Craigslist automated notifications would be a good idea.
August 26, 2009 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Why hasn't anyone created a mainstream application/website to generate Craigslist notifications similar to EBay's "saved searches"?

I'm not quite sure what I mean by "mainstream", but I do know that I've googled the heck out of it, and I can't find anything that appears to be risk free or just simply free ($).
posted by Dave. to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
They have an RSS feature for search results. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good.
posted by one_bean at 6:36 PM on August 26, 2009

Funny you should ask, Wired recently devoted a cover story to the inner workings of Craigslist.

Here's a quote from the piece: "If you try to build a third-party application designed to make craigslist work better, the management will almost certainly throw up technical roadblocks to shut you down." It goes into more detail, and it's a really interesting read.

There are some ways to sort of work around this. For instance, using an RSS reader to subscribe to a particular search. If I'm looking for something, this is usually the way I do it.

There are also a few services that alert you by email. I've looked at FeedmyInbox, but I don't use it. (Consumerist posted on this recently as well)
posted by lesli212 at 6:37 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

There was one and it worked very well, but Craigslist made them shutdown it down.
posted by 14580 at 6:37 PM on August 26, 2009

Not sure, but it could be because Craig and Jim aren't really crazy about other websites trying to make money off of Craigslist. Some quotes in this article for reference. To wit:
A few years ago, independent programmer Jeff Atwood created a service that would allow people to search multiple cities at once or even search craigslist globally. Buckmaster arranged some technical interference to kill it off. Another programmer named Ryan Sit created a service called Listpic, which scraped images from craigslist and dumped them into an interface for browsing: You could scan through all the photos from the apartment listings or see pictures of all the dogs up for adoption. Buckmaster banished Listpic, too.
posted by littlerobothead at 6:38 PM on August 26, 2009

Thanks for all for the info. Littlerobothread, that quote was what I suspected was the case. Disappointing that they would both 1) be averse to allowing services that benefit us ... and 2) not provide a useful service themselves.

/btw, littlerobot and lesli, I need to brush up on my unread issues of Wired ... damn that's a good magazine.

One_bean, I'm going to look into that RSS feed ...
posted by Dave. at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2009

It's not difficult to scrape craiglist. I did it before I relied you could get rss feeds from search results.
posted by PueExMachina at 7:19 PM on August 26, 2009

not provide a useful service themselves

The other takeaway from that Wired article is that they only have 30 employees.
posted by smackfu at 7:19 PM on August 26, 2009

Google Alerts can do this. You can set up an alert to point at a specific site (or page within a site, for that matter).
posted by GPF at 4:55 AM on August 27, 2009

According to the article from the current issue is that they do listen to users more than they listen to developers trying to sell something so write an email with the suggestion.
posted by JJ86 at 6:02 AM on August 27, 2009

Hey Craig! "The simplest way to find the stuff you want on craigslist. Give us a keyword, an email and a location. We'll email you when stuff you want is available. It's seriously that simple."
posted by kidsleepy at 8:47 AM on August 27, 2009

To be more specific, when you search for something, you will always find an RSS button at the bottom of the search results, which will give you an RSS feed for that specific search in that specific city. It updates sporadically, 1-2 times / day.
posted by one_bean at 4:20 PM on August 27, 2009

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