Automate Craigslist?
May 28, 2006 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Can I automate Craigslist searches?

I'd like to be notified when certain items are posted for sale on Craigslist, but it doesn't have any saved search/email alert function that I can find. Is there any way to do an automated search or set up an email alert, perhaps using a third-party application? It has to be a solution that doesn't violate the Craigslist terms of service. I promise I don't want to spam, I just want to find stuff to buy.

I know about the "wanted" category. I don't want to use that because I don't think that sellers check it very often.

Please, no answers that include the phrase 'write a script' or anything like that. I cannot program. Thanks!
posted by underwater to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
after you do a search there's an RSS link on the bottom right hand side of the page. just copy this link into an RSS reader and you'll be updated on the search results aaallllla the time
posted by soma lkzx at 8:04 AM on May 28, 2006


All you need an RSS reader.

For the Mac I recommend NetNewsWire (there is a free version). On the PC, I'm sure someone will chime in. And yes, firefox does it as well.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Craigslist (and Metafiler!) have the ability for you to grab this sort of info.

It's the ability to get a 'feed' that you monitor - instead of visiting the site and scanning, you get the 'feed' and look only at the headlines.

So, for Craigslist (I'm currently searching for a used toyota, honda or volvo) - I do the search I want...and drag the URL to NetNewsWire (it figures out the RSS stuff)...and now every so often (user settable), my RSS program (NNW) checks to see if there are new posts.

I'm sure it works as painlessly/easily in firefox or whatever the "best" Newsreader is on the PC.

Metafilter bonus you can get an RSS feed of specific Mefi people (or their questions or answers on Ask.meta)
posted by filmgeek at 8:06 AM on May 28, 2006

Try this, then you can further filter for certain keywords in your mail client.
posted by kcm at 8:06 AM on May 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

filmgeek has it. I do the same thing to seach for bikes on craigslist. So
1. Install a RSS client. I recommend Feeddemon if you're on a PC.
2. Run your search on CL. Look for the RSS link on the bottom right (its highlighted on orange). Copy that link and add that as a feed.
3. Your rss reader will notify you everytime something new that fits your search criteria shows up.

posted by special-k at 9:45 AM on May 28, 2006

Your browser (in most cases, I use firefox and safari) will work as an RSS reader. Just drag that little RSS icon in the end of the address bar into your quick links bar, and it'll tell you when there's a new one.
posted by SpecialK at 10:17 AM on May 28, 2006

Yeah, sign up for an account on they will email you or give you an rss for specific keywords on craigslist/other things.
posted by psychobum at 9:44 PM on May 29, 2006

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