Craigslist is a web-based network that offers users a universal database
for classified ads and forums from all over the world. Multiple Craiglist
listings have varied sections devoted to housing, jobs, resumes, items
wanted, personals, services, community, discussion forums, and much more.
Almost anything can be found on Craigslist, from apartment to rent to a
missed subway connection.
Craigslist full website contains so many listings that it is hard to shift
through all of them and efficiently compare data. That’s why web scraping
Craigslist you can extract all the details you are interested in and
process them further on.
Why Scrape Craigslist Data?
The reasons to extract Craigslist search results and data, in general,
may be variable, the most popular ones are:
Research/AnalyticalData is always needed for writing reports. Whether you are a student or
an investigative journalist, parse the posts in a given section and
analyze data from them. Most likely Craigslist would not even mind it.
PersonalIn case you are looking for a new car, for instance, you may want to
Google and pull up Craigslist data on used cars to correlate prices,
locations, and model details about the vehicles.
For profitCraigslist parser can help you gain data about some items you would like
to buy and resell. Commonly, it’s about event tickets for some events
that are sold out. Finding a ticket below a certain price point, you can
then resell it somewhere else, like eBay.
For businessCraigslist scraping can be used for lead generation, meaning you can
search for those who need your product or service and offer it to them
How Can you Pull Up Craigslist Data?
When it comes to web data scraping, it turns out to be a challenge to
download Craigslist data, since the site is one of the most difficult
resources to scrape, it only allows to post data, unlike the other sites
providing APIs to pull data.
Craigslist is structured so that harvesting read-only information from it
would be impossible. It makes businesses and individuals advantageous
positions from posting on the site. However, nothing is impossible
nowadays and there are tools and ways to parse listings on Craigs list as
well. Let’s talk a bit about the measures taken by the site to prevent
scraping and then proceed to the tools available.
Measures Taken to Deter Craigslist Search Results Scraping
The site developers tried their best to make the task of Craigslist
Basic anti-spam measures are taken.
The users are allowed to post on Craigslist only through a web browser
or a special API.
Web browsers and emails only allow Craigslist access.
Data is protected from scraping by spiders, crawlers, scripts, or
Users’ personal data and contact details are protected.
So, scraping Craigslist, you should be ready for certain complications in
the process and possible consequences.
Craigslist Scraping Solutions
When choosing a Craigslist scraper, you need to consider the data you
want to harvest and choose the tool accordingly. There are plenty of
tools that are ready to be used, but some solutions stand out, and we
are going to look closer at them.
Scrapy is a Craigslist free scrap tool, that is one of the best
solutions, being as all-purpose software easy to configure.
Python Craigslist Data Scraper
This is another free scrap on Craigslist since it’s an open-source code
tool. This Craigslist extractor is one of the most popular ones because
it’s coded in one of the easiest languages and thus easy to learn and
It’s a free open-source project, but unfortunately, this cloud-based web
spider is quite diﬃcult to use. However, if you are not afraid of
difficulties and don’t want to develop a scraper from scratch, you can
Visual Web Ripper
It’s an incredible and powerful tool that can be used as a Craigslist
data extractor. It is simple and intuitive, pointing out directions to
the users and providing tutorials for beginners. Unfortunately, it has
some drawbacks—with a free trial, only a hundred elements can be scraped
from a Craigslist web page. Then you have to pay 350 USD, but in case
you need to scrape data from Craigslist regularly, this may be a
reasonable investment, since you get the lifetime upgrades for this
Craigslist data scraper.
Issues with Craigslist
There are certain issues that complicate Craigslist scraping additionally
to the measures taken.
Post titles, for instance, can include Unicode symbols. It makes texts
more attractive and effective and helps headlines stand out, but creates
problems for scrapers. Since the scraper either has to find the way to
parse these special characters or remove them at all.
Ads may nowadays include phone numbers with a format like (five…3,,,7)
4three….five-four36’’’’8. Even a human can comprehend them with a bit of
difficulty, but a bot finds it impossible to parse such a telephone
The other type of ads have no contact information at all, but only a
poster to contact the company or the person, anonymized email address
provided by Craigslist is used as a forwarding address. So an automated
solution fails to harvest contact information from such ads.
The problem of Spam is actual for certain more personal Craigslist
sections, like Free, Jobs, and the entire Personals category since they
are less moderated. Thus, the data scraped from these sections should be
carefully checked and cleaned.
The only advantage of Craigslist is that in 2013 the site removed the
opportunity to customize ads with HTML features and the data in posts
became more standardized, and thus it’s now easier for a robot to pull
data from a browser window.
Final Word on Craigslist Scraping
As you can see from the above, the Craigslist site is not only a treasury of
valuable data but also a well-protected site with a number of additional
issues. The developers made their best to make scraping impossible, and
that’s why we insist that such a job should be done by professionals.
Experienced data experts, like DataOx’s team, can do all the job carefully,
effectively, and hassle-free. We have lots of tools and technical tricks to
cope with the challenge in a lawful manner. To discuss the details –
a free consultation with our expert.