Skip to content

Wanted: Craig’s List Manipulators

WANTED: Junior level Scammers and Spammers as apprentice Craig’s List Manipulators

Background: Craig’s List is a community classifieds web site with city-specific sections for most major United States cities. Within each city are sections for free classified ads in everything from real estate to computer jobs to pet adoption. Craig’s List has replaced the local classified newspaper for many local markets. Ads can be placed via a simple web form, and posted to Craig’s List within minutes by even the least sophisticated web users. The Craig’s List community is self-policing, with every reader able to “flag” ads as inappropriate. If enough users “flag” an ad it is removed by Craig’s List staff. Our testing has shown that Craig’s List classified ads work well in certain markets, for certain products and services. They work especially well in markets where there is little relevant competition.

We have clients in many market sectors signed on for ad placement on Craig’s List. We have determined that it takes but 21 sincere Craig’s List Manipulators to control a category within the typical US city on Craig’s List. Twenty one people collaboratively “flagging” competitor ads can effectively control a category, keeping the desired ads prominent while removing any competitive threat. We have several openings for Craig’s List Manipulators in several cities right now.

Position description: This is a collaborative position. You should have some knowledge of proxies if you want to work multiple cities, but any public access point will work for your local market. You do not need to be clever nor ingenious – you simply need to know how to recognize a partner ad, and flag everything else. SEO skills are unnecessary. This is an excellent opportunity for the stay at home mom or disgruntled small business owner with too much free time on his hands. Can’t get business? Mess it up for everyone else on Craig’s List and, in turn, our collaborative network of Craig’s List Manipulators will promote YOUR AD and KILL YOUR COMPETITION in the Craig’s List Classifieds system.This really works, and might be your best opportunity for success on Craig’s List.

Think about it: you’re either WITH US, or WE’RE AGAINST YOU. How long will your ad survive on Craig’s List once we move our manipulators into your market? Our research shows NOT LONG, because all we need are a couple of dozen lazy, low-quality product and service providers who can’t get customers the legitimate way, to join our collaborative network of CL Manipulators and SPAM! your ad is GONE faster than you can say “but…but….but…”

Apply today, as there is virtually no ceiling to this opportunity for participants, and a very, very strong incentive for every Craig’s List advertiser to join before they get shut out of their local market niche. Leave a comment with your qualifications and favorite Craig’s List market experience.


  1. your_store wrote:

    Don’t you think you could automate this process? I don’t have any experience w/ Craig’s List, but it seems like a rather trivial robot.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  2. john andrews wrote:

    Sigh. It’s sarcasm, and it stems from real-world frustrations dealing with the Craig’s List community on this very issue. No, I’m not actually recruiting Craig’s List Manipulators. No, I am not manipulating Craig’s List. But I am experiencing the effects of a small group of flaggers seemingly collaborating to flag and remove competitor ads.

    Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  3. Jenn wrote:

    I have been using craigslist for years. Don’t have my own business, but have purchased and sold various things there. Most recently, purchased a Christmas Tree, and also gave one away. I tried to sell some children’s Halloween costumes back in October, and got flagged twice in a row. I tried to sell one TMX Elmo that I had purchased and tried three times to post an ad and it was removed each time within 15 minutes of posting each time. Rather than deal with the frustration, I gave up on the Elmo. I did, by the way, end up selling the costumes, the third time I posted it wasn’t flagged (they must have sold theirs and I was no longer a threat). Until I tried to sell the costumes, I had never been flagged, ever. I agree that there must be groups of people collaborating to eliminate the competition and think there should be a law against it.

    Monday, January 1, 2007 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  4. chloe wrote:

    Wow! This totally hits the nail on the head! I got ‘hip’ to the BS on CL’s last summer & one heck of an education on spammers. internet trolls, & just general evil beings on the internet. There is basically nothing you can do? I’m not sure why anyone from CL’s list would bother to call you out when they won’t do anything about controlling the board.

    I know of 3 different people that called about a job, was told to come in & fill out a job application, went to the said address which didn’t exist. They flame & flag at random in all sections on the board. In the Free section, Lost & Found, Pets, you name it, they’re there.

    It was driving me crazy trying to figure this out last summer. I thought an automated system would make this hard to pull off. These trolls violate every rule & terms of use on CL’s & nothing is done about it. Turns other users that figure it out into breakers of the rules as a user themselves.

    I too have used the board for a couple of years & this kind of crap seems like it only got going strong 4th July weekend, 2006, in Denver anyway. I became too dependent on CL’s with my busines & it has hurt! All good things come to an end I suppose. I’m now advertizing else where as I got tired of beating my head against a wall.They have some kind of flagging war going on in the section I use.

    I just ran across a service being offered [commercial reference deleted] post for pennies per day anywhere you like. I agree they/this should be illegal & CL’s should be able to track these assholes down & bust ’em. I guess I just don’t understand, but it makes me so mad I’d like to reach through my computer screen & hurt someone.

    Thank you for giving me a place to vent & hopefully this will be enlightening for other frustrated CL’s user. I’m bookmarking your blog & will check back to see other’s feedback.


    I appreciate your writing style for this blog. Thanks again!

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    About a couple of years ago, I found that posting on CL for my business, was bringing me a lot of new clients. I had a wonderful year, last year, busy almost every day. It was around last June or July 2006, when my ad started being flagged. It got to the point where the ad is literally flagged one minute after it has been posted; and sometimes it is flagged even before it appears in the main list (I bet they are actually searching for my ad).

    Anyway, I decided to write an email to Mr. Craig and explain the situation to him and suggest a few things that he could do to prevent unfair flagging; and to my complete surprise, he was a total jerk with me. He did not read the email, since he asked me questions that were already answered, and he did not care one bit if I am loosing business or not. The message I got from him, was clear: “It is a free list, so what you complaining about?” (Those where not his words exactly, but very close to that) I no longer post there, since the CL “community” (if they can be called one), are unfair, despiteful, and clearly filled with anger, evilness, and too much time on their hands. There are many other places to advertise for business and when you pay for it, no one will delete it. Craigslist should disappear from the net, and someone ought to be able to compile a list as great or better then CL, without the entire BS that you will find on there.

    The only reason Mr. Craig still have his list, is because we all subscribe to it. If no one posts there or no one will go there to look for services, they will not exist. We should all boycott that Sh****t list. Someone once told me that CL is the rotten fish pool of the internet, and now I agree with him.

    Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  6. nonya wrote:

    You are a pathetic POS! Im one of those people you jerk offs like to flag! I would love to get my hands on you and break your F*** neck you bit**!

    Editor’s Note: Um, the post about “Craig’s List Manipulators” was sarcasm, prompted by my own frustration in dealing with Craig’s List Flaggers. Sarcasm is a higher form of humor. You might consider taking some of the prerequisite courses in humor (consider anything higher than slapstick), so you can learn to appreciate it. Thanks for reading.

    Friday, August 10, 2007 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  7. Jenna wrote:

    As great a place as Craigslist is, it’s also heaven for @ssholes who are looking to sell stolen goods for quick cash. I think people just need take a more active role in taking action against those types.

    I once came across an ad that was sooooo obvious in what he was selling was stolen goods. I called the Beaverton police department (here in Oregon) and reported it to one of the detectives as extremely suspicious. Surprisingly, they acted on it and ended up busting that guy several days later. Turns out the guy they caught had a garage full of stolen items, many of which were from a rampage of break-in’s going on around the Beaverton and Hillsboro areas last year.

    Sometimes it’s hard to discern between a suspicious or a legitimate ad. I guess you just need to go with your gut instinct. But if it’s so obvious, then there’s no harm in reporting it to your local PD to have them check out. Craigslist is such a haven for crooks that a lot of PD’s actually assign two or three detectives to scan through ads for goods that have recently been reported as stolen.

    Friday, August 10, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  8. BRAVO! Yes – Craigslist has become a safe haven for thieves and trolls – and Craigslist realizes this!!!

    I am a musician who had a custom $3,000 guitar stolen the day I received it (it was not yet insured – so I lost big time.) I tried posting it on CL only to experience the same problems mentioned by other people – my posts were immediately flagged and removed – and when I contacted Craigslist they decided to do nothing about it.

    We (musicians) started a message board listing stolen music instruments – and every post we put on Craigslist letting people know about the list – was immediately flagged and removed. Again, when we contacted Craigslist they did NOTHING.

    I truly think there ought to be a class action lawsuit against Craigslist – by every person who has reported a theft.

    Please spread the word about the stolen music instrument list on

    Thanks. Rock on.
    Screaming Stone

    Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  9. DewGuru wrote:

    You can flag any craigslist ad you like at the click of your mouse: – Why have 21 people when it takes just one? :D

    Edited: I removed the URL, not because it was a so-called “flagging service”, but because the home page was so full of AdSense ads *and* my test of the service didn’t work. Give me a break…

    Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 9:12 am | Permalink
  10. Schizo wrote:

    I recently heard of Craigslist “flagging software” & have been scouring the net in search of it to no avail.
    I currently am experiencing a “flag-war” in my areas “Rants & Raves” section of Craigslist.
    It appears that the “flag-it” is in possession of some technological enhancements, as I highy doubt they have any friends!

    Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  11. john andrews wrote:

    Well, there is certainly no shortage of legitimate people pissed off by Craig’s List and it’s flaggers! I get email almost every day on this issue. It seems the flaggers have free reign to be negative (flag posts they don’t like) with no accountability. Personally, I am convinced there is an underground economy in post flagging.

    Most interesting perhaps is that everyone is asking me the same thing – how do we band together and flag these people back? How can the good people win, when Craig’s List supports the baddies under the label of “community moderation” and “democracy”?

    One person showed me select parts of the CL forum where flagging is discussed. It’s more like “disgust” if you ask me. Righteous jerks playing honcho is what I see. I stoppe dusing CL altogether but I feel the pain of those who depend on it as a community public square type of thing.

    Monday, December 31, 2007 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  12. With so many of us pissed off at Craigslist – and they do nothing to stop the problem – why don’t we do something? Why not start a PR campaign – exposing the problem and recommending people stop using CL until they fix the problem?

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  13. red6226 wrote:

    What frustrates me the most is that there is often no rhyme or reason for an ad getting flagged. I’ve been flagged enough times to know what is likely to get me flagged. Once, I posted some puppies that we’d rescued from the local shelter. My posting got flagged almost immediately. So, I asked the forum for advice and re-posted, following all the suggestions given. It got flagged again. I went through the whole process again, only to be flagged a third time.

    Someone in the forum suggested that I was rescuing dogs to make a buck. The sheer ignorance of the comment astounded me. I started to lose my cool at that stage and pointed out that I had given up a successful computer consulting business to start a rescue and also that I’d used a lot of my own money to getting it up and going. I then had everyone in the forum jump on me because I was “ranting”. I threw a few choice insults around and boycotted CL for a long time.

    The problem is that Craig’s List IS often effective in the pet rescue “business”. I’ll put up with the frustration to save a dog. I’ve found most of my foster homes through CL. Getting a foster quickly can mean the difference between life and death for a dog. ‘

    Two of my postings got flagged tonight and so I did some research. I found that there are “hidden” forums where CL users encourage other users to flag listings. This is one of them: I know it’s not politically correct to say but I call these people “Craig’s Nazis”.

    I do believe that sooner or later, the way this works is going to bring CL down. Maybe my programmer friends and I should get together and create an alternative to CL. I don’t know how much longer I can handle the frustration.

    Friday, February 1, 2008 at 2:33 am | Permalink
  14. Andrew PuppyMan wrote:

    hey – is this gig for real?
    I would LOV?E to get a flag/delete device/program that would be MY bitch! I’m getting flagged left, right n center, getting on the phone to the competition, threatening, crying into my vodka, giving up for the day n going surfing, n f*ck, it just happens the next day!!! HELP ME, oh people of wisdom, kindness, reassurance n smilings!
    I hold my breath n await yer help……….

    Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  15. I get flagged the minute i get my add up, It is not the way people should do business. If CL’s charges a small fee things would change for the normal people.

    My thoughts are get rid of the people that ruin it for alot of people.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 12:33 am | Permalink
  16. Sandy wrote:

    I wish this was for real I would love to be able to instantly bring down all the spam that is clogging up Craigslist.

    Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Permalink
  17. Sharon wrote:

    Please, I DO NOT want to turn the discussion into one about politics. But, I post craigslists entries for a particular candidate, in the politics section of craigslist. Just good ‘go to action’ steps, no porn or smut stuff. I change topics based on what has to be done next, and today’s issues. ALL of my posts are getting flagged by someone. I argued it and kept the postings that responded to my argument. They were really, really, nasty.

    Right now, I am sending in a group of volunteers to start posting similar information, but each with their own slants. If they start getting flagged, I, and my group, WILL start a class action suit against craigslist.

    Take Care, Sharon

    Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  18. Juniper wrote:

    This is also a problem with personals ads – apparently there are a few bitter, angry men out there who spend their evenings flagging down any woman they don’t like. (I don’t think this happens nearly as much in the opposite gender direction.)

    Craigslist really needs to require visual ID for flagging just as they do for posting.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  19. Janie wrote:

    Wow, I thought something was going on. Thanks Red, for cluing me in on the ‘secret’ forums. This morning, I saw every dog ad that was posted that wasn’t from a “non-profit” flagged. It is really nasty out there and it appears the folks at Craigslist support that. They are going to go down.

    Monday, May 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  20. Ricky wrote:

    We used to advertise there and everything was yanked within 30 to 45 minutes, and all of our stuff was in perfect compliance. I think there is like a craigs list mafia group or something

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
  21. Mike wrote:

    Well after reading your posts, I feel a whole lot better! I had a couple of ads get flagged, and when I went to the flag forum to find out why I was basically assaulted from all angles, to the point where I totally lost my cool. Then they really started attacking. It was totally ridiculous, and the only thing they could suggest was that I had miscategorized my ad, which I am certain I had not. I teach computer courses to companies, and posted under “Computer Services” but they thought my ad should be under “Lessons” like I drive around on my bicycle giving computer lessons. I got so disgusted, they called me terrible names, and honestly I’m still kind of recovering from it, I guess I’m not very thick skinned. I truly think this article is right, there are some people who just flag ads, as I saw other similar ads to mine that were NOT flagged. Sheesh. I will be looking for another venue for advertising.



    Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink
  22. penelope wrote:

    i know all the tricks to flagging, i am the queen of flagging on CL.
    it takes me 2 seconds.
    i always win !

    Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  23. Rashad wrote:

    Actually you don’t win….Flagging puts the ad reight back at the top when they repost..So in a way you help who you have flagged. Secondly, you spend all day flagging on Craigslist so that means that another part of your life is suffering.. Meaning you have no life but flagging….Question, are you getting paid for this? If not then you are seriously the loser that everyone on here knows you are….Craigslist needs to have paid employees who themselves will be monitered to have the final say as to who gets flagged or not…

    Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 3:24 pm | Permalink
  24. JustMe wrote:

    I agree. A class action would stop Mr. Craig. My experience is the help foum is kid(s). I honest think it the same person, he/she just changes their name. I have followed a trend. Pretty sure. As for flagging, its a joke! I notice it more when the kids are out from school.

    As soon as someone acts on a class action, this will stop. It always does.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  25. Walter Thompson wrote:

    I know for a fact people are paying others to flag down the competition, as it has ruined my guitar lesson business. I’ve done some research, and I have noticed a website called craigs hitmen, offering to do this for cold hard cash! Thank god they advertise just to remove spam… :(

    Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  26. Louis wrote:

    If I develop a small snipet of code that you could insert in your CL ad that would disable the “FLAG” links, what would you pay?
    I’ve thought about doing this but I wouldnt want to open the flood gates to spammers
    and ruin CL for others, so not sure how to market, any suggestions?

    Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 9:53 am | Permalink
  27. john talarski wrote:

    i need help but up adds about atms and credit card but evertime i but one it get flagged in seconds can u guys help me keep an ad up ?and how much would it cost

    Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  28. jj wrote:

    CL has become a freakin joke. You cannot even post a car for sale, an product for sale and all the ads get flagged. Back when I first discovered CL i started using it for Junk Car Removal. I was turning away business, soon the floodgates opened when scrap prices went thru the roof. There after it was a flooding of aholes flagging your ads, calling you telling you they were going to kill you for flagging their ads… when I did not flag anyones ad. Now you see only a few a holes who post 15 times a day and run CL in 6-7 different catagories and you cant flag them. You post 1 ad in services and bam your flagged. This Nazi style BS is being promoted by CL, much like our hard economics is being dictated by the few in power. Our late president Andrew Jackson once said he feared more than anything the 10% controlling the 90%. This is happening today and being lovingly promoted by CL. All I can say is if people quit using CL they will listen. Someone create a non flagging site that is a republic, not a democracy. Deal with the spammers and rip off artists and let the people be. CL has lost it’s allure and is losing it’s allure fast. What a crock, take something that is great and turn it to shit with a bucnh of controlling fat pricks.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
  29. Joyce Newmark wrote:

    Craig is getting paid big bucks by these low life marketing companies. How else can he pay for all the bandwidth with out a single ad on the free to use site. And why else wouldn’t he get them off his site.

    I have found that the only place on that site you can find real people is in the rants and raves section and they are hard core trolls.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
  30. I will gladly pay your service to flag competitors in the Nashville market under “for sale” “furniture by dealers” section, selling mattresses. I have worked very hard to build a website and embed videos, and my competitors are working in tandem with one another to flag off all my ads. I would pay you to repost them too. Please respond. I am too busy to sit around flagging all the time, and reposting ads, but I would gladly pay you a reasonable amount for the service. I await your reply. Darrell

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink