Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Posting an Ad to Craigslist now becomes more difficult or frustrated

I haven't posted and purchased anything from or to Craigslist for a very long time. On my mind, Craigslist was a great service for local people to get good deals. Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people got spammed; sadly stories happened one after another. A few years ago Craigslist started implementing posting verification by forcing people who post classified ads to the USA or Canada for phone verification. And each successful verified phone number is good for 90 days. To consumers, it is a good thing; it certainly eliminates a lot of spammers, especially the ones from oversea. However, this control along with others makes a lot legitimate posters (like marketers) extremely inconvenience. A lot of them look for and turn to other alternatives such as,, and etc. Sadly the alternatives traffic is still not as much as Craigslist.

I am not a marketer but sometimes I may have things for sale or giving away, like everyone else. The first service pops to my mind is Craigslist. I was trying to post an ad since yesterday morning without success. None of my phones could be verified.

First, I was trying to use magic jack phone number for verification. It turns out that Craigslist won't accept any VoIP phone. It means I cannot use Magic Jack for verification. Then I entered my cell phone number. Unfortunately, the page kept sayingYou are submitting telephone verification requests too rapidly. To prevent abuse, we require users to wait 5 minutes between requests, use no more than 3 telephone numbers in a 12 hour period, and not use any single phone number more than 3 times in a 12 hour period. Please wait and try again later.” At first, I believed in the error message. But after having waited for a few hours and then tried again, I concluded that something must have gone wrong. Reporting an error to Craigslist is no use. I received the same explanation that I could find in their phone authentication help page. What could I do? So I put this aside for the day and tried again in this morning. The same error message re-appeared. It was more than 12 hours waiting period. I cannot believe that I still received the same error. It implies that their phone verification service is not reliable. It could be why it frustrates a lot of marketers, besides other issues.

Craigslist phone verification process is even more difficult to follow than using a ATM card at an ATM machine when you're trying to remember your passcord. For ATM, at least I could try 3 times physically. For Craigslist phone verification service, the 3 times attempts are very easily to exceed without your knowledge.

You cannot refresh the page or use the same URL to another browser window/tab. If you do, it will count once because the page itself will remember your previous phone number. I am not talking about the browser cache. It is nothing related to it. Your URL is tied to your email address. When you enter a phone number, it will automatically tie it to that phone number as well. It is done in the craigslist backend server, not from the browser. Thus, if you have an issue on this, don't refresh, or cut-and-paste the URL to another browser to try again. You will quickly lose your two counts. Unfortunately, my issue is not related to this.

In order to resolve this issue, I decide to sign up an account with Craigslist. From there, it automatically detected a problem saying “There is already an account associated with this email address.” and offered me a chance to reset my password. I have never signed up an account with Craigslist, so I guess it could be a temporary account for non-registered user when I tried to post an ad. Obviously such a temporary account is required for their phone verification service. I followed the link to request password reset. Then I received an instant email for password reset. I finally have my password reset and registered an account with Craigslist.

Having an account with Craigslist doesn't mean I exempt for phone verification when I post an classified ad. To me, this password reset or the registration process cleared all errors including every single field of my phone number stored in their back-end server. From that onward, I could re-enter my cell phone number for verification to the page. Unfortunately, my request was expecting a text message / SMS from Craigslist but somehow Craigslist failed to deliver. When I went to check the sending code status, it indicated that “the call has been placed.” Call? I was requesting a text message, not a call! So I waited for another 5 or more minutes and then placed a request for a voice message instead of text. My cell phone rang as soon as I hit the "send the code!" button. My ad was finally posted.

This whole verification process with Craigslist negates my impression with them. I hope that Craigslist will improve this process. When the alternatives begin improving their traffic, people may leave Craigslist if this verification process is still a headache. Right now, Craigslist still holds a solid position in the market place.


  1. I used craigslist for over a year, I live in Canada and am moving out of the province so I got rid of my cell phone and land line long ago to cut back expenses and got magic jack. I'm selling a lot of items that I don't want to move and now I can't post anymore. I have no choice but to use local ads and
    I sent several request asking if there was another way to verify myself and got nothing but automated responses that do nothing to help.
    I loved craigslist prior to this and even assisted a few times when I was being contacted by address and phone number collectors. Their new system does nothing to protect the sellers!
    I know I'm just a drop in the bucket but I will never use craigslist again and am telling everyone I know to use Canada's alternative
    I see what they are trying to accomplish but its a little overboard considering how many people are using VOIP phones these days. I can register with 911 but not craigslist!

  2. I can see how frustrated it is, J. If you constantly have things for sale and still want to place an ad with Craigslist, there may be a way to get around it.

    If you're using a GSM unlock phone, you could consider to get a "Pay as you go" prepaid card startup kit at ebay in a very cheap price (US10 or less) so that you can have a US phone number. The startup kit includes a SIM card and about 30 minutes airtime. As far as I know, T-Mobile currently is the cheapest one but this could be changed in the future because T-Mobile is purchased by AT&T.

    The startup-kit from ebay usually expires very soon and lasts a month only. Thereafter, you could purchase a brand new pre-paid card; the cheapest one only costs US$10 or less (for T-Mobile SIM) and it will extend you for another 3 months.

    Thus, the investment cost on the prepaid card cell phone is about US$10 for the first month and then US$10 for every 3 months. What you need to do is to set up a reminder so that you can manually refill it before the expiration. It is the cheaper way that I can think of now.

    If I am not doing posts more often, to me, investing this $10 is not worth. Therefore, it depends on your situation. After all, Craigstlist still drives a lot of traffic for classified ad.


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  4. You could Check out Zaarly? I know they've been growing quickly, not as big as CL yet, but definitely getting there. I've heard they make it way easier, and I don't think they require phone verification or anything... Might be worth a shot?

  5. you should really look up for craigslist alternatives...and because they are clearly not as popular, but nowadays far more reliable (no heavy flagging, no heavy spamming etc.) it is good if you use more than a few to succesfully and rapidly achieve your goal in selling/buying stuff.
    there are a lot of good blogs out there with this very topic covered all around.
    to ease up the search a bit I would suggest looking over freecraigslistads or craigsflyer

  6. Nice blog and great info. Was looking for safe, secure and verified classified ad sites. Good tips


  7. Copy that! I've just had nearly an identical experience with my first attempt at a Craigslist post. Unfortunately for me, I still have no resolution. I tried to create an account and set (and reset) the password, thinking this would 'jimmy' the system so I could get the phone verification working, but no luck. Very disappointed in Craiglist - their programming execution, and their customer support.

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  9. I had a craigslist account for over 10 years, no problems - I recently moved and was going to post a few ads to sell some stuff after moving and it asked for a tel number - the system says my number has already been used...

    Sent an email about it to them with no response.

    So what's worse? Scammers, Spammers, Flaggers or their own stupid system.

    I think the problem is Craislist.

    Craig... if your are reading this - yopur system sucks and only deters good long standing users from your site.

    BYE BYE craigslist and hello backpage, kiji, ebay classifieds and zaarly.

  10. I am still not able to find a reliable and cheap VOIP device, I read many magic jack reviews and many buyers complained of their bad customer support where people reported that they waited 2 hours for someone to get back to them and they disconnect if they are not able to answer your questions

  11. Mr Craigslist President "Jim"...

    I tried calling 4 different numbers to reach you after you so conveniently
    sent one canned response after another, following my reply to your
    notification that you cannot verify my phone number. I am very upset that
    first of all we cannot reach you on your automated phone menu. This is a
    bunch of crap that you shut out your customers that have been with you
    forever and now you want a verification all of a sudden after i have used
    the same number on the same account. What gives here? Huh? What I want
    is either a verification code sent to my phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx or a call
    to me at the same number. I need this number verified so I can
    place an ad. I have sent 5 emails to you in reply to your canned response,
    with no reply except more canned responses... What are you serious???
    Please call or text the verification code or I will delete my app on my
    tablet that I really like and I will delete the app on my phone, and I will
    never use CL again... not only that but I will let all 37,000 social media that I correspond with to STOP using your services, and it
    won't stop there either, this will grow very very large in no time... Do
    you know Jay Lenno? Well, I do and he would be delighted to air this

    Now if you can just verify my number for me, we can avoid all this.
    1. You have no number anyone can call you on and talk to you without you
    saying you are the Law, and 2. you give a person 3 times to try to get
    verified in one stinkin 24 hr period, and who knows if we will get a chance
    the next day... You guys are rediculous!!! serious, think about it, you are
    killing yourselves by doing this. I can understand security, but this is
    way too far and now you are hiding behind phone menus!!

    A phone call or a text with a verification code would be great and I can
    get on with life as I am trying to feed my family while on unemployment
    and i cant even look for work since you wont even verify my phone number...
    I guess you DO NOT care for your people! Its obvious because I am not the only one posting about your issues that you refuse to address to keep your customers...

    Stan Miller

  12. @Stan Miller

    You are the MAN! I couldn´t have said it better.

    I´ve also 48.000 social media contacts which I will let know to STOP this insane platform from Jimbo-Craigs-List.

    So this could go viral and explode pretty fast.

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