Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are the Recent Craigslist Changes the End or Just the Beginning?

Most of us realtors (if not all) have had a marketing panic attack in the last few weeks. When Craigslist made all of the recent changes it seemed like the end of the world to some of us.

First came the infamous “zip code necessary to post an ad” rule; next we could no longer use certain html commands including the ones necessary if you use picture (image) tracking on CLAT (Craigslist Auto Tracker) or host your images on other sites.  Many of us soon discovered that we could no longer use the html command from CLAT (and other ad tracking software) to even track a plain English ad on CL.

Finally CL dropped the “big one”, the coup de gras; NO MORE CLICKABLE LINKS.  What? No more clickable links? Now what! I think that’s the one that really got our attention. It certainly got mine! I came to the instant realization that my marketing just took a major hit, all of our marketing strategies did. Realtors are some of the most adept people that I know. No matter what happens we always rebound, we always recover. This is no different but my question is, “What’s next?”

I’m now hearing rumors that CL will begin to charge for “clickable” links in the real estate section. Other rumors imply that we (brokers and realtors) may need to pay at some point to post ads at all. It makes me think of something my mother used to say when I was little; “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.” One thing is for sure, CL is much different than it was just a few short weeks ago and all of us have been affected to some degree.

What I would really like to know is just how much did these changes affect your marketing efforts? What do you think may be in the future as far as CL is concerned and perhaps most importantly, would you be willing to pay to continue to post ads on CL? If so, what do you think would be fair?

Given a choice I think I would prefer a membership type fee if CL does intend to begin charging. I’m not saying that I want to pay but given the options I feel that this might be the “lesser of the evils”. I have a feeling that a “pay per click” or pay per ad scheme would get very expensive very quickly and remember this; if you pay per anything CL will definitely know how many ads you are posting if you intend to centralize your various CL accounts to simplify your accounting.

No matter how you look at it CL has changed for good and for better or for worse, so has a major marketing venue for realtors nationwide.

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