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If you have every tried to sell something on Craigslist you know that responses can appear very quickly – sometimes almost immediately after you finish your listing. How do they know? How can YOU know when Craigslist is selling something you want?


Craigslist has become something of a cultural phenomonon, with 41.4 million visitors in the month of January 2009, according to It has listings for countries and cities around the world and sells everything under the sun.

Here’s how to use Craigslist to your advantage when looking for that next car, house, gadget, or job.


Craigslist’s search features are quite powerful and can help you filter down to exactly what you want. We’re going to search for a wine fridge for my overflowing wine collection. Here’s the steps:

Step 1 – how to search

I purposefully picked a search term that was two words (wine fridge) to emphasize a point. If you go to the Vancouver version of and type in the words wine rack you will get, as of this writing, 17 responses. However if you search for “wine fridge” with the enclosed quotes you will only get 8 responses. Why is this?

Enclosing your search term in quotes makes Craigslist search for the two words together, whereas without quotes it searches for each word inidividually. In our search 17 people listed something with either the word “wine” or the word “fridge” in it, however only 8 are actually selling a “wine fridge”.

Step 2 – Picture or no picture

I don’t know about you, but I prefer those people who have taken the time to include a picture with their submission. Clicking the “has image” box in the search window at the top of the page will filter anyone who has not included a picture. This reduced the search to only 4 sellers for our wine fridge.


Step 3 – Other Filters

Depending on what you are searching for you can select price, number of bedrooms, etc, and you also have the tabs across the top to filter by city location.

Step 4 – Keep the search

Now the fun part! Once you have the search the way you want and are getting the listings that properly match what you are looking for, scroll to the very bottom of the page. At the bottom-right you will see this


If you use Yahoo’s RSS reader you can click the link and it will add itself automatically. If not simply right-click on the RSS icon and copy the link, then paste it into your favorite RSS reader.

If you are using Outlook 2003 or Thunderbird you have a RSS reader built-in. If not there are many free RSS readers out there including Google and Yahoo.

So there you go! Now, when someone adds a Craigslist submission that matches your search term you will be the first to know and be able to respond before that beloved item gets snatched by someone else.

Got any other Craigslist tips? Let us know!