Tag: craigslist

Duplicate and distant results in RSS feeds

If you use craigslist RSS feeds (either directly or imported with one of our OPML files), you may have noticed an increase in duplicate results recently, as well as results that are outside your specified search area.

This is second-hand info, but it appears the problem is that craigslist has recently started including their ‘results from NEARBY cities’ in their RSS feeds. There are a couple problems with this. First, they are mixed in with the results from the main city, so even if you’re only in searching one location, you end up with a bunch of irrelevant results mixed in. If you have feeds from multiple cities (like with SearchTempest) though, it’s worse. Many different cities could include the same ‘nearby’ results, so you could end up with numerous duplicates of the same posts.

I’ve been told that craigslist is looking into how to fix this, so presumably it was an unintentional change, and hopefully it’ll be fixed soon. We have no actual affiliation with or inside knowledge of craigslist though, so really your guess is as good as ours.

If you get tired of waiting, or just like to tinker, it should be possible to de-duplicate your feeds yourself using Yahoo Pipes. Basically you would need a pipe that takes the OPML file from SearchTempest as an input, combines all the feeds within it, and then runs a sort and a unique filter. Here’s one that might be a good start. I haven’t tried it, but it looks like you could feed in the link to the SearchTempest OPML file (by right-clicking on our get rss button and saving the link instead of downloading the file). Then you would just need to add the Unique operator after the sort block. If you’ve never used Pipes before, here’s a tutorial that might help. It doesn’t do exactly what we want, but it should be enough to get the basic idea.

If anyone decides to try the Pipes solution, let us know in the comments! Otherwise, hopefully this bug gets squashed on craigslist’s end soon!

Google not indexing craigslist – SearchTempest switches to Bing

As of February 28, Google has stopped indexing new craigslist posts. Or more specifically, every day between about 5pm and midnight PST, they index them as usual. Then at midnight, they throw them all away. So anyone searching Google for craigslist posts over the past couple weeks has been faced with a giant gap since the beginning of March.

SearchTempest has no affiliation with craigslist, so until recently, we used Google to power our searches. Since Google is no longer getting the job done though, we’ve switched to Bing!

To be honest, Bing’s API doesn’t hold a candle to Google Custom Search. You can’t sort by date, specify a list of urls to search (Google’s ‘annotations’), or even reliably search within the url at all. (Bing does have a semi-hidden option, instreamset:(url):{text}, which is similar to Google’s inurl:{text}, but we’ve found it to be unreliable.)

That said, through some clever manipulation of query strings and a mess of hard-coded special cases, we’ve managed to come up with a Bing-powered craigslist search that’s quite functional. If you’re frustrated by not being able to search craigslist through Google like before, give it a try!

Post craigslist ads with large image galleries using ListHD.com

I’ve just come across a sweet new tool that I know some of you will find use for. It’s called ListHD.com, and basically it’s the new, easy way to create attractive, HTML craigslist posts – complete with galleries of HD images. Imagine the attention your posts could get if they looked like this: (Click the picture to see the full-size sample.) They give you a few other formats to choose from too. Honestly, I don’t see any reason not to use this when posting on craigslist. Anything that makes your ad stand out will help it sell, right? Plus it’s super easy, and free. Click here if you want to learn more, or to give it a try! Hope you like it.

Working around craigslist’s all-negative-keywords deficiency

Craigslist is great, but if you’ve used it at all, you’ve likely noticed it has a number of … imperfections. One of these is that you can not do a search with only negative keywords. For example, a SearchTempest user wrote on our forums recently that he was having trouble with his motorcycle search. He basically just wanted to browse the motorcycles/scooters category, but didn’t want to get all the atv and scooter posts. He knew he wanted a bike, and the price range, but otherwise wanted to browse. Logically this would be a simple matter of using -atv -scooter as your keywords. Unfortunately, craigslist barfs when you do this. (And since SearchTempest passes your keywords through to craigslist, we got some barf on us too. Never fun.) Fortunately, there’s a work-around. Every craigslist post ends with “You may [not] contact this user for commercial purposes”, or something to that effect. And for whatever reason, their search system actually indexes that part of the post. (A bit of a waste, but I won’t complain since it turns out to be useful. 🙂 ) So for the search above, we can use contact -atv -scooter as our keywords and we’ll match every post, except those with the words atv or scooter in them – just as we wanted! And now, SearchTempest takes it one small step further. It now automatically checks for search strings like -atv -scooter and automatically adds that ‘contact’ in there for you.