A Craigslist Apartment Cleanup success story

Our Craigslist Apartment Cleanup has both short-term and long-term goals. In the near term we’re focusing on a somewhat arbitrarily-selected “dirtiest dozen” Craigslist ad spammers and asking your cooperation in identifying and flagging ads that are posted too frequently in violation of Craigslist’s Terms of use. In the longer term we’ll be seeking disciplinary action against firms that advertise illegally, and also advocating legislative changes to clean up Chicago’s rogue rental services.

On January 2, we selected Rent Proactive as the first entry on our dirtiest dozen roster. A Craigslist query on the company’s name in the apts/housing for rent section returned 2,500 ads – the maximum returned by a query – as of December 30. Rent Proactive has added 100s of ads to Craigslist every day since then.

As of 1:05 today, as you can see in the above screen cap, the company had 971 ads active at Craigslist.

Rent Proactive began the day yesterday with 1,362 active ads. At some point in the mid-morning yesterday Craigslist purged all but 10 of the ads from January 6 and all ads posted on January 7. Rent Proactive was unable to add new ads until 7:27 p.m. yesterday, when it opened a new can of spam and shoveled 194 new ads into Craigslist by midnight. It closed the day with 1,380 active ads and began posting more this morning.

At the time of the above screen cap, only 10 of today’s ads remained active, 24 from yesterday, and 10 from the day before.

Craigslist doesn’t disclose the number of flags that an ad must receive before being deleted. It appears that enough of you are flagging Rent Proactive ads to make a significant difference in its ad volume, and hopefully you’re taking action on other over-posted ads. We realize that many of you are frustrated and angry over the abusive volume of rental service advertising, but we strongly suggest that you take a cautious, fact-based, disciplined approach to flagging. Thanks for your assistance in the Craigslist Apartment Cleanup.

If you don’t have time to flag ads on Craigslist, Like our Facebook page and tell your friends about it to show your support. If you’re a Chicago rental service, clean up your act rather than calling people I know and muttering curses and threats. Chicago landlords and renters will clean up Facebook, hotpads, Trulia and Zillow and you’ll just have to deal with that.

ADDED: Updated ad count as of 3:15 p.m, January 9: 705.

ADDED: Rent Proactive began the day on 1/11 with 417 active Craigslist ads and added 81 before 9 a.m.

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