has pic, etc.).
– Works for any city or category.

me says:


Isn’t the intent of the internet to allow information exchange and implies there are no boundaires, therefore… Craiglist’s intent is against the internet’s intent and the internet, being bigger, should override.

Thats what small town newspapers are for. Why is Craigslist duplicating the service that a local paper provides already?

cc says:

Re: Well....

CL has become the electronic equivalent of this thing you call a small town “newspaper’s” classifieds. That’s why the papers are crying so loudly.

Seriously, who actually gets the paper anymore? Plus, newspaper websites’ classifieds are typically a joke – if they have one at all.

90% of the CL people I’ve purchased goods from would not even consider shipping/dealing with a non-local entity. Again, that’s what ebay is for.

wyocoyote says:

Yeah I’m with you guys. Craig et al.’s desire to define community is misguided. I now have the choice of searching a very large area: the Bay Area. or all the smaller communities of my county individually, and they keep getting smaller.
conties/cities westsides and downtowns are somewhat arbitrary and dont define me.
A simple fix for listers is the option of local search only.
An ebay eqivalent of x miles from y zipcode would be a boon. Otherwise you could be…..
looking for love, in all the wrong places

I don't know says:

I don't know

Here’s the thing with Craigslist that makes it work. My Grandmother, my mother and myself all know about it, get it and use it. None of these search engines that you all have linked will work for my grandmother, she likes what she knows and it took her long enough to start with Craigslist (she still won’t use e-bay). My mother won’t use these things because her friends don’t talk about it. I’ll start to use something else and slowly my mothers friends might hear about it because all their kids will talk about it as well (not sure there is enough time left for my grandmother to learn something new). Soon enough I’ll have kids of my own they’ll have their own things, I’ll be hesitant to follow them along but slowly we’ll move forward.

Ed Morgan (user link) says:

Criagslist National Search was GREAT

We own employment companies in many markets in the United Stated and advertis with Criagslist many cities all over the country.

The ability to search the entire help wanted area was a great tool and I hope it comes back. Craig is a smart guy and as soon as he knows he has the best tool for HIS clients I’m sure he’ll make it happen.

Our site has grown at the same pace as Craigslist and right now Craig is busy with so many things. Growth is not always easy and I think he’s doing a GREAT job. (user link) says:

my speculation, two reasons

Bandwidth is a problem.. remember at one time they also shut down search engine crawling, because the bandwith demand on their site? But later they appeared to have worked out with the major search engines, and it become crawlable again.

Also craigslist want their listing to be unique, and lock in their users on their site, and they do not want third party to build something on top of their offering.. at least not now as I see it.

Bob says:

Craigslist elimination of site.

I’m not technical enough to understand “bandwidth problems” and all that. All I know is that the page was extreamly usefull for what I used it for which was to search the country for particular old cars and parts. In 20 minutes or so I could search every state and province for what I wanted. It was great!!! Anybody know of something similar, please let me know. Thanks….

Joe Mitchell says:

Craigslist National Search Tool

Here again some one at the top of a company is out of touch. Common sense tells you this is a good thing and would give more credibility to Craigslist. To bad they can’t understand that there are certain items you can’t sell locally and certain items you need more exposure. Unless they own stock in ebay, It doesn’t make sense from a business stand point to stop using such a tool. Ok I have blown off enough steam and yes I just won’t be using craigslist as much as I hoped to.

ron abbott says:

forbidden search on craigslist

we live in a “global village”. The items that I search for are not available in my small town or the near cities and counties. But sometimes with the boundries of thes 48 states. I am missing the search abilities. So, maybe if there was a small yearly fee say $10.00 would be a “paid for service” that would be available to help defer the expense of new hardware and software for craigslist. Now, that would be nice too.

Darrell (user link) says:

Craigslist sucks

I agree with the previous posters. Craigslist’s interface is a nightmare. Having people to spent hours trying to find stuff or apartments on craigslist is a shame.

That’s why there’s always a demand for sites like, and which bring usability to the 90’s craigslist interface


Victor says:

Search Engine

I find it odd that this article originated in 2005. I’ve used this tool many times in the past year and it is 2009. Is this an on-gain, off-again tool? Is it really that different than any other search engine? It is really unfortunate, especially considering eBay is no longer a viable second-hand market tool. Maybe Craigslist plans to become another marketing tool for retail businesses too. Too bad because I have grown to appreciate and recommend Craigslist a lot (much like I USED to promote eBay).

Jushin says:

Try It has been relaunched. You can add on your ads Youtube & MySpace videos, audio, HTML and many more things to enhance your ads and make them eye catching! . Oddbark also has a special feature, where you can use your webcam to take a picture and it automatically appears on your ad..No more uploading required! Take a look at it, I bet you’ll love it!

Jack says:

Craigslist National Search

WoW what hapened to the cool old craigslist. Once I found the national search I used it a whole lot more. Hmmmmm thought craigslist was for the good of all people ??? Typical Corporate BS if you ask me, the search was awesome and the idiots at craigslist should have done it themselves long ago if they needed to be a bunch of control freaks. BRING BACK THE NATIONAL SEARCH ABILITY’S PLEASE !~!

glitch says:

search tool

truthfully i don’t see how this prog could effect bandwidth very much considering the program would just be replacing the connection your web browser makes it’s not increasing bandwidth usage its just replacing it and if anything would use less bandwidth as the prog wouldn’t be requesting css and layout scripts aswell as images and such that your browser needs to download each visit. i think this is more related to the sites actual userbase

John (profile) says:

A better Craigslist Search Engine

I may be biased (since I worked on the development) but the best Craigslist search is at It was designed with Craig’s wants and YOUR needs in mind.

Search multiple cities in up to four states at once … keeping it local.
Manage your results so that you don’t end up looking at the same listings over and over. Keep notes on interesting items.

Check it out … there is a FREE 15 day trial at

Rachel says:


Will someone share a website thats as good as craigspal was for God sake ! Most of the websites shared here are worthless. Craigspal was the best until they shut them down. Then there was Craigslist reader and they shut that down too. Is there anything quite simular that hasnt been attacked yet by craig????????????????????? I used those tools for my business and now im stuck. Someone help please.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...