If you’ve spent much time trying to search multiple Craigslist sites at once, you’ll know that you can’t do it on Craigslist itself and, for some reason, Craigslist habitually shut down other sites that are set up with that intent. One thing you can do that’s perfectly fine with Craigslist is set up RSS feeds to track your favourite searches – however, it’s rather laborious doing this for every single Craigslist site you want to track. Well, I found a (slightly) quicker way of doing it. Perhaps some time I’ll write a web site to do this, but for the moment it’s manual.
To do this you will need:
- A text editor
- Some patience
- An RSS reader which can import OPML files. I’m going to use Feedly here, although I’d recommend using a mobile app that isn’t Feedly’s own horrible one – I use gReader
First you need to get a list of the prefixes of the Craigslist sites you want to search (e.g. seattle.craigslist.org). This is the most laborious part. They’re listed state-by-state. For each of the states you’re after, go to the equivalent of http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/wa (change the state prefix at the end). The easiest way to get the prefixes out is to view the page source in your web browser, then copy and paste the list into a text editor and do some search-and-replace and some manual editing. Hopefully you can end up with a list something like this:
You’re probably also a bit bored. Fortunately, the next parts are less repetitive. Now you need to go to one Craigslist local site and search for whatever it is you’re actually after. Copy and paste the URL into a text editor. It should look something like:
You need to turn this into an RSS URL – ou can do this by adding “&format=rss” to the end of it. So you’ll end up with:
You now need to make a search-specific URL for every single one of the specific sites. I just did this by doing a search and replace on my site list and replacing “.org” with “.org/search/allmysearchstuff“.
If you’re carefully following my instructions, you should now be in posession of a list that looks like this:
Excellent. if you only have a few of these you can add them to Feedly one-by-one, but if you have a lot then it’s much easier to do it via an OPML feed import file. Go to the feedshow OPML generator and just paste in the list of RSS links you have above. Click “Create OPML”. Hopefully your web browser will show you an XML file. Save this somewhere.
Now, off to Feedly. Under “My Feedly”, click “Organize”. You should see an “Import OPML” button – click on it, and import the OPML file you created above. Some time shall pass and then… tada! You now have RSS feeds to all the Craigslist sites you were monitoring. Depending on which app you’re using to consume the Feedly feeds, you should be able to get alerts on your phone when new listings appear.
There. Don’t say I’m not good to you.