Inside Craigslist's Increasingly Complicated Battle Against Spammers

from the spam-fight dept

John Nagle writes in with a fascinating dissection of the ongoing battle between Craigslist and spammers. The back and forth nature of this battle is fascinating — and somewhat disturbing when you realize the lengths to which spammers will go to get spam onto Craigslist, and the extent to which an entire ecosystem of scammers and software providers seems to have been built up around this effort:

“Spam on Craigslist has been a minor nuisance for years. Not any more. This year, the spammers started winning and are taking over Craigslist. Here’s how they did it. Craigslist tries to stop spamming by checking for duplicate submissions. They check for excessive posts from a single IP address. They require users to register with a valid E-mail address. They added a CAPTCHA to stop automated posting tools. And users can flag postings they recognize as spam.

Several commercial products are now available to overcome those little obstacles to bulk posting. A tool called CL Auto Posting Tool is one such product. It not only posts to Craigslist automatically, it has built-in strategies to overcome each Craigslist anti-spam mechanism.

Random text is added to each spam message to fool Craigslist’s duplicate message detector. IP proxy sites are used to post from a wide range of IP addresses. E-mail addresses for reply are Gmail accounts conveniently created by Jiffy Gmail Creator (“Who Else Wants to Create Unlimited Gmail Accounts in Seconds Flat Without Breaking a Sweat?”) An OCR system reads the obscured text in the CAPTCHA. Automatic monitoring detects when a posting has been flagged as spam and reposts it.

CL Auto Poster isn’t the only such tool. Other desktop software products are AdBomber and Ad Master. For spammers preferring a service-oriented approach, there’s ItsYourPost.

With these power tools, the defenses of Craigslist have been overrun. Some categories on Craigslist have become over 90% spam. The personals sections were the first to go, then the services categories, and more recently, the job postings.

Craigslist is fighting back. Its latest gimmick is phone verification. Posting in some categories now requires a callback phone call, with a password sent to the user either by voice or as an SMS message. Only one account is allowed per phone number. Spammers reacted by using VoIP numbers. Craigslist blocked those. Spammers tried using number-portability services like Grand Central and Tossable Digits. Craigslist blocked those. Spammers tried using their own free ringtone sites to get many users to accept the Craigslist verification call, then type in the password from the voice message. Craigslist hasn’t countered that trick yet.

Much of the back and forth battle can be followed in various forums.

It’s not clear yet who will win. Craigslist may find something that works. If it doesn’t, however, it could be toast for the success story of Craigslist.”

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Companies: craigslist

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Comments on “Inside Craigslist's Increasingly Complicated Battle Against Spammers”

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John Normal (user link) says:

Re: You are crazy people

People on this board are talking about killing spammers, one person said they want to drive up to a spammers house and shoot them???? Internet people are so scary, they take the slightest thing in life over the top…spammers? or Killers …I choose spammers any day. Crazy, gods speed to normality wackos. Spammers dont drive to your house and hurt you…are you people crazy?? You are talking about killing, shooting, and the spammers are the problem…alas the downfall of mankind has become lonely obsessed internet freaks.

Non-spammer says:

Re: One solution...

That would be like the FBI bringing in cocaine, selling it and then busting the people that buy it. Whats the word? Entrapment… well maybe not so but I’m sure Craigslist wouldn’t win in a lawsuit. They would have a better shot at an actual lawsuit against those companies and not so much the users. Lets take World of Warcraft for example, Blizzard won a 5 million dollar lawsuit against a company that made a bot to play the game automatically. All blizzard could to do the people that used those bots were to ban their accounts. This wouldn’t stop anything though. All this would do is to take the american companies out of the running for competition and force users of CL auto post bots to move to another company that is hosted over seas some where and is out of reach from the US courts. The guy that resells one of the WoW bots, which is made over seas, lives in Miami, drives a Lambo and doesn’t get touched by Blizzard because he doesn’t actually sell the WoW bot but sells a subscription access to his web site where the subscriber gets to download the bot. Now if he is making that much money just reselling the product, imagine how much money the over seas company that makes the product is rolling in.

Danny says:

Two things I think fascinating about this.

1. My gut tells me this is not lots of different spammers gutting CraigsList, but a very small number (maybe one). I have no data to support this gut feeling, but the gut feeling is strong.

2. These parasites are going to destroy their host. They would get much farther much longer if they figured out some sort of symbiotic relationship.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“These parasites are going to destroy their host. They would get much farther much longer if they figured out some sort of symbiotic relationship.”

A symbiotic relationship would mean these scammers are clever. They aren’t. They’re lowlifes who go for the biggest profit with the least possible effort. People with this kind of ethics and IQ (somewhere between the ebola virus and the crackhead who smashed my car window to steal a GPS that wasn’t there) aren’t able to think long-term.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually there are many of them. Someone posted a link to a black hat forum, and there were a lot of people making money off of this. They are using the group/open approach to figure out how to bypass all these safety features.

They are determined that they have every right to destroy CL to make money through spam.

The real gold here is the email lists these bozos generate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well

Agreed, see a spam notice of any kind track its IP to the registered user and kill them.

However, this is much less profitable than reporting news about it, lobbying about it, using it as a politcal grandstanding technique, creating software to combat it, creating software to support it, creating analytical firms to help comabt and suport the combative and supportive effort, get a review commity to review how well the analyzers analyze, and then create 100 blogs about all of it with ad space, not to mention all the bandwith and hardware it takes to do all of those.

Kill some scum or spend millions, in the end what’s it really matter when all you’ve done is be wasteful?

Anonymous Coward says:

Unfortunately, the spammers have won on the personals section.

Over the last several weeks, I have found about 1% of the posts to be non-spam. Many are obvious. They use the same ‘catch phrases’, have programming errors that generate obvious errors (field names present instead of actual values, mishandled quotes, age mismatch between title and body, etc.), and mismatched pictures.

If I can catch most of these obvious spam posts via casual inspection, you would think that a Bayesian filter trained in part by feedback from CL users could do the same.

I don’t know what the ramifications concerning failed posts would be, but it might be better than having sections of the website be completely useless.

John (user link) says:

Defeating CHAPTCHA is a violation of the DMCA

In a recent case decided in the 9th Circuit the District Court ruled that defeating CHAPTCHA was a violation of both 17 U.S.C. 1201(a) and 17 U.S.C. 1201(b). The Court reasoned that CHAPTCHA “both controls access to protected work because a user cannot proceed to copyright-protected webpages without solving CHAPTCHA, and protects rights, of a copyright owner because, by preventing automated access to the ticket purchase webpage, CHAPTCHA prevents users from copying those pages.” Ticketmaster LLC v. RMG Techs., Inc., 507 F.Supp. 2d 1096 at 1111-1112 (C.D. Cal 2007).

Now I know many of “us” disagree with the DMCA however, it looks to me like Craigslist could use this to prevent the distribution of the software these spammers are using. Maybe, just maybe, in this instance the DMCA could be a good thing.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Defeating CHAPTCHA is a violation of the DMCA

The Court reasoned that CHAPTCHA “both controls access to protected work because a user cannot proceed to copyright-protected webpages without solving CHAPTCHA, and protects rights, of a copyright owner because, by preventing automated access to the ticket purchase webpage, CHAPTCHA prevents users from copying those pages.”

CHAPTCHA prevents copying? Now there’s a court that really doesn’t know what it’s talking about. How stupid can they get?

Anonymous Coward says:

A fun solution

Most of these ads are easily identified as bogus. Do what I do, and pretend to be interested in the bogus product, drag it out, waste as much of the scammer/spammers time as possible. Send them mail from bogus accounts, give them phoney telephone numbers, etc.
If they had to dig through hundreds of people pretending to buy whatever they were trying to sell or scam, they would have to work to figure out who was a real target, vs who was just pretending to be a target.We all know they are too lazy to work, or they wouldn’t be trying to rip people off.

Jim H. says:

Re: A fun solution

It would never work in Personals, the most abused section on CL.
Without fail, every spammer in this section leads you to visit xxxblackbook, ifriends, etc.
Whether you actually join or not doesn’t matter; just visiting the target site for one brief page view gets the spammer paid.
Want a real bonus? i friends will pay you $80 if you get someone to join as a FREE account, betting on the come that the free account will becaome a paid account.

Andy`` says:

Did they try using a random simple question system alongside the CAPTCHA? I have no idea whether such a system would be easily bypassable, nor what amount of variation and fresh input would be needed keep up with attempts to get around it, but it could discourage the spammers enough to make them give up, or at least slow down a bit. I’ve seen it work very effectively on smaller scale sites that have had spam problems, so you never know what upscaling the idea could do.

However, how effectively any anti-spam measure works probably, in part, depends on the motivations of the spammer…

Tim says:

Re: question!

Thats it! Make posters answer regional questions that only people who live there could know– like if you lived in sacramento, just ask a question like “what city is next to roseville?” and change the questions all the time. If they actually live there, they would have no problem answering. It would require someone to make new questions all the time, since repeated questions would go into a database for spam programs.

Bernard says:

there is a solution

the simple answer is to charge for posting. CL can charge 99c for single posts and that will address the problem. Spam is not a problem limited to an online world. If the post office was to deliver letters without stamps, it will be killed by “Spammers”. Besides, 99c will allow CL to beef up their services.

Ramez says:

Re: there is a solution

As Bernard said, I think they’ll need to charge as well, but I dont think they will be able to charge per post. That would limit the number of new people that use it as well as the long tail of items people post on there. Instead, I think they should charge $1 per email account you register with them and maybe ask you to set up a small profile. That way, spammers would have to pay $1 for every email they try to register and then you could also tie the credit card to a real address and name. As their email addresses continue getting blocked, it will get more expensive for these spammers to keep registering. Maybe even $0.50 is enough to charge.

J dub says:

Re: there is a solution

CL has it coming. Even in paid categories they are all to trigger happy to blow away your ad if there is even the slightest sense that it is not in the somewhat communist spirit of CL. It’s the worst form of censorship I have ever seen carried out by people who supposedly believe in free speech. And we are not talking about illegal garbage either. Meanwhile legitimate business suffers while they let prostitution thrive save for the government stepping in.

John (user link) says:

Re: there is a solution

Absolutely why not just charge a FEE , to post ALL ads, if they charged what the spam companies do they would make money, cut down spam. The average person wanting to put up an ad can easily pay 40 cents for an ad…it would limit people spamming with software its just simple and makes them money…..Craigs doesnt understand that you cant broadcast on TV free, radio for free, its not something grown on a tree…so its a man made site. So stupid how they can solve the problem and have better postings and a better site by simply charging a nominal fee…plus they have operating costs to run the site so they should just go ahead and charge. Personally I would be happy to pay.

Brad says:

Re: spammers

Craigslist doesn’t really care about the ads or that legitimate ads get flagged & people have to repost. It keeps their user count & posted/reposted ad count high. They claim Billions of hits each day, but I’m guessing the actual count is only millions. All the others are generated from auto-posting tools, & the crusade of flaggers trying to play internet police and causing an endless flow of re-posts.
Craigslist is uniquely positioned to become a commercial enterprise, yet they keep their “non-profit” status… Why? They rely on private & government monies to continue their operations. The more hits, the more $ they can get.

The only solution is to ID Verify users when establishing accounts & eliminate the flagging system all-together. Limit the # of ads that can be placed to about 20 a day, & suspend accounts for 10 days that are spam or fraudulent.

When Legitimate businesses post on craigslist and are shot down by the flaggers, they step up their efforts (such as captcha outsourcing) to combat the attack on their advertising. (Advertising by legitimate business is what drives craigslist, not the personals or pets sections). Legitimate business has the $ and resources to get around CL security features, and as long as there’s money to be made someone will develop programs to get around CL efforts.
I’d like to see less spam, and also less flaggers. As a legitimate business, I’d also be willing to pay for Verified Ads that cannot be flagged.

Paul L says:

CL now needs to charge!!!

How about 99 cents to post with proceeds benefiting charitable causes in that specific CL market? If it not worth 99 cents for a poster to place the ad, it sure isn’t worth my time to read it. Imagine, filtering out all the spam and making CL useful again while benefiting local the local community!

Lucretious (profile) says:

The “Erotic” section is being defended heavily. Thank you Craig!

BTW, that blackhat site seems to be aware of a rumor thats going around that CL will start charging $5 a pop for sections that require phone verification. I’ve heard this myself.

I’m all for it if it decreases spam. I run a weekly ad out of the household services section and would like to see it continue to generate income for me.

joe (user link) says:

one thing is clear...there will be no clear winner

You don’t really need to keep score on this one. Where humans are clicking and the postings are free, there will be spammers, and they will automate (they will start by hand but if its profitable, competition will come and then they will need to scale to keep ahead of each other, not so much Craigslist). The commenter who thinks its mostly 1 guy fails to note that there are several products in the marketplace to assist this sort of advertising,not to mention the many talented programmers that make their own systems so they are not caught when CL develops techniques to counter the techniques of the most common applications. CL has worked harder than almost anyone else of size tocounteact spam, but if they succeeded,they’d be the first ones who did.

Blake (user link) says:

Re: one thing is clear...there will be no clear winner

What REALLY gets my ‘goat’ so to speak, is that they seem to concentrate on single cities.
I live in Atlanta, and just about
– every – single – category –
in the Jobs section is innundated with these pathetic frakking ”work from home___vgthzq4fc6th” and such like type ads – easy to spot but a pain in de derriere iff’n yer really looking for anything OTHER than a scam – I wish Craigs (this might be a solution) would offer a reward to
1) sign in as your client ID to the list
2) track your activity on the List
3) REWARD you for spotting the spam’s!! (30 spotted=free post in a paid section or something like that – hell, there’s lots of ways to pay back – and, eventually you’d have the peeps that develop the spamming s’ware developing stuff that SPOTS the spam because they’d get rewarded for it – nice little twist on reality there, hey?)

I go to a few different cities each day looking for biz, {not posting!!} Replying to posts, and I dont see nearly the amount of spam in any other city – –
Soo, thats my bee-atch for tonite – SEO rules!

Freedom says:

Pay Ads and Human Verification...

Seems like the best way to solve this is to do the $0.99 per ad listed and then follow up with human verification of all postings. The $0.99 will provide enough money for human verification services and also ensure that the person listing is serious.

You could also setup a special verified account holder status and after certain milestones are meet they no longer have to pay and be verified until someones flags their listings as suspect.

Besides that, best way to stay in front of automated listing agents is to constantly change your verification methods – use different CAPTCHA’s, random questions, and keep it as variable as possible. Any system can be broken, but a system that changes every day and is unique for every listing is for all practical purposes a royal PITA for the spammers.

Another interesting idea would be to setup a wiki like volunteers that would review ads before they are listed and can any that are questionable. Essentially local moderators for high-spam sections, etc.


Paul (profile) says:

99 cents per account

Charge 99 cents per account, or 5 dollers per account, just dont charge per post, if your account gets hit with the spam button a few to many times, im sorry, your a spammer.

Put the rules out ahead of time and you will be fine.

somethingawful forms costs I think 20 dollers for an account, Thousands of people pay this fee, mods are free to ban accounts and those who get banned are free to make new accounts, making the website more money. Spammers are non-existant on that website (from a readers point of view)

Brooke says:

Re: 99 cents per account

“if your account gets hit with the spam button a few to many times, im sorry, your a spammer.”

Not true. In my area, spammers actually flag down all the real ads to dominate certain sections. I think craigslist has actually blocked my IP due to my multiple attempts to keep my ad up. The spammers have craigslist convinced I’m a spammer… It’s becoming a useless website.

frustrated says:

Re: Re: 99 cents per account

I agree. It has been over a year and I still can’t respond to any ads. I have been looking for a particular vehicle and found some that I was interested in. Every time I send an email it bounces back. I use a shared IP email server so I have no control over that. The bounce messages says the IP is blocked due to excessive spamming. Why don’t they get software to verify the actual email and view the SPF to confirm the email is not a forgery. I wish the people would offer another option to contact them instead of the craigslist email address.

Anonymous Coward says:

So, what’s going to stop spammers from jacking other people’s account information (bank, credit card, etc.) instead and use those for the 99c charge?

It’s back and forth, a never ending battle. You need to strike at the root of the cause, not the symptoms. What’s the incentive behind spamming anyway? I can never figure it out. But if you take away the incentive, you’ll take away the reason for spammers being there in the first place.

comboman says:

Re: Re:

So, what’s going to stop spammers from jacking other people’s account information (bank, credit card, etc.) instead and use those for the 99c charge?

If I was a criminal with access to someones bank or cc info, I can think of a lot better ways to spend it than funding spam (a different criminal activity with a much lower payout rate).

Haywood says:

It wouldn't make it go a way.....

But it would slow it down if you had to log on to post. I was surprised when I first posted; that you didn’t even need to register to post. The $0.99 per post, or even account idea would work, but it would kill off the free stuff section. CL has grown exponentially because of the open and free nature of it, but that is also its Achilles heel. I do devote as much time as I can to moderating, and so do a lot of others in my area, consequentially, spam isn’t all that bad here.

Steevo (profile) says:

Their business model has run it's course, and just use RSS.

The trouble Craiglist has is that their business model has run it’s course. It no longer works. Free ads are being subverted by the spammers and CL now has to adapt.

Things that are free have no value, and CL likely has insufficient capital to fight fire with fire.

They need to hire human mods to review all ads before they go live. Expensive. A couple weeks of that and the spammers would go away. But they probably can’t do it.

They could sue the people who are posting the spam, but that might cost too much for their “free” business model.

There is no good solution for their method of doing business to fight the legions of spammers who are trying to make money by stealing resources from CL and everyone else.

One thing that makes CL still pretty useful for me is by taking it as an RSS feed. I use Sharpreader to read CL and it picks up my searches and loads them locally.

One thing this does is it gives you the ad “instantly”. You don’t have to click the website to see what the heck that is or whether it’s the same as the one right below it. It’s all there.

Come to think of it, if CL gave you a brief abstract of each ad right in the category list, enough to tell whether it’s spam or not, you wouldn’t have to click on the spam to find out what it is and that might make the spam nearly worthless.

Phill says:

How can you promote a service or product Legally on CL?

I have been looking for new ways to advertise on the net and was told by a friend that CL was a graet place to advertise because of the high exposure. I’ve spent several days researching ways to advertise on CL and all I’ve seen are ways to GAME the system with either software or hiring a firm to post for you like POST2CRAIG or ITSYOURPOST which I’m not even sure are legal and trying to post manually one at a time seems like an effort in futility. This leads me to ask the question is CL a viable way to effectively advertise on the net?

rob says:

Re: How can you promote a service or product Legally on CL?

Hey Phil, it’s unfotunate for you that spammers have created a hostile attitude towards advertising. You know damn well most people hate spam. Craiglist has a “services” section where LOCAL people can advertise their services. Yes, there is a large group of people there, but don’t ruin our experience for us. If Craigslist wanted ads, they would charge for them. Or is it that you’re just looking for free advertising for which you give nothing back? I don’t symapthize with you in that respect, and don’t give me that “but, I’m a small business owner” crap. Follow the rules and don’t cry when no one wants what you’re selling.

rob says:

Re: How can you promote a service or product Legally on CL?

Hey Phil, it’s unfotunate for you that spammers have created a hostile attitude towards advertising. You know damn well most people hate spam. Craiglist has a “services” section where LOCAL people can advertise their services. Yes, there is a large group of people there, but don’t ruin our experience for us. If Craigslist wanted ads, they would charge for them. Or is it that you’re just looking for free advertising for which you give nothing back? I don’t symapthize with you in that respect, and don’t give me that “but, I’m a small business owner” crap. Follow the rules and don’t cry when no one wants what you’re selling.

mkam says:

Re: One solution.

Do you have any idea how many posts are submitted to craigslist per minute. Even if a human can make a spam/no spam decision in a couple of seconds, sustainable for a 8 hour work day, you would still need a ton of reviewers. I think it is probably a scaling problem that can’t be solved with more people.

rockwell says:

Re: One solution.

Remember in the 90’s, when you wanted to post to CL you had to have your ad approved by Craig? Had to sometimes wait a few days to see it show up on the site, but when it got there, you knew it was real. I remember being shocked when CL went to automated posting – it was 6-7 years ago? And am suprised it took this long for it to become a site killing issue…

Dutch says:

stop it at the source

I agree with Brooks, except purchasing the SPAM companies doesn’t sound financial feasible. However I do agree that the best way to stop the spam is to attack it at the source. I’m not sure the legality of a SPAM post on a site such as Craigslist but maybe the company can follow Nintendo’s suit when they raided the MOD chip creators, I guess that may be difficult unless they can prove they used the anti-SPAM software…

Sigmund Leominster says:

Steevo (comment 39) has probably hit the proverbial nail on the head with his comment on the business model based on “free” services. The old adage of “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” is still serviceable and when someone claims something is “free,” it’s worth digging a little to see who benefits – cui bono, as those Romans said.

With Craig’s List, the fundamental issue is that when benefits comes in the shape of a response to a post, the way to increase your chance of getting a response is simply to increase the number of your posts. And if those post take no effort and are free, then the result is clear – spam.

We all want things free. Some people will spend hours online looking for a crack/hack to a program that costs $30 – and if a few hours of your time is worth MORE than that, you’d be better of paying the cash and doing something more productive! But free can also mean poorer quality, no support, flaky performance, and lots of hassle. Sometimes the “free” solution ends up being expensive.

And here is where Craig’s List sits – a great idea and very very free, but now a victim of its own success to the point of near extinction. Like many “free” enterprises before, the choice is now between closing the doors and charging a fee. I hope the later is preferred.

Software Engineer says:

A Solution

For those that recommend charging, this would kill CL’s business model. However, the need to charge is still valid. To reconcile the two, CL needs to partner with a number of companies (itunes, amazon, paypal, a paid email service, etc). The user then has the option to a) purchase a CL account or b) purchase something from a partner store who will essentially verify to CL that the account is valid. I wouldn’t pay to post a small item on CL, but I WOULD buy something from a partner store – that I needed – if that would verify me.

Rachna (user link) says:

Safe Websites

Spaming has to be stopped by some other means. But Charging for the service will not the serve the purpose. It can restrict spams to some extent but it will afect the company’s image in the marke. Craigslist is a free online classified and charging will cause complete change in a business policy.
Other online classified which provide there service for free include and

Anon C. O'ward says:

Theft of Service?

Can someone be charged with ‘theft of service’ if the service is provided free-of-charge. Providing the service has costs associated with it, which spammers are, in effect, stealing by violating the TOS.
If they could, would not anyone providing the software that enables the theft be liable for some kind of criminal enterprise charges?

screw it all says:


everyone who talks about the erotic services section complain about spammers, well all girls post more then one ad on there. The real problem is with craigslist promoting prostitution. Everyone gets mad when they are a legal service and consider it spam, wtf… get mad at the hookers how are spreading stds and setting you up with the cops, not the girls who offer a legal erotic service..

David Rowell says:

Better than CAPTCHA

Very interesting indeed. I’m amazed that OCR systems can read the distorted letters and numbers that are part of creating a Google email account or apparently Craigslist posting. I find it increasingly hard to do this myself!

Here’s an idea – they should replace the character recognition requirement that is the CAPTCHA process with instead a little question/answer such as ‘What is the result if you multiply 2 by two’ or ‘Enter the third word in this sentence into the verification box’, or ‘What day of the week is it tomorrow’ or anything like that. The possibilities of simple question/answer routines are vast, and if they act as a filter requiring people to have a double digit IQ as well that would be a bonus. 🙂

mellymai says:

Charging and flagging don't mix

I use Backpage all the time and have no problem whatsoever with paying to post an ad, but I do think it’s ridiculous that even Backpage has buttons by which you can flag a PAID post. It’s a well known fact that there is not only excessive spam on Craigs and other similar sites, but excessive flagging. If I am a legitimate poster who has paid for my ad, that doesn’t mean that someone can’t come along and for invalid reasons of competition or just plain trolling flag my ad down. If Craigs starts charging for its posts, too, it needs to eliminate invalid flagging, or trolls will be sitting out there getting the biggest kick out of seeing PAID ads disappear for no reason.

SluttyNerdGirl says:

I think they should just pay a few of the wankers that read craigslist personal ads anyway to have authority to pull down obvious spam.

I’m here because my favorite category, Missed Connections, is totally overrun by formulaic ads for fake women looking for dates.

There must be legal issues involved because these all have photos of women. I’m sure these women didn’t give consent to have the spammers use their images.

Simon Lynch (user link) says:

Stopping spammage

We’ve just spent the last 6 months fighting spam on our site. Some lessons:

– Human review is quite ineffective, many spam posts are copies of real posts from real people; we have seen human moderation regularly disagree with our spam detection and on a closer look prove wrong.

– There are different kinds of spammers, running all the way from script-kiddies running scripts, dudes sat in African Internet Cafés to serious hackers (quite a few coming out of Russia).

– Think iterative, don’t try and come up with the best system ever. Start, review, improve. We have got to the point where our accuracy is not really quite high, it is possible!

For those of you asking about how spammers get paid, see here for some examples (also there are some tips on how to stay safe online):

geoff says:

what i don't get is

why is it when i am looking for a stepvan or whatever i see the same bastard’s ad A HUNDRED TIMES ( and yet when i post just TWO similarly-worded yet very distinct sales ads in two different categories to maximize my search results i get a notice saying that it’s “too similar” to another ad. What are these spamers using to have such success? and what kind of fool would pay $4600 for a 30 year old stepvan anyways?

Adria Richards (user link) says:


I’ve been on the move away from landlines for years now. It started for me in 2003 with trying out Vonage. The only line I have is my cell phone but I route most of my calls through Skype and now GrandCentral.

This is a bad move. There could certainly be something in place to establish the age of Skype accounts as a means to verify that they weren’t created just yesterday.

How about authentication to a third party tied into OpenID?

I agree the spam has increased and someone was actually murdered in Minneapolis here after responding to a Craigslist ad ( but blocking VOIP services isn’t the solution.

Mike W says:

CL could prevent some spam by allowing a little more flexibility

There are some pretty simple things that Craigslist could do to help fight some of the spam.

One typical type of spam that I see is when someone posts the same ad in numerous geographic locations, which Craigslist prohibits.

Craigslist should re-think this policy. If someone is selling something that might interest buyers in multiple geographic regions, why not make it so that the poster can post one single ad that can appear in whichever geographic regions the poster chooses?

Similary, if a poster is selling something that fits more than 1 category, allow the poster to specify up to 3 different categories, such that the one ad appears in all 3. (EBay does this.)

post2craig (user link) says:

Post2Craig services

Lately, is getting a bad wrap about it’s services. People need to understand that Post2Craig is set up to help the consumer with valuable postings for Craiglist. will not and cannot post stupid pyramid schemes or cash gifting programs. ITV Ventures or any kind of marketing techniques that you are selling. has the right to post who and what they want. Currently they are helping a lot of consumers post valuable services, and products on Craigslist. If you are interested in posting I urge you to check out but if you are just looking for someone to bail you out because your service is crap and you cannot post on craigslist anymore do not pay because we do not offer refunds.

rob says:

Re: Post2Craig services

p.s. your website looks like you spent all of five minutes to put together with your wack template. But I guess credibility doesn’t matter to you. After all, you ARE doing selling a service in the grey area. I don’t wish you the best of luck on your desperate attempt at a legit business.

SpammersGoAway says:

the answer is comprehensive reform

I read every single posting above and have decided that the only solution is a comprehensive approach:

1.Rotating anti-spam software, because no one version is infallible
2.Human moderators to both screen ads (for legitimacy only, not content) and to remove obvious violators of policy
3.Above to be paid by LEGIT advertisers who partner with CL to display their banner ads, special offers, etc.

Costs for updating steps 1 & 2 would be off-set by revenues from 3. It’d be a wash, and a small price to pay (figurtively speaking) to have our CL back without asking for posters to pay any money out of pocket =)

You are a nut and a criminal says:

Re: Yess.. craigslist is very interesting for spammer

Let me get this…if someone is not hurting anyone, and desperate to sell a product because they lost their job they are bad? Doesnt every marketing book say get your message out????

Nobody wants to earn their living on Craigs, its not glamerous and chances are they are doing it out of desperation to pay the electric or their childs clothing and electric bills. You call them criminsals??

Woud you rather these harmless people posting messages be on a corner selling crack or dope? What are you crazy and that angry that you are saying you will kill over it?

The fact is posting things on the internet saying you are going to chop there heads off, kill them or blow their brains out shows YOU are the criminal and if anyone wanted to track your IP address you would be the one committing a crime with death threats.

I have seen no spammer ever post a death threat, only here where the righteous people who deny those below the poverty level an income. One thing I know for sure is the righteous are always the vermin of society and your death threats are the criminal acts not the spammers posting to sell their solar powered toasters Jerks!

John Doe says:

We the Spammers of Craigslist

We are the largest CL posting company, we have approached craigslist on numerous occasions in order to conduct a merger that will allow paid & free postings and a guaranteed way of permanently removing spam however Newmark still thinks that this is his little baby and he refuses to let it grow. Captcha has been bypassed, Phone verification is crap since we are making more money selling verified accounts than anything else what’s next? Voice recognition? Well guess what we have someone working in craigslist so no matter what comes out we will always get past it even if they invent paid postings! For all those that think that we are a scam well maybe the smaller companies like post2craig and ItsYourPost are but I can guarantee you that every ad we post are legitimate ads for jobs or services since we do what no other company does and that’s quality control, we don’t just post any junk for anyone and never will, we wish to preserve craigslist but not with the crap people post we even tried sending links to all the spam posts and scam ads and they repaid us by shutting down our server, well we are back up and with a vengeance, CRAIGSLIST HAS BEEN ASSIMILATED RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

Peugeot-rider says:

I tend to agree that the most effective anti-spam tool is to make listings not free but it also has consequences. Most of what I put on CL is free so now it will cost to give away and couple that with more people reluctant to drive to pickup will probably mean Goodwill or the Salvation Army will be the best solution again.

Vince says:

C/L and spamm

Yeah I think C/L gets benefits from spammers
I try to stop them
by flagging spamm
and C/L shut me down !!!..
C/L told me they were going to BLOCK ME !
for trying to block spammers,
And all those illegal non paying job listing
AND SOMETHING ABOUT TOO many entries on their data base
I live 30 miles in between 4 different C/L lisiting
So I know that C/L is in bed with The Spammers for the MONEY !!
every good paying job SPAMM
every good freebee SPAMM
every good anything ( NOT GREAT ) SPAMM
You flagg and they kick you off !!!!

?????? lets see ?????

zachary says:

anyone know how to design an interactive site similar to craigslist?

I have a concept and need a websie developed. It has nothing to do with craigslist and will not be competition. If anything it may HELP craigslist customers.

Telecommuting would be ok and while not necessary it would be helpful if you were in the Dallas / Ft worth area.

Part time to start and as it grows we will need full time web support . . . would you be available then too?

if this sounds interesting to you or you know someone that might “fit” please email me at


John says:


That’s sounds really bright, Einstein.
Many of these spammers use trojan horse programs to hijack the computers of innocent people and then use those computer IPs to post spam until the IP is blocked by craigslist.

Fools like you make these suggestions without even thinking about the consequences. Thank God you’re not in charge of policing Cl. You should be ashamed of yourself for even considering such a suggestion.

You are a nut job and criminal says:


Let me get this…if someone is not hurting anyone, and desperate to sell a product because they lost their job they are bad? Doesnt every marketing book say get your message out????

Nobody wants to earn their living on Craigs, its not glamerous and chances are they are doing it out of desperation to pay the electric or their childs clothing and electric bills. You call them criminsals??

Woud you rather these harmless people posting messages be on a corner selling crack or dope? What are you crazy and that angry that you are saying you will kill over it?

The fact is posting things on the internet saying you are going to chop there heads off, kill them or blow their brains out shows YOU are the criminal and if anyone wanted to track your IP address you would be the one committing a crime with death threats.

I have seen no spammer ever post a death threat, only here where the righteous people who deny those below the poverty level an income. One thing I know for sure is the righteous are always the vermin of society and your death threats are the criminal acts not the spammers posting to sell their solar powered toasters Jerks!

PH says:

Spammers on craigslist? - You fools!

All you people talk about is spam! You talk about wits, IQ, etrc…Uh…duh. Think about it! – What is spam? – spam is unsolicited mail you crack heads!!! An organization such as Craigslist may call unwanted ads spam “internally” – but that’s as far as it goes!!! No one put a gun to your head to read it!!! DUH!!! – Screw them! This is their problem if you call it a problem! Oh yeah – and you idiots that keep flaggin everyone else out to put your “self rightious ads in”… – I am the one flagging you back you peice of crap idiots! – Thinking you are all “rightious” all “knowing” and so on…”YOU DO NOT OWN CRAIGSLIST!!!” – It is not for “YOU” to decide anyways!!! – Flag those around you – “YOU” get flagged back and so “THERE GOES YOUR AD TOO” you morons!!!
People talk about spammers “They probably work harder than you do” to get get good affiliated info out to the public in the first place! Honestly, I think most people are “too lazy” to post ads to begin with, so then, they are jealous because the “other guy” had “the brains” to get more ads than they could out on the net!!! – Jealousy!!! – That is what all of this is about! – You are pissed because you do not make good money, and the legit ad posters that actually “work” and “think” “DO!” Think it’s easy to post, and that these people are low life’s etrc, etrc…”TRY IT YOURSELF!” – You talk about killing “spammers” which are actually business people advertising? – Think again!!! – Go “get one of em’ ” …and they might just be military trained like me, and do not miss like me you peice of crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jim D says:

Re: Spammers on craigslist? - You fools!

Yeah, I have to agree. Before people talk about going out and grabbing up people to do this and that to them, (spammer or not) they should really think about it a great deal. I mean, do they really think they are going to go up to someone’s door and do all of this to them? A lot of folks are pcking shotguns for home defense, and if anyone thinks they are going to waltz right in should really think again. They might get a waltz of buckshot right at them in the end…

Master P Jam says:

There are a lot of work at home mother’s out there following instructions from their main companies to post legitimate ads for things like dieting, overall health related products and so on, and they often do not make very much money for their families, but stuck at home with the kids unable to pay babysitting costs. More often than not, they post ads to free classifieds to get the word out. What is not lawful, is unsolicited email! If you send an email to someone without permission, you are breaking the law. If you post adds to classifieds, there is no law broken. At best an organization’s policy may be broken, but that really is their problem. Mainly, it is one thing to have your email invaded. It is another when it comes to classified ads. The other poster is correct, in that no one is putting a gun to your head to read that ad. If you get “suckered” into it, I would say that writer was one hell of a writer and wrote a great subject line/ad body to get your attention in the first place! Do not look at is as getting spammed because you really were not. Instead, give that writer a medal, regardless of your short attention span, and just consider them better than you are. Perhaps the one’s that do well with that, living in better homes and driving better cars than you may make you mad. Do not be mad. Copy that success for yourself, or get a high degree with a high paying job. Ultimately, “We the people” can decide, but you have to get in there and speak up! Until everyone get’s together and make “ad posting” illegal, and form it all into law, we have what we have, and that is it. For now, I will tell you this…I post 1,000 ads per day. I don’t think that you can do that, but I would love to see you try…

Then, I want to know what your definition of spamming really is…Oh yeah, I defend my home rather heavily. Beyond that, what I have standing ready in my yard, I will not tell you, but anyone looking to trespass might be in for an unfortunate surprise…”FACE TOWARD ENEMEY”…click, click, click…bye bye.

jason says:

You people are stupid

HAHAHA! I read everyone of your post on here. Every suggestion you people have to stop spammers will not work. I know because I am one. You people are not code programmers so you really do not know what you are talking about. The only way to stop spam is to shut the internet down. Thats it…period. Everytime they make something to stop spam, the spammers just get around it. There is no possible way to end it. You can’t track IP addresses because we use different ones everytime. and haha no we don’t hijack someones computer with trojens. Trying to find a spammer is like picking up a rock in the middle of the desert and tracking the last person in the world that ever touched it. The only smart thing i saw in there was for there to be some sort of alliance between the spammers and the sites we are posting on. But still we are not going to play by the rules if it means less money. What the hell is wrong with making the most money possible with the least effort possible. I’ll make 800 bucks in one day with out even doing anything. What the hell is so wrong with that. I think that maybe you people are just jealous because you can’t figure out how to do it.

Snoodles says:

For Job Seekers

The real frighting part of all this is the people that are looking for jobs on CL, that send in their resumes to total strangers! Simply do a little research folks! Check the email address in Google. Does it appear in the same ad in 9 other cities? Then it’s SPAM! Contact the “employer” and ask for a FAX number and ask where the are located, I mean an actual street address! If they are a REAL place of employment, they won’t have any problem giving you this info.

JMK says:

Take a leaf out of the Government's approach with Gambling

Ultimately, someone downstream buys something that the spammers’ customers are trying to sell. It’s at that point where the credit card companies can be used as a legal mechanism to shutdown accounts (or reverse charge) those companies who are illegitimately using spam. The government has already shutdown international gambling this way, so there is a precedent for legally enrolling the CC companies in the fight. The final piece of legal mechanism required to make this work: is to have an unambiguous “opt-opt” which cannot be circumvented by any of the wrangling that even legitimate commercial companies try to do with email address databases – the answer – anyone that has “optout” as part of their email address, automatically removes permission for anyone to send them unsolicited mail. If it happens, the user then invokes the legal mechanism above and requires the credit card company “reverse charge” for using their email address, simply by using their purchasing mechanism set up by whatever means the spammer’s customer’s are trying to sell their wares.

Sarah Normal (user link) says:

You are all Crazy Craigs Nut Jobs !!! Losers

Let me get this…if someone is not hurting anyone, and desperate to sell a product because they lost their job they are bad? Doesnt every marketing book say get your message out????

Nobody wants to earn their living on Craigs, its not glamerous and chances are they are doing it out of desperation to pay the electric or their childs clothing and electric bills. You call them criminsals??

Woud you rather these harmless people posting messages be on a corner selling crack or dope? What are you crazy and that angry that you are saying you will kill over it?

The fact is posting things on the internet saying you are going to chop there heads off, kill them or blow their brains out shows YOU are the criminal and if anyone wanted to track your IP address you would be the one committing a crime with death threats.

I have seen no spammer ever post a death threat, only here where the righteous people who deny those below the poverty level an income. One thing I know for sure is the righteous are always the vermin of society and your death threats are the criminal acts not the spammers posting to sell their solar powered toasters Jerks!

Shawn says:

Who gives a fu*K???

Really?? Just skip over it and go to something else. Not very hard to see the spam in their. People call them a lowlife but really your just like them when you have the time to worry about it. I know what is spam immediately and its not very hard to point it out, just don’t click the ad if you don’t like it. Very very easy solution.

Shawn says:


Dumbasses all crying about CL spam. Spam wouldn’t be their if noone actually bought into their program. Also many of these people who are promoting their product are not doing it themselves, they hire people like me and guess what, I have 4-5 clients every week coughing up a $1000 each one to promote what they have. So something is obviously working.

Universal Info Service (user link) says:

Data Entry Job

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Mark says:

It is a Crime... here in Texas and most states




§ 46.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) “Commercial electronic mail message” means an
electronic mail message that advertises, offers for sale or lease,
or promotes any goods, services, business opportunity, property, or
any other article, commodity, or thing of value.
(2) “Electronic mail” means a message, file, or other
information that is transmitted through a local, regional, or
global computer network, regardless of whether the message, file,
or other information is viewed, stored for retrieval at a later
time, printed, or filtered by a computer program that is designed or
intended to filter or screen those items.
(3) “Electronic mail service provider” means a person
(A) is qualified to do business in this state;
(B) is an intermediary in sending or receiving
electronic mail; and
(C) provides an end user of an electronic mail
service the ability to send or receive electronic mail.
(4) “Established business relationship” means a prior
or existing relationship of a person formed by a voluntary two-way
communication between a person and another person, regardless of
whether consideration is exchanged, regarding products or services
offered by one of the persons, that has not been terminated by
either party.
(5) “Internet domain name” refers to a globally
unique, hierarchical reference to an Internet host or service,
assigned through a centralized Internet naming authority and
composed of a series of character strings separated by periods with
the right-most string specifying the top of the hierarchy.
(6) “Obscene” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.
21, Penal Code.
(7) “Sender” means a person who initiates an
electronic mail message.
(8) “Sexual conduct” has the meaning assigned by
Section 43.25, Penal Code.
(9) “Unsolicited commercial electronic mail message”
means a commercial electronic mail message sent without the consent
of the recipient by a person with whom the recipient does not have
an established business relationship. The term does not include
electronic mail sent by an organization using electronic mail for
the purpose of communicating exclusively with members, employees,
or contractors of the organization.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

PROHIBITED. (a) A person may not intentionally transmit a
commercial electronic mail message that:
(1) falsifies electronic mail transmission
information or other routing information for an unsolicited
commercial electronic mail message; or
(2) contains false, deceptive, or misleading
information in the subject line.
(b) A person may not intentionally send a commercial
electronic mail message that uses another person’s Internet domain
name without the other person’s consent.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

person may not intentionally take any action to send an unsolicited
commercial electronic mail message unless:
(1) “ADV:” is used as the first four characters in the
subject line of the message or, if the message contains any obscene
material or material depicting sexual conduct, “ADV: ADULT
ADVERTISEMENT” is used as the first word in the subject line of the
message; and
(2) the sender of the message or a person acting on
behalf of the sender provides a functioning return electronic mail
address to which a recipient may, at no cost to the recipient, send
a reply requesting the removal of the recipient’s electronic mail
address from the sender’s electronic mail list.
(b) A sender shall remove a person’s electronic mail address
from the sender’s electronic mail list not later than the 3rd day
after the date on which the sender receives a request for removal of
that address under Subsection (a)(2).

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

MAIL LIST PROHIBITED. A sender or a person acting on behalf of the
sender may not sell or otherwise provide the electronic mail
address of a person who requests the removal of that address from
the sender’s electronic mail list under Section 46.003(a)(2),
except as required by other law.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.005. CRIMINAL PENALTY. A person commits an offense
if the person intentionally takes any action to send a message
containing obscene material or material depicting sexual conduct in
violation of Section 46.003(a)(1). An offense under this section
is a Class B misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.006. CIVIL PENALTY. (a) A person who violates
this chapter other than Section 46.009 is liable to the state for a
civil penalty in an amount not to exceed the lesser of:
(1) $10 for each unlawful message or action; or
(2) $25,000 for each day an unlawful message is
received or an action is taken.
(b) The attorney general or the prosecuting attorney in the
county in which the violation occurs may:
(1) bring suit to recover the civil penalty imposed
under Subsection (a); and
(2) seek an injunction to prevent or restrain a
violation of this chapter.
(c) The attorney general or the prosecuting attorney may
recover reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining a civil penalty
under this section, including court costs, reasonable attorney’s
fees, investigative costs, witness fees, and deposition expenses.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.007. DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES. A violation of
this chapter is a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice
under Subchapter E, Chapter 17, and any public or private right or
remedy prescribed by that subchapter may be used to enforce this
chapter, except as provided by Section 46.008(d).

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.008. CIVIL LIABILITY. (a) A person injured by a
violation of this chapter may bring an action to recover actual
damages, including lost profits. A person who prevails in the
action is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
(b) In lieu of actual damages, a person injured by a
violation of this chapter arising from the transmission of an
unsolicited or commercial electronic mail message, other than an
electronic mail service provider, may recover the lesser of:
(1) $10 for each unlawful message; or
(2) $25,000 for each day the unlawful message is
(c) In lieu of actual damages, an electronic mail service
provider injured by a violation of this chapter arising from the
transmission of an unsolicited or commercial electronic mail
message may recover the greater of:
(1) $10 for each unlawful message; or
(2) $25,000 for each day the unlawful message is
(d) A court may not certify an action brought under this
chapter as a class action.
(e) At the request of a party to any action brought under
this chapter, the court, in its discretion, may conduct a legal
proceeding in such a manner as to protect the secrecy and security
of the computer, computer network, computer data, computer program,
and computer software involved to prevent a possible recurrence of
the same or a similar act by another person and to protect any trade
secrets of a party to the action.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.009. NOTICE TO ATTORNEY GENERAL. (a) A person who
brings an action under Section 46.008 shall give notice of the
action to the attorney general by sending a copy of the petition by
registered or certified mail not later than the 30th day after the
date the petition was filed and at least 10 days before the date set
for a hearing on the action.
(b) The attorney general may intervene in the action by:
(1) filing a notice of intervention with the court in
which the action is pending; and
(2) serving each party to the action with a copy of the
notice of intervention.
(c) A person who violates Subsection (a) is liable to the
state for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $200 for each
violation. The attorney general may bring suit to recover the civil
penalty imposed under this subsection in the court in which the
action is instituted.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

MESSAGE. An electronic mail service provider may on its own
initiative block the receipt or transmission through its service of
any commercial electronic mail message that the provider reasonably
believes is or will be sent in violation of this chapter if the
(1) provides a process for the prompt, good faith
resolution of disputes related to the blocking with senders of
commercial electronic mail messages; and
(2) makes contact information publicly accessible on
its Internet website for the purpose of dispute resolution.

Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 46.011. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY. (a) In this section,
“telecommunications utility” has the meaning assigned by Section
51.002, Utilities Code.
(b) A telecommunications utility or an electronic mail
service provider may not be held liable under Section 46.002 or
46.003 and is not subject to the penalties provided under this
(c) A person injured by a violation of this chapter does not
have a cause of action against a telecommunications utility or an
electronic mail service provider under this chapter solely because
the utility or provider:
(1) is an intermediary between the sender, or any
person acting on behalf of the sender, and the recipient in the
transmission of electronic mail that violates this chapter;
(2) provides transmission, routing, relaying,
handling, or storing, through an automatic technical process, of an
unsolicited commercial electronic mail message through the
utility’s or provider’s computer network or facilities; or
(3) provides telecommunications services, information
services, or other services used in the transmission of an
electronic mail message that violates this chapter.
(d) An electronic mail service provider that provides for a
dispute resolution process as described by Section 46.010 may not
be held liable for blocking the receipt or transmission through its
service of any commercial electronic mail message that the provider
reasonably believes is or will be sent in violation of this chapter.
(e) A person may not be held liable under this chapter for a
commercial electronic mail message that is sent as a result of an
error or accidental transmission.
(f) A sender may not be held liable for the transmission of
an electronic mail message that violates this chapter if the
(1) contracts in good faith with an electronic mail
service provider to transmit electronic mail messages for the
sender; and
(2) has no reason to believe the electronic mail
service provider will transmit any of the sender’s messages in a
manner that violates this chapter.

Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1053, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

judy moores says:

spam /overposting

i am sick of looking for a used bedroom set and 25 out of 30 postings being from mesa mattress just by adding a # behind their name. im to the point of not using craigslist any more this is a shame that these businesses get away with this free crap of addvertisement. i dont care if they were giving away a bed i would not deal with this business ever

Mike B. - Reno, NV says:

Reno Craigslist Jobs - spam

Hunting for a job on Criagslist has become a nightmare trying to figure out legitimate from not. It appears that approximately 95% of ads for jobs on Craigslist are now fraudulent / phishing or frankly just scams. After reading your article I now know why. We the job seekers have been trying to police and educate other individuals with our own posts but, for some funny reason they can remove our ad, but if we try to remove the spam ad, it just sits there. LOL We are posting the following guidelines:

This is an awesome place to find jobs however be cautious when applying for jobs
here in regards to sending our of your personal information/resume, where the following information does not appear.

REMEMBER, LEGITIMATE companies have nothing to hide, and display the following information proudly.

*+* Company Name
*+* Company Location
*+* Company Contact Information
*+* Specific Job Location watch for general locations like “Tahoe” “Reno/Tahoe”
*+* Description of Job
*+* Compensation


+*+ Poster Requests money/cash to process application for submitting of resume
+*+ Links in the ad takes you to another web site and…
+*+ The Website requires one to give personal information before giving any job info
+*+ Website does not provide a secure connection (S) in the browser address bar i.e. httpS://
+*+ Sites that claim to be representative of a large organization like Home Depot
+*+ Website does not contain any contact information for company or agency
+*+ Send an email to the email link in the ad, request info, see what comes back
+*+ Pay particular attention to regular email address, If you have questions email mail them and see what comes back, and search then in Google
+*+ Watch for unrealistic Wages for job classification i.e. 45k for a receptionist
+*+ Watch for unrealistic range of pay for job classification

There are individuals and entities out there attempting to obtain our
personal information to use it for who knows what. Only apply with reputable, verifiable, Companies, for all other tag appropriately

A fellow Job seeker

spammer (user link) says:

I make spam

I would just like to comment on this a little bit seeing as how I regularly use Craigslist to generate traffic to affiliate programs.

The truth is that there is a big difference between SPAM and SCAM.

And not all spam is necessarily bad.

My spam DOES fall primarily in the jobs category. However I’m not trying to obtain personal information. If a user were to follow my link, and sign up with my affiliate (by posting a resume), I make $1 and they actually get their resume submitted to the job that they applied for. (At no cost to them)

Basically my strategy is to sign up people for websites like

If you browse some forums for affiliate marketers you’ll see that most (but not all) marketers do things like this. There are very few people out there that are actually trying to phish your personal information.

If your still reading let me give you one piece of advice from the “bad guys” perspective.

If you get led to the website of a large reputable company that you recognize, go on ahead and sign up. If you never heard of the company before, do a quick Google search to see how legitimate they are. Know the difference.

And consider this as well, how many companies that are hiring post to Craigslist? Probably a very small percentage of them. Thanks to people like me, Craigslist surfers are able to find jobs that might have otherwise never made it to CL.

todd (user link) says:

Let the marketplace rule

I am called a “spammer” when I want to post one ad a day in different cities promoting my home based business. I have NEVER sent anyone an email that didn’t request it and I have shown many people a real way to profit from home, yet I am forced to do the things that I can do to get around CL issues and I will always be able to get around them and so will others. It’s a game that is played and those of us that actually enjoy the game will find ways to post our ads. The solution is to let the marketplace rule. Let the buyer beware and sort through the ads or simply charge a fee.

DZ says:

CL Auto Poster / Plimus = SCAM

do not buy from these people, the software will work for a few weeks then stops. then they try to take money from you claiming that there is another vendor that is the legit owner… it’s all the same company just one big scam.

Also Pamela Martinsek at Plimus is the manager there and runs this operation; I have reported them to the FTC and will to the IC3/FBI as a fraud/scam.

Do not waste your money.

Jim says:

I got ghosted and I'm not a spammer

Yeah, this sucks. I posted 10-15 ads around the country for a nationwide service that I provide linking to my website.

Within a few minutes my posts appeared to go live. It was a few hours later that I realized that none of the ads actually were posted, they just appeared to be.

I think even legitimate people have to find some black hat way to get around CL’s anti spam stuff. Otherwise you are limited to one post in one city (your city) and thats it.

Onefedup says:

Spammers = Scammers = Scum

Desperate people are looking for work and being misled by false job offers just to get their personal information which is used against them and/or those they know. Since I am one of those who are out of work and have been hurt by spammer/scammer/scums, I have taken up the cause of reviewing Craigs Lists Job section on a continuing basis – If I even remotely suspect stink I flag the ad and notify CL. So if your ad was flagged and removed – maybe it was me – go fuck yourself!

martin barnes says:

craigs list spammers

I get so tired of the garbage from spammers that take my email off of craigs list. in a fit of rage and not thinking clearly I created an free email account and decided to send them their own stuff – except I sent them several hundred copied of the same thing. I figure that they want to hear from me or they wouldn’t send the email address.
So I cc’d them about 50 times in each email and sent about 5 of them. Imagine what would happen if 10 people did that to the same email address? They might find something else to do.

Michael says:

OK how about this?

Craigslist new anti spam posting strategy:

1. You must make a simple account that uses IP address, email address, password and phone number.

2. It will be free to post on craigslist but you must pay a deposit via Credit Card or Pay-pal (returnable if you choose to close your account) (A vaild phone number would also be required)

3. Use of an auto-dial (like the computers use for telemarketing over the phone), to call and verify an automated captcha question sent to you when you start your account.(i.e. please say in English the verification word sent to you in your confirmation e-mail)

4. If your message gets flagged, it isn’t removed. It is only temporarily placed in a new category called (suspected spam) where users can vote, comment and the poster can defend the message if they wish. Maybe a flag could even require the auto-dialer to call and confirm the account again. (It should have an option to change your password through the automated system to keep people from stealing accounts))

5. Repeated violations = Your deposit is taken for violation of TOS on craigslist. To re-activate your account, you must submit a satisfactory letter of explination or re-pay the deposit.

Tritech (user link) says:

Craigslist just isn't creative enough!

Did anyone ever visit “” ten years ago? What was interesting about is that every time you hit it, it acted randomly and led you to different pages and different options. Craigslist needs to apply some A.I. to this idea and make users jump through random hoops to get a posting put up. Vary the code on a page based on multiple factors such that automated agents can’t parse it: no two Craigslist authentication pages are the same in code nor in appearance. Combine false CAPTCHA images with instructions in somewhat terse English that explain what CAPTCHA is the correct one to fill out. Record which methods any given IP address is most successful with, and use that information to serve up more of the unsuccessful ones to that IP, effectively poisoning the spammer’s authentication method. Limit CAPTCHA authentication timing to ~30 seconds so that failure to respond fast enough results in an invalid CAPTCHA authentication, effectively rendering middleman software that presents them to human solving farms incapable of producing responses fast enough due to the latency involved in such operations. Craigslist isn’t approaching this like they’re dealing with humans armed with computers, they’re using concrete blocking techniques like blocking IPs and phone verification types instead of thinking with their own “fuzzy logic.” We know the spammers use human problem-solving agents paid a penny per solution to bypass human authentication, so we target the weak link by using their latency against them; we know that spammers tend to leave “signatures” that tip everyone off (using “Raleigh/Durham/Ch” as the “city” in the “raleigh/durham/CH” section was a dead giveaway, because no human would post such a thing for their city!) so we block those signatures. We know they automatically repost ads when we notify them that the ad is flagged or removed, so we don’t notify them that the ad is gone. Perhaps we show them a listing that includes their removed ad while others don’t see it.

I just don’t think Craigslist is creative enough in their filtering efforts.

andy says:

cut the spam

One thing CL can do right now is to eliminate to multiple geographic area in each category, for example, in Manhattan NYC, they have each area in the city (about 40)as a sub category, spammers can multiple listings in each sub-category that will appear in the main category. The CL system only block duplicate ads in the same category, thereby, allowing the spam to continue.

I know this would work (user link) says:

A simple answer to the Beijing problem

The Beijing spammer is a MAJOR problem.My solution involves the graphic for contact info they use to avoid text filtering.
The properties of those graphics (width,height and byte length or even byte length alone) are unique enough for global banning or removing posts that contain them.
This would take little time to code and even less time to collect parameters of new images.Now if only Craigslist had contact info…

roy says:

I agree that craigslist and the spammers should work something out.. maybe craigslist could post ads for the “spammers” so that way the spammers would not have to post on craigslist but instead have their own site ad posted on craigslist with a direct link to the spammers site. although no on will purchase from the spammers ad because they are all in china….
dunno.. maybe craigslist needs to start putting ads from other companies to generate more income to fight off spammers.

I used to use craigslist to sell and buy all the time under electronics… but now all i see are spammers and its really sickening so I do not use craigslist anymore. too bad soo sad….

Martu says:

CL and sites automatically replying back to posted adds with links to dating sites or other psrsonals sites

How do they do this? I get replys to my postings, but I also get replies from seming individuals but the reply always contains links to age verificaton sites, or other personals web sites. The are always come from Why isn’t GOOGLE doing something about this problem? It’s using their serves and bandwidth.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve been posting and replying to CL personal ads for like 2 years now, and out of all the replies i’ve gotten over the past 2 years, only 2 of them were real, one only waned to compliment my dreads, the other wasn’t interested…fucked up. You know what’s dumber, these automatic bots that reply and respond to emails and ads are more than likely responding to their own ads and emails, lol. Imagine that conversation.

Replier –
“Hey, i’m a hot and sexy girl who’s so lonely and wanting you t o come over right now!”

Ad Poster –
“Oh my God thank you so much for replying to my ad, I’m dripping wet thinking about how much I want you. I just want to be safe and make sure you’re not some crazy person, please visit this site and come find me…I’ll be waiting”

Replier –
“Glad you’re interested in me, If you go to my website you’ll find way more pictures of me, and you can view my webcam too. See you soon.”

Retarded, lol

Donald Courtney says:


Two possible scams by the same scammer

First possible scam (e-mal to me)
Thanks for your prompt reply.Am okay with the price and the condition,
and like have said my mode of payment will be through cashier
check,Concerning the shippment, my shipper will be at your place for
the pickup of the item and am going to include the amount of shipping
charges into the cashiers check am going to send to you,so when you
have this, you will deduct the amount for your item and have the rest
money sent to my shipper for them to come for the pick up of the item
for me at your place..I really wish to be there to check out the item
but i have a tight schedule i will call you as soon as the check is
made out to u and pls stay in touch with me .
so i will like to have the following so that the payment can be
mailed out to you
Full Name to be on the check
Full contact Address ,
your Zip Code
phone number
Reply me soon.
Thanks brown

Second possible scam
Re: 1983 Toyota Truck – $999 (Las Vegas, NV)‏
From: Kelvin Martins (
Sent: Tue 7/07/09 7:44 AM
To: Donald Courtney (

Thanks for the quick response to my earlier I
said i will like to buy the item and I will have love to come for for inspection but I am a busy type and also my business will not allow me to come for the inspection.

I will also like you to know that i will be making the via
check due to the distance ,I will need you to provide me with the following information for my Client facilitate the mailing of the payment.

1.Your full name……….
2.Your mailing / postal address(NOT P,O BOX )…..
3.Your phone number………

**I will like you to know that you will not be responsible for the shipping I will have my mover come over as soon as you have receivedthe payment**

Also I want you to know that the check will come with an excess amount, rather than the actual amount of the Stuff. So the balance will be send to my Mover (for swift & quick pick-up) once the check cleared from bank.

NOTE: Do withdraw the advert from Craigslist

Do understand with me that everything is OK from here, you should have the check in the next few days.

Kindly let me know if this sound good to you, and once I confirm from you, payment will be mail out. Thanks again for your understanding,
and I will wait to hear from you soon.

Have a nice day.

K. Martins

My answer to both was:

Dear sir:
I am sending you this this second notice. It seems that you did not receive the first one.
I have been advised not to accept any cashier’s checks as per the note below. Therefore I must insist on a cash payment for the truck. I do not pay shipping on my items. It is cash deal and you pick up the merchandise. I hope we can still do business. Please advise me of your intensions.
Thank you
distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier’s check

you receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen.
cashier’s check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or for just about anything else of value.
value of cashier’s check often far exceeds your item – scammer offers to “trust” you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

I am in hope that your fraud division can catch this scammer and others like him.

Matt K. (user link) says:

It is not hard to stop spammers

The MORONS that run Craig’s List, refuse to use technology to regulate their site. The spammers are ripping it apart… soon people will get fed up with it.

Many places like say criagslist gets more traffic than any other site…but the truth of the matter is that the traffic is BOT traffic, which makes it pretty irrelevant traffic.

The hyper about this traffic is pure moronic, its BOT traffic which means it is WORTHLESS traffic and full of scams.

Craig himself is a moronic, nerdy fool that is stuck in web0.1 backk when the web was just links and text with NO security in place at all… he REFUSES to change and hires people that clearly do not know how to stop the spam.

The problem with Free For All’s is that you WILL get spam. You can try to stop this with tracking IP addresses and cookies, but all of which can be circumvention by proxies and cookie cache flushing…

The way google deals with Click fraud is by having a combination of computer programs, but mostly filtered by HUMANS… google can afford this because, google is a well oil company, unlike CraigsCrap(List) which does nothing to try and make the most out of potential profits.

until Craigslist hired technologically savvy internet geeks, that know HOW to combat internet spam/fraud/bots as well as real staff filtering what the BOT’s can not… craigslist is going to become nothing more than a BOTNET full of worthless BOTs and no more humans.

Professional Spammer (user link) says:

There are some retarded PPL out there I guess.

Are you joking me. Do you guys have any idea how much money is made from posting ads on craigslist? Companies and ppl a like are making 10’s of thousands a day. You think that isn’t the case? Good! Enjoy working that 9-5 while I relax on the beach making more then a doctor while my posting software does all the work.

Just because some ppl are spammers doesn’t make them scammers. Its just a black hat method of funneling traffic from a rich community to your business, offer, product, etc.

Bottom line is no matter what changes are implemented its only going to make it more worth going through all the loop holes to get even better traffic with less saturation.

googlebotz (profile) says:


These people really piss me off,they spam craigslist with their garbage and it is impossible to flag them and if you
call them out they flag you in microseconds with their programs that are against craigslist TOU.
The only way to get rid of these pos people is to start flagging forums in your city.It takes up to 300 people to
flag a BOTPRO tool because of rotating proxies.

googlebotz (profile) says:


These people really piss me off,they spam craigslist with their garbage and it is impossible to flag them and if you
call them out they flag you in microseconds with their programs that are against craigslist TOU.
The only way to get rid of these pos people is to start flagging forums in your city.It takes up to 300 people to
flag a BOTPRO tool because of rotating proxies.

googlebotz (profile) says:


These people really piss me off,they spam craigslist with their garbage and it is impossible to flag them and if you
call them out they flag you in microseconds with their programs that are against craigslist TOU.
The only way to get rid of these pos people is to start flagging forums in your city.It takes up to 300 people to
flag a BOTPRO tool because of rotating proxies.

Kaz (profile) says:

Anti-Spam Obsessives

The real problem is that the anti-spam measures, as noted in the article, do not work.

What they do, as with gun prohibition, is punish the legitimate users. They’ve made posting, or replying, ever-more complicated, until this damned phone verification thing, which for me is the final straw.

I hate the constant struggle to post, far more than the annoying spam.

I’ve had an account on CL for years, and suddenly now THAT account has to be verified? I could see if it were a new account, but this is just absurd.

dan says:

emails sent to email address never used in sign-up

Spammers are contacting us not through the email we opened a Craigslist account with. How did they get that email address when we never typed it? Now, instead of getting emails sent to the intended address, spam email is now coming in daily at a protected address.

What don’t spammers understand? Go after clients who want your product. What a waste of their time to go after uninsterested clients who will say no.

Fae Queen says:

It's very frustrating for legitimate users

I live in a house with 4 other people, all of us have Craigslist accounts, but we all share an internet connection and a phone number. I’ve tried to write to them to ask what I have to do to get verified, but they won’t answer. I can’t post some ads, and I make a lot of my money off of Craigslist. I don’t know what to do about this, because CL doesn’t trust anyone now, they just think we’re all spammers.

Mike Mathiesen (user link) says:

Trump Network Marketing on Craigslist a HUGE SUCCESS

Yes, I have undergone all of the problems stated above in Craigslist anti-American activities and strategies, but NOW am using a great program NOW that results in a high no. of new Distributors in my Trump Network. MAKING MONEY has never been easier. to learn more about how I use CL to make tons of money. You can TOO. Will train.

post free ad (profile) says:

top india classified site

CL should surreptitiously purchase a couple of the companies that sell the spam programs and gather data on their users, then use the data for lawsuits or, perhaps, make it available to some of the more vigilante style CL users. Yes, yes, ethical concerns and all that, but man it must be tempting.

india no1 top classified site

post free ad (profile) says:

top india classified site

CL should surreptitiously purchase a couple of the companies that sell the spam programs and gather data on their users, then use the data for lawsuits or, perhaps, make it available to some of the more vigilante style CL users. Yes, yes, ethical concerns and all that, but man it must be tempting.

india no1 top classified site

lowcostbrain (user link) says:

Selling Best PVA's at only $4 - 72 hours replacement guarantee

Hi there,

We’re selling Craigslist PVA’s at $4 each with a 72 hours replacement guarantee. Our PVA’s are made by real people with unique US Ip’s and phone numbers to ensure maximum quality.

We are craigslist posters ourselves so you can make sure we deliver quality accounts. We do follow all rules of creating them, everything is highly tested.

Also, when buying from us, please state if you want them sealed or not (1st post created by us). We can offer fresh accounts (made right away without 1st post) or sealed accounts. We ran some tests ourselves and some of the accounts tend to last longer if the 1st post and the next ones are done in the same niche. Anyways, it’s your choice. We can deliver both types. The only difference from our side it’s time as you might have to wait a little bit longer for fresh PVA’s.

Also, if you want to receive the socks5 ip : port used to create the accounts please state it. It’s 50% chance that the socks might work even after a longer time so you can increase your success rate.

We usually deliver within the first 12 – 24 hours but, I’m not gonna lie here – I don’t know yet the power of this market, we might have some delays here and there. Please bare with us.

Here’s a list with what you get from each account you purchase from us:


Should you be interested please contact me on yahoo at: ” cimincidip ” or visit us directly at our main website We accept : Paypal, WMZ Webmoney, Moneybookers, and Plimus.

Thank you!

Dr. Cooper says:

FILE A LAWSUIT - make $1000's on the spammers

As an attorney my suggestion is this:

CL is a private entity. They can create and mediate their own rules. I would strongly suggest that CL create a user agreement form that must be electronically signed for each profile where the user agree’s to comply with all rules, and furthermore agrees to pay a heavy penalty, waiving their right to arbitration, for violating the contract. ALL users would sign this – you and I at home, and Joe Businessman planning to spam.

When a user finds a spam, it is sent to CL legal department and CL can take them to court and drain them to the statutory maximum FOR EACH ACCOUNT VIOLATION.

I would also suggest that this agreement make them acknowledge that both craigslist AND any other user who contacts craigslist can bring such a civil lawsuit.

One time in court for a few thousand dollars per account will stop spamming through THIS particular institution immediately.

If this were the case, I would be on CL everyday looking for spammer JUST so that I could get in on a lawsuit with CL against them.

This would require broadening their legal department, BUT the profit alone in lawsuits would more than make up for the salaries – especially if the attorney’s are any good.

I would gladly put together a team of attorney’s to make this happen.

Jay (profile) says:

Their business model has run it's course, and just use RSS.

The way I see it is that they have been so prevelent in there spamm that only a moron would reply to one . If we all just stopped replying to them. Put a specific phrase request in the subject. Delete anything that says anything other than that phrase, then the spammers would not benefit period, and they would have to find another way to slime people, or better yet, forced to go out and get a REAL job. The only reason they exist is because people are stupid enough to reply to there crap. If you see a link they send to another site, delete the e-mail. If they request that you go to an age verification site, then delete that e-mail because those sites are scams, and they will suck your credit card dry if you give them that info. Nothing is “FREE” If users on Craigslist want to really combat these pathetic liars, then you just delete, delete, delete! Real people will give real answers and will NOT ask you to go to another site, so that is the best way to get rid of them. Ignore them,and they will go away. Do I support a fee to advertise on CL…IF it is another way to ad to the demise of the spammers then I say yes to that idea!

DuLe Noted (profile) says:

End spamming!

For as long as I’ve owned a computer (10 years) I’ve hated spam and spammers. I’ve read countless forums and suggestions about how to end it and them. Sadly, instead of betting better, the spam problem continues to worsen.

What is usually glaringly missing from these years of discussion is what I consider to be a simple solution: require every new computer buyer/owner to watch a video discussing spam (call it Computing 101 – required reading). Obviously, spammers exist because at least a *few* people buy into their so-called product.

If everyone would use their heads instead of their emotions and realize no stranger from Nigeria has $1,000,000 sitting in a bank awaiting you to claim it, no company is going to give you a life of ease if you simply fill out a form, and no super-hot chick on CL is simply dying to meet you (all you have to do is sign up – and pay a monthly fee to meet her) the spammers would have no one buying their sh*t — and be gone overnight.

Stop the naive customers and you’ll stop the spammers….

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

David Jones (user link) says:

how about charging 1cent per post?

If anyone really wants to post on Craigslist, 1cent is nothing. For spammers, it does add up.

I know it’s kind of ruinning the “free post” spirit. But is it worth spending tons of money and resource to fight with spammers? It doesn’t seem the war is ending.

I have a business in online self storage listing. I wanted to offer free posting. But after seeing what happens to Craigslist, I don’t see its feasibility at all.

W Tsien says:

Craiglist Spammers

The solution to spammers destroying Craigslist is the same solution for prevent hacking. Long prison sentences for those convicted of the offense. A few 5-10 year sentences would work wonders. All of these people can be prosecuted using existing law that addresses denial of service attacks (at least in California) or other statutes that deal with damaging telecommunications systems. As long as we consider spammers and hackers as minor annoyances they will continue to get away with what they do. Craig – go to your congress people and get some legislation written.

Isuelt (user link) says:

Charging for ad posts

Many people might initially complain about getting charged for something that was once free. So many site have free posting. Take for instance garage sale ads. How many people want to pay to post those. Sites that people post local estate sales, garage sales, yard sales and other community sales on, really have no way to charge a penny for each post. Micro-payments are still a developing area for the Internet.

Personally I can see the value in the “pay to post” method. It is affordable for individuals but for spammers it could be expensive.

Dave Rogers says:

How thick are you lot

Long prison sentences?

Spamming isn’t a crime. You may not like it, bit it is perfectly legal.

And any lawsuits in congress FAIL becuase the VAST majority of spam is from outside the US. Even the stuff that is from the UK is routed to places like India, Bolivia, Ghana, Russia, China etc.

Spammers rule. One ad on CL gets you nothing. Post hundreds. Bot it up. We need to make a living. Craigslist, and all the other sites our OURS.

You wanna sell somethiing – buy your own web space and sweat at “legal” IM while your family starves.

Then you’ll realize that mass automation of advertising is now the ONLY thing that works on the internet. Period.

There are 140 pages of internet drivel for every man woman and child in the world. And 3/4 of those don’t even HAVE internet. That means 640 pages per Web savvy person in the world.

The chances of some wad trying to sell his lawnmower with one “legal” ad is so miniscule – you might as well try and fill a sieve with piss.

Spam spam and spam again. The internet is too big – and now only spamming works.

Join in or drown

As for micropayments. I make $600 a day ewhoring to movie porn sites with 200 CL ads a day. If I had to pay $2 for those 200 ads I wouldn’t even notice it. If I had to pay a dollar an ad it would still be worth it!

Ha ha ha ha. Yes I am laughing at YOU – SUCKER

Shane Roach (profile) says:

Craigslist and spammers

The problem is not 100% with the spammers. Any time you offer something “free”, you need to expect people to take advantage of that. The problem is CL’s technology is dinsaurific concatenation board style advertising. Basically, the newest is on top, and on top is the best place to be in advertising — first place you look.

CL needs to get past this model. Backpage is doing interesting things with this. A person’s posts go all into their most recent posting. So all your old posts are deleted and rolled into the most recent, and then the new one is on top. That still is not quite ideal though. There’s still an identifiable TOP there. Logic needs to be developed as to how people view CL adds other than just latest first.

At this point, CL is deleting legitimate adds of people just trying to overcome the spam by posting more often. They need to break down and admit their model is not working any longer. Time to do at least a little more work.

D says:


Hey Mike, im on your side, i dont know when this SPAMMER CLAN is gonna grow up, Craigslist is a daily benefit to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. It helps the person who is looking for someone, looking for jobs, opportunities, a second chance, an opening spot light ..anything. and i know Craigslist wants to help people and unfortunately we have people of the same kind trying to bring it down. No wonder this society will never prosper.
We kill ourselves. And this comment wont change a thing, because when there is nothing left and opportunity is out the window, there will be no one to cry to.

To all ANTI-CRAIGLISTERS: When all the smoke clears and the glass shatters, dont expect to have sandals on, because you’re gonna have to walk barefoot on all the shit you broke.

b says:

they could do the following also
Sign up with a credit card
charge per post id pay $1.00 to post my business add every two days

require accounts to be like ebay and feedback for each company allowing people to see the spammer accounts if any at all

make a puzzle instead of obscured text

team up with ebay and link ebay ,craigslist accounts , u get banned on craigslist u get banned on ebay

a craigslist installer with something like punkbuster on it allowing only one computer to acess the account not ip’s and allowing only one post per account every 48 hours

give up sell the site and let someone elce deal with it

Some gai says:

Missing the point.

2 years this convo is been going on. I’m glad at least one spammer got in here even if he was small time.

You guys are seriously underestimating how much money there is in spam.

Compare it to the cost of google adwords, every eyeball that looks at it can be at least a dollar or more in some competitive niches. People are spending $2 or more for in some job/career related searches.

So if a craigslist post maybe gets 50 earnest searchers (which is a very conservative estimate) before getting flagged, that could be worth about $100 dollars to some internet marketers. There is literally no way to charge

They’re paying for actual humans that sit behind a computer busting captchas. They’re paying for hundreds, sometimes thosuands of private proxies, never mind all the scrapers out there for public proxies. Craigslist accounts are sold for a measly 2-3 bucks on average.

The only possible thing I can see winning is human moderation. But even then, most of the times the spam is a bait and switch… I.E. legitimate job posting goes to sign up for this training program, etc. Nobody even knows it spam until the spammer has thousands of emails ready to cook off.

FYI, I don’t spam as I moved on to biggers and betters but I remember back in the day when Craigslist and other sites literally had no preventative measures. Back then it was set up your script in 5 minutes and let it run over night and wake up $5000 in your account. lol. Little did I realize just how far it could be taken.

Eric says:

You have to spam now to be on CL

I’m a business owner in NYC, and unfortunately the spam has gotten so bad that you’re forced to join in. I license out office space to small businesses, and get a significant amount of traffic from craigslist. Used to be that I could post once every day or two. Now, my competitors post and repost so often that if I don’t post again in a few hours, I’m on the third page and lose all my traffic. So I find myself scrounging for phone numbers to get through the CL traffic and even considering purchasing CL autoposting software. I don’t want to be a spammer, I just want to play on an even playing field.

Nick O says:

Not every auto-poster is a spammer

Having read almost every comment here (I need a life), I wanted to weigh in and let you all know that not every auto-poster is a spammer.

I have a need to auto-post to Craigslist real products for sale. My company is also a loser in this situation since the spammers have forced Craigslist to crack down on auto-posting, I would have to manually post to Craigslist all of my products.

It’s actually the only reason I don’t post ads for my products on Craigslist. With the margins I have and the dozens of products I receive every day, it is not economically viable for me to post each ad. I already automate the ad creation on more than 100 websites. No matter how big CL gets, I’m not going to take the time to build and post an ad manually.

So I guess Craigslist buyers get shut out of good products too, b/c they will never see our products or many companies like mine. All the fault lies w/ the scammers. They ruin everything for everyone.

Jim says:

I Not A Spammer But....

My postings continue to get flagged. My used products are all legal and are place in the proper categories. I like using HTML in my ads because one can present a better looking page. I validate my codes to make sure they work properly, and I make sure the ads are placed in the form of tables. All the above is appropriate.

The only abusers I see on Craigslist are the flaggers.

mitch says:

Everyone knows what a spam ad looks like. Everyone who legitimately posts an ad on CL knows when they receive spam responses. So who cares? Let them spam. Are you that much of an idiot that you will reply to them and then buy viagra online or pay for an adult website? If you are, then you deserve to get spammed.
I say let them spam. Let the morons who respond to them waste their time and I will scoop up the real girls that are posting.

joe says:

craig newmark is a jerk off anyhow. the only thing his war on spammers has done is to make it very annoying for regular people to post on the site.

i tried to post a resume today and they are asking for my phone number. well they are not getting it. i will post elsewhere.

with all the money the site makes they should invest some of it in tracking down the spammers or suing the companies making the software. maybe if after a few people got sued into poverty the spamming would stop.

Duke_of_Scum says:

There ARE measures that CL is NOT taking

For a short period recently, CL stopped allowing postable links in the forums, and the spam all but stopped. But then CL staff re-instated the ability to post links and the spam came back stronger than ever.

The Jobs Forum even voted to remove that ability and all staff could do was complain that it would be too much trouble to code that for just one forum.

Just goes to show that although it may SEEM that they’re combating the spam problem, they’re really not as concerned about it as you might think.

They save they efforts into keeping people from complaining about the spam rather than dealing with it directly. Pointing the problem out in the Feedback Forum only gets you banned from the site, and the spam marches on.

Getting rid of dissent is easier than actually taking care of the problem. Heck, that’s just “too much work.”

Scott says:

there is a solution

But you don’t even have to charge 99 cents for a post to make that work. SPAM works on a zero-cost, high-volume, low response rate assumption. I suspect that if you charged *one* cent per CL post, you would eliminate most SPAM. The return rate on SPAM posts has got to be quite low, since nothing is collected unless the respondent goes through a series of other actions, which very few people would do.

Obviously charging 1c per post can’t be done with each post; but CL could require users to establish an account w/ a $1 credit card draw (or paypal, etc.)–then you get 100 credits applicable to postings, renewable when you want to renew it.

bruiseviolet (user link) says:

What annoys me, is not weeding through spam ads-thankfully in my city it hasn’t been over-run (at least the sections I use). However, what gets me mad- is the spammers who contact you when you are selling something. They all use the same lines- so it’s obvious- but now they are using different ones. It angers me, because I have to scrutinize REAL BUYERS and act like they are spam until they prove otherwise- because the response from spammers is so rampant. I hate it. =( For example, I sold something to a woman yesterday- and she had her radar up thinking i might be a scammer, and I had my radar up thinking she might be a scammer, and we both were refusing to give actual addresses until we knew for sure- it caused some tension and I almost didn’t call her on the phone because of it- However I am thankful I did- because she was a legitimate buyer who I sold a large item to. But it was horrible- we both felt bad because we had been a little rude because we both assumed the other was spam/out to con the other person.

Dave (profile) says:

Maybe we are just looking at this the wrong way

I read just about every comment on this thread. Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way and the solution is much simpler and staring us right in the face.

1. Make everyone have a phone verified account (no charge).
2. Disable the ability for people to contact you via email (where most scams originate)
3. Disable all links on posts
4. Only have a phone number, the one verified to start your account available for contact information

This would get rid of most spammers because they would actually have to use a legitimate phone number for contact. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m always suspicious if a phone number isn’t listed in a post. I just assume its spam and move on. This isn’t a new idea, this is how a thing we used in the olden days worked, we called it a newspaper.

The big point is only have verified information (phone number) available as a communication medium. You could even make a “get contact info” link where you would enter a captcha to retrieve a persons verified phone number for a post.

Darrel Horton (profile) says:

Scammers on Craigslist

Scammers certainly have taken over the personals section
of Craigslist. I have written about 10 ads lately, and
the responses have been nearly 100% spam! I even tried
posting my ad on a different subject, and the responses
were still all spam! The scammers didn’t even know what
I had written! I have one solution through. If Craigslist
would start charging just a few dollars, that would stop
all the scammers! I believe I would rather pay a little on
Craigslist than put up with all those scammers!

Bob says:


Can someone explain why a blacklist type service would not work not on the IP of the spammer but of the trace back of the included URL I mean if SPAM could not include URLs then SPAM would be worthless NO? If a blacklist was made of the IPs that allowed this block the whole section and explain to the IP Host why it was blocked. If their legit customers become unhappy they will leave or the IP Hosts will toss the spammers out. Eventually my thought is that the blacklist would weed out a lot of this…but I may be missing something.

chump says:

CL spamming

The raleigh boyz have developed a spammer that bypasses
the capsua and can post a post in 2 seconds, the program
is so fast it crashed the CL website once. The boyz found
4 post a minute was a good speed and didnt raise any red

Speaking of Flags the raleigh boyz perfected their fourth
generation auto flag bot. It does not need the hard to find
geo location proxies..

The golden age says:

The golden age of craigslist.

I think I may have been one of the people to have incredible success dating on Craigslist casual encounters from around 2000, up to around 2008. I mean incredible. There were a number of people young and old who actually posted and read and responded to one another for a number of years.
Being the total sex addict I am it was a godsend, until around 2008. add to that the people with less than average social skills, (rude as hell, mean, dumb, smelly) who suddenly thought it was their time to go a-courtin’ on Craigslist, and began to muck up the board with not only badly written and conceived ads, but also some of them were horrible people to meet, if I am to believe some of the stories I heard, from women particularly.
Now it’s one thing to have someone sell you something, and another to get spammed for putting an ad for a job or some free stuff up on Craigslist, but when spammers stop you from getting laid, that’s criminal.
I have made some amount of mischief for some of the spammers I was able to identify, but the numbers are too great. what going to happen? how will this turn out?
is craigslist just going to let the best free dating site in history get ruined by lousy spammers?

I am staying tuned.


yourfast (profile) says:


Of all the tepid websites in recent memory, none is more nasty, devaluing and incendiary as Craigslist.

It is their arbitrary banning system, zero human presence, Harvard Graphics 1.0 interface, low-ballers, demonic forum ‘helpers’ and their just utterly, utterly despicable attitude that has doomed them.

Having used the site normally without event for four years, my account was suddenly banned when I asked one of those helper creatures in the forum why everyone’s posts were being immediately flagged off.

Now I have a new project.

yourfast (profile) says:


Your comment is awful. First of all what is a ‘scammer’. Do you mean ‘spammer?’ Yes they are annoying. I don’t like them. Second, the comment you disagreed with was correct. Your negation has only introduced confusion to a clear issue. Third, you’ll have to elaborate on this symbiosis/intelligence connection – I just am not quite understanding you there. Fourth you’re a dumb ass for ‘ebola’ and ‘crackhead’ and assuming ‘scammers’ are stupid. Given the sophistication of modern security systems, I would guess that most ‘scammers’ or ‘spammers’ are fluent in various programming languages and network protocols.

Jacob says:

Fast forward to 2011

We should be talking about how to get rid of Craigslist, not how to help them defend their weak asses. CL is alienation in its purest form. It was an unfathomably stupid idea to begin with, and the whole hysterical concept of ‘community’ that these fascists espouse is beyond surreal. CL destroys entire industries, drives down wages, costs, facilitates a huge black market etc. When I think of all the TIME CL has robbed me of. Posting, and re-posting due to mass-flaggers etc. These pathetic morons have shifted the problem onto us by not charging for use of the service. It’s a malignancy and it hopefully will die soon. It’s like a useless guy at a party who talks to a girl all night, preventing you from talking to her, but having no reason to be there. This site needs to get out of the way. It is the #1 worst mainstream website by FAR.

James says:

Stopping the scamming/spamming - listing the email address

Hello all. I need your help. Some people have been posting “free stuff” on CL and when you reply via email they just start sending spam to you. Or, if you have something posted they will send a fake inquiry just to get your email address to spam you. I had posted on CL a “warning” to the public and listed the email addresses they came from. Am I breaking the law by listing those addresses? Please help! I want to get these reposted to protect my CL community. I deleted the posts until I’m sure I’m not breaking the law. Don’t want to get sued just for warning my community of these scammers.
Thanks and I look forward to hearing your views on it.

Too2Web (user link) says:

Really though.. To the people that said spammers have a low IQ because they want to profit, that is stupid.

Anyway… To those that think there is only a small percent of spammers.. no there are tons using a ton of different software and buying PVA’s to be able to post.

Charging 99 cents to post an ad is not going to work. I would gladly spend $100 a day posting on craigslist in the major categories and would probably make $2,000-4,000 a day offering Web design services in different locations.

People say if you have been flagged a few times, you’re a spammer. No… actually your competition often will flag you. There is also software that does autoflagging for you so their postings will be down when yours goes up.

Bobbo the tall says:


what stops them is that the net income per post is a fraction of a cent. What makes it profitable is that it costs a smaller fraction of a cent to put up each post.

If they could rip off thousands of people’s cc info for $.99 each, they would make more money just keeping the 0.99 each, rather than spending a stolen $0.99 to make a “legit” fraction of a cent.

A concerned mother says:

A fun solution

I do not have bogus ads. I have been trying to sell things we have accumulated through the years to make money for the kids at the same time eliminate all our extra stuff. I get hundreds of the emails back to my posts and I am not posting fake ads. So what happens to people like me who are disheartened that I get one real person out of 500 emails that take me time up weekly.

geoff says:

craigslist DOES NOT try

bullshit CL has done everything they could. theres PLENTY of anti spam pro tools hardware as well as software for the enterprize levels. just that craigslist dont give a crap about thier people.

they most likely get paid by the spammers just like yahoo chat apparently does. its funny how every attempt at stopping spammers and unnecessary flaggers has failed on thier end and they have no answers or cooperation. they need humans as werll as advanced software to weed them out. take the MMORPG i play called grandchase. well they got anlab hack guard(game guard) so you cant hack, HUMAN BEINGS patrolling the chats at random and they will hone in on you like an eagle ready for the kill if you excessively curse in general chat. if you are a spammer or stalker to children youre toast on there. plus the software put in place on thier servers will ELIMINATE anyone disobeying the TOC and general rules.

if sg interactive can do it than so can craigslist. it just comes down to whos lazy and fat and whos not.

Cyrus says:

Make you create an account

This is my suggestion even though it is so far down i dobut anyone will take note but it may be workable.

FIrst make you create an account to post no matter what in any area of CL, in that account require a CCno or paypal account to add a minimum of $5 then you chip away at the $5 in the nickel posts or you can add more money if you are needing to post in the expensive categories. But the kicker is if you get flaged close the account and take the cash, this way it effectively becomes a $5 post for a spamer. Maybe make it $20. Also what if for the CHAPTCHA the military computers used a virtual keyboard that required you to click the letters on screen not type on your own keyboard, and if i remember correct it would say something like “type the word YES” then it would scramble the keyboard so you would have to look for each letter and they would move each time.

I also second the posting of known spamers in a city and we can each make a Craigslist lynch mob and take care of it with “hardware” instead of software.

Emily says:


I think the question should be…who are the spammers? Who would want craigslist gone? Any internet company who makes money of off of people listing on their website. And craigslist covers a wide variety of services. So the one that come to my mind right off the bat is Ebay. If spammers…which could be called internet terrorists… annoy people enough then people will completely stop using Craigslist. If you stop using Craigslist because of spammers…you are letting them win!!! Don’t stop using it. Sure it’s annoying to get e-mails that you think might be legit and turn out not to be. But I have it mostly figured out how to tell right away if it’s spam…and I just delete it and don’t let it bother me. Because Craigslist is an awesome free site that is very useful in many ways!!! Don’t let the asshole spammers ruin it for us!

Jim (profile) says:

CL Posting Solution

The main reason why ads get ghosted is because somebody from one city is trying to post into another city. The way around this problem is to have somebody in each city that you want the ad to be posted, to actually do the posting for you.

Basically you need a guy in NYC to post your NYC ads, a guy in Boston to post your Boston ads etc.

This way the ad never ghosts because a person from the right city posted the ad for you.

There is a brand new website which offers this service. You can either hire people from various cities, or even work as a freelancer in your own city making great cash.

Not sure if I am allowed to post links so www(dot)freelanceposter(dot)com

If you scroll to the bottom of the first page…click the link to the forum, and in the forum you will find video guides which explain how the service works and how much it costs.

Hope that helps.

Trey says:

Fighting Back

Waste Their Time! I teach guitar lessons as well as bass and piano. I advertise on CL and from time to time, I get spams and scams. The fake-cashier’s-check scam involves a person claiming to be sending their “child” to my town for music lessons. But the tuition check is always overwritten for “the nanny” or “cab company”, the payment to which should have been issued separately. I’m asked to go to Western Union with the overpayment and wire it to the “cab” or “nanny” services. I play along to waste their time. I have a “trophy collection” of 45 or so fake checks. I also see how idiotic I can make them make the check payable.

Other companies think they can answer my ad for reasons other than to get started on music lessons. Them, I harrass and also pretend to be interested long enough to flush ’em out.

One company had a local rep meet me at a restaurant. I brought a copy of my Craig’s List ad and told him that for wasting my time, he just bought a month of guitar lessons.

I think he got the point when I got up, turned the restaurant’s “OPEN” sign to “CLOSED” and locked the door.

He paid me my asking fee, $65 for a month of lessons, thinking I would have harmed him inside of that locked restaurant.

Bryan says:

Craiglist deteriating quality by getting slower and lazier

What really bothers me is that solution problems solvers at CL seem to be on crack or they have forgotten tha the main appeal of technology is to make things go faster but their solution to EVERYTHING is to create another delay, like:
1) a 5 minute penalty if you enter a wrong number for verification and sometime it stays in that situation forever instead of 5 minutes.
2)a window that keeps cycling you back to MAKE you use anonymous posting.
3) A LOT more verification confirmations which seems to have slowed the response time to wait for a message callback to be over 5 minute
4)Pop up warnings that you have “exceeded your limit when it is your first posting of the day or even week.
If they say this is to stop “spamming” it doesn’t work. In south Florida, in the “Lessons & Tutoring” section:
1) 80 to 100 postings are by the same 4 people in sometime blocks of 6 or 7 identical ads in a row.
2) Out-of-state bait-and-switch scams like takelessons()com and taylorrobinson()com and a chemistry tutor advertise multiple ads IN EVERY COUNTY OF THE US
3)these “companies” have local instructors flag down competitors all day.
4)I get flagged down to use up my maximum amount of ads by noon with only one person flagging each one and when I re-post, get accused of “spamming” by a troll who claims he is “protecting” the site from spam but doesn’t do anything to the real spam.
5)I am just a music teacher who has learned that by following the rules, I have no hope of really using CL to what it was intended and CL has been completely unresponsive, even when the flagger has posted on the site “I pray your family gets butchered in a horrible accident (the chemistry tutor does that one. CL has ignored the police when they have repeatedly contacted them.
Basically CL has gotten to the point where they are basically helping people harass others when they refuse to assist in these situations.
If they are “understaffed” then they need to hire more people. It’s not like there aren’t people looking for work.

imamac says:


maybe if CL would try (just a little) to stop the scammers, it may help.

after hundreds of flags (from different computers @ different locations) these scammers are still going strong.

After many complaints over the past 4 months, craigslist still allows them
(and their 7 CL accounts) to stay active…. But blocked my account for complaining ??

I know these guys personally and they ARE scammers.

Look at how CL took 3 years to take down the prostitution posts, child pornography posts. and the drug selling posts. “Craig” doesn’t give a S**T about doing the right thing.

Jed says:

Getting many, many scamers for relationships.

What the H— I put a ad in for a telephone and get this crap. What can you do as a company to stop it. It always starts out the same. What is the easiest way to get rid of this kind of irritation.
This is what it looks like
Hiya, is your thing still available? I don’t normally do this but you sounded cute in your ad and I’m drawn to you. I live close by and up for anything. My only issue is that you might be a fake person as CL is full of them. So if you’re indeed real, can we chat on my profile page? It’s the safest way and extremely discreet. I’ll message you as soon as I see you sign in! 😉

Only you’ll be able to view my photos and cell # on there so if you like what you see, get hold of me. I apologize to hassle you…life is too short so I had to give this a try. I think you’ll be pleased, TTYL!

www lowp26j net

-Sent via my iPad

Habib (profile) says:

CL and sites automatically replying back to posted adds with links to dating sites or other psrsonals sites

I don’t know. But I can tell you about this great community website,
They are trying to raise money to complete the site and are looking for contributors to help them in their crowd
funding effort.
Please go to to learn more

shawn honestly says:


Spam is when you get an email from someone other than relating to the ad you posted says for example “Hi, is your item still available?” Note: the word ‘item’ can mean anything. Just move them to spam box and move on to next subject. JUST DO YOUR PART–MOVE THEM TO SPAM BOX AND MOVE ON. ALL EMAIL PROVIDER WILL NOTICE THAT ADDRESS AND PUT THEM IN ‘ALL SPAM BOX’ FOR EVERYONE!!!. I truely beliveve if CL would go to charging everyone $1-5 for every ad and if it free stuff then it free ad. Eventually the spammer/scammer will run out of money and FALL OFF for good! “IF it free then it can be abused”

D.Bokchito says:


My question, is why Craigslist does not go after the hundreds of ads in their own service that solicit people to become spammer thieves. “Get rich by posting ads” These things take up pages in the “Jobs” section. You have to be an idiot not to see this stuff. These “opportunities” are just a bunch of slimy thieves, promising you an income to do exactly what this whole blog is talking about.

Roland Franks says:

Political Spam

Looks like the Political category was next. A perfect example of political spam is in El Paso, TX. Every ad is from the same spammer. However, if you post anything he doesn’t like he just flags the ad off with his software which is why nobody else posts there anymore. I think he’s probably a paid spammer by a political party. elpaso_craigslist_org/search/pol

NothingsSomething says:

The solution to the spam problem

It’s simple. yet ironic. CL makes money off adverts yet the only real way to stop the spamers is to turn to the blocking experts ad block plus. they obviously have the solution to annoyances and such so ti would just seem obvious to me to turn to them to make the deal and pay them some money for their time to get rid of them because not everyone knows about ABP

Karen Meekes says:

craigslist ad anti-flagging

Ya it’s a total spy-vs-spy game now.

All the flagging bots out there are taking down ads and CL has done little to update their algorithm. They do look at IP’s now a little closer (and disallow proxy and vpn IPs), plus for flagging they look at the flags to page views ratio.

So as long as your ad gets enough “good” views, the occasional flag here and there won’t affect it. Ha – here’s an “anti-flagging” bot…

Says it opens ads during the day to increase page view counts to keep ads live. I’m going to try this to see how it works.

Yo says:

there is a solution

Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m an honest seller and I get most of my ads flagged by craigslist system! it drives me nuts! I’m the good guy trying to sell and they do me this way, while there are lots of scammers out there and their ads stay up! What the hell? I even tried to contact craigslit and no luck, I’m willing to pay to use craigslist as long as my ads don’t get flagged.

BILLY WAGNER (profile) says:


I am amongst the top developers in the USA and CL has been a big thorn in my side since releasing HOWEVER that hasn’t stoped me. They can do whatever they like its not going to matter we will still find ways to circumvent. NOW I’m not talking about spammers here because I hate those guys as much as you do.In fact if your getting bobarded by them let me know ill shut down there servers. 🙂 Have an X you want revenge on Ill blow up their phone.No worries I got this. CL to me is the agragnt restacrat sitting on his high horse thumbing down rules. I/WE don’t like rules when it comes to using CL like it should be used. This means being able to see all categories in every city and being able to post what you have everywhere. Not spamming just a relevant add system of some kind would stop all this spamming crap. They do it because CL wont. Don’t get mad at them just yet. Anyhow if it upsets you then not sure what to say. CL is a tool for the plumber,developer,job seeker, lonely heart, pet lover, house finder…. etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

A fun solution

Hmm, yeah; that’s not how spam works.

If you reply, they’ve won. If you give them a bogus e-mail address or phone number (which are what exactly, since they possibly do belong to someone or will someday?), they win. Their purpose isn’t to finally sell something, their purpose is to collect information, and it doesn’t matter if it’s legitimate or not, it’s still “valuable.” Metaphorically, they’re not interested in catching a fish, just nibbles.

Anonymous Coward says:

there is a solution

Soooo… your solution to a free online ad system is to charge for it? Wow, that’s just genius. And not only would people have to pay for it, but they’d have to have credit/debit cards. That, of course, will not only have spammers at CL, but hackers looking for all that credit card info. Again, just genius.

Murder the spammers whole f n family now says:

You are crazy people

Death to spammers ruining my business starving my children death to spammers shoot them knife them burn them out please murder I am hunting spammer and he will die a horror wailing slow death when we burn them alive then finish the whole family without restraint please kill spammers they deserve it ruin our businesses and starve our kids death to spammers auto posters and flaggers kill all the bastards is the only way to stop them as they laugh at your starving homeless kids. mad dog crazy to slay all autoposters burn them out n torture them to death asap.

Mike says:


Spammers destroyed my business auto flagging off every ad. I will s burn them out I find them and finish their whole family they seem to laugh just before you pull the trigger and blow them away. Yes death is the only answer to stop these scum starving our children destroying our businesses and making honest hard working people homeless give them a reason to snicker in hell. I kill them it is self defense burn them out and shoot the scum rats dead when they run. please join in killing all satanic spammer auto posters ruining our businesses today. shot to the head finish them all any way you like they will never stop any other way. death to autoposters destroyed ruined my business now we are homeless n starving. we will eat from their dead bodies soon.

ahmed zake (user link) says:


Looks like the Political category was next. A perfect example of political spam is in El Paso, TX. Every ad is from the same spammer. However, if you post anything he doesn’t like he just flags the ad off with his software which is why nobody else posts there anymore. I think he’s probably a paid spammer by a political party. elpaso_craigslist_org/search/pol

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