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Automated Craigslist searching?
October 11, 2012 12:49 AM   Subscribe

I often check craigslist (Tokyo, where I live) to look for deals on various things I'd like to buy. I tire, though, of clicking through the different categories, sifting through all the silt to find a nugget worth asking about. Is there any way to automate searching through craigslist?

I've seen some sites that allow you to search all the cities around the world at once, a craigslist search engine, but as I am only interested in my city (and not interested in international buying), these aren't useful.

For example let's say I'm looking for a coffee maker. One reason it's so frustrating is people will put, say, a coffee maker in "electronics" or "appliances" or "garage sale" or half a dozen others. So I have to check each subsection and still may not find a coffee maker.

It would be super peachy if there were some way to be notified, maybe by email?, as soon as someone posted a coffee maker on the site. I'm no programmer, but I would imagine this would take some pretty robust software to do this. I did find something called "Craigslist Search Agent", but it seems to have been pulled and isn't being updated.

Hope this makes sense. What say you all? Is there some bot that can do the searching for me?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
hmmm. One thing I remember reading a few years ago, and maybe this has changed, is that craigslist is very active in going after/shutting down other sites and apps that automate their site. So even if you find something that works, it may not be there for long.

But anyways, if you go to the main page for Tokyo, and type in your search words, doesn't it give you results from every for-sale category? That works for me here in Vancouver.
posted by mannequito at 1:06 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


IFTTT does exactly what you ask.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:08 AM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


http://www.list-alert.com/
posted by MiggySawdust at 1:10 AM on October 11, 2012


I set up searches in Craig's List, then hook those up to my RSS Reader with the litle link they offer on every search page.
posted by chiefthe at 2:07 AM on October 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I was going to suggest IFTTT, which I was just introduced to in a different thread. One of the many cool things it can do is send you an email alert when something pops up in a search you create. That said, it's not really any more powerful than Craigslist itself is. It's just a way to get the results without having to actually perform a search yourself each time, on all the different parts of the site.
posted by Sara C. at 4:26 AM on October 11, 2012


I use pipes.yahoo.com to consolidate several searches into one RSS feed, which I check on a regular basis, which may be an option for you.
posted by bwilms at 4:31 AM on October 11, 2012


But anyways, if you go to the main page for Tokyo, and type in your search words, doesn't it give you results from every for-sale category? That works for me here in Vancouver.

I'd assume it does, but when you do that you get a pretty intense signal-to-noise ratio for certain kinds of searches. For example doing that for apartments (even without the "housing" sub-section), you see results for housing wanted, office space, homes for sale, etc. I'm also pretty sure that searching from the main Tokyo page doesn't allow you to narrow the search by price range or whether the listing includes a photo.

It could work if all you want is a coffeemaker, though, I guess, since there aren't that many different options for coffeemakers.
posted by Sara C. at 4:31 AM on October 11, 2012


Ugh, that should say "within the housing sub-section", sorry.
posted by Sara C. at 4:32 AM on October 11, 2012


Did not know about IFTTT, that looks very interesting. thanks, all!
posted by zardoz at 1:45 PM on October 11, 2012


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