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Spamming Craigslist

Craigslist logoRecently, a client and I ran an experiment to see how far we could push Craigslist spam.  Since he paid me for my time–and I have no great love for Craigslist (they are hypocritical)–I felt it would be interesting to try out.

In the end, some unexpected things did happen.  Some days, we got a nice amount of traffic to the destination site:  1,000 clicks per day at one point.  But we also ran into obstacles.

1 – Create Multiple Domain-Based Email Addresses

Craigslist requires that you use a unique e-mail address for every account that you open.  Now, usually that’s no big deal.  Just open another Yahoo! or Gmail e-mail address, and be done with it.

But that gets cumbersome when you want to open 500 Craigslist accounts.

BloggerGeneratorOne solution is to use a program like Blogger Generator to create e-mail addresses en masse.  The point of Blogger Generator is really to create blogs en masse, but one component of it is that it will open lots of e-mail addresses with ease.  About the only manual thing you need to do is enter the CAPTCHAs.

All fine and dandy, but I found it easier to go into my web host and create domain-based e-mail accounts.  It’s absolutely free to do this, and you can create an unlimited amount of domain e-mail accounts.

2 – Create Multiple Craigslist Accounts

With my 500 new e-mail addresses, I opened up 500 Craigslist accounts.

This must be done manually (though you will find software online that does this for you).  You might even want to pay an Indian freelancer to do this.  You can probably get this done for $20.

3 – Spin Multiple Variations of Your Ad

So, you want to write an ad that will provoke people to click through to your site.  That’s great, except you have to do this 500 times.

And because Craigslist will detect duplicate ad content, you cannot simply copy-and-paste the same ad text over and over again.

The solution is to use a content spinner.  With a content spinner, you can create as many variations of your “seed text” as you want.

The only thing that does not change is your URL.

4 – “Write” and Post the Ads

Basically, you match up ads to accounts.  It doesn’t matter which go where.  You may want to get the freelancer involved with this again.

Now, this is where the first obstacle happened.

We posted Craigslist ads like mad–hundreds at a time.

Oh oh.  While we got an initial surge of traffic, the Craigslist accounts began to get disabled.  What’s the solution?  Create more, of course!  This worked for awhile, but…

5 – Change Your IP

…then Craigslist began to detect my IP address.  Anything emanating from my computer (i.e., my network connection) was blackballed by Craigslist.

Okay, fine.  So, we purchased Anonymizer and installed it on my machine.

Anonymizer cycles through various “strawman” IP addresses.  This worked–kinda.  Better yet was to…

6 – Move Physical Locations and Recruit Other People

Yes, the optimal solution was to post 5 ads per account at one location, move, then do it again.

Since you can find only so many wi-fi spots to do this, it’s smarter to recruit friends and, yes, freelancers to do this for you.

Post 5 ads per account.  Do 4 or 5 accounts max.  So, that’s 25 ads per person per day.

Any more than that, and accounts start to get disabled.

Is it Worth It?

That’s for you to decide.  Remember, even 20 ads per day can give you significant traffic, depending on the niche.  Each ad will spend some time at the very top of the Craigslist page before moving down.  Then, it will spend some time on Page 1 before moving to lower pages.

So, each ad might give you 50-60 clicks.  Totalled out, those 20 ads x 50 clicks will equal 1,000 clicks per day.