10 Craigslist Tips for Power Users

3. Dig Into Listings With Free Desktop Apps

CraigsList Reader is a free download that provides a deep search of Craigslist and has a friendly (to some) Microsoft Outlook style. The app is intensely thorough: You can search any listing anywhere, set up notifications, change and save parameter options, and more.

The program functions best for people who embark on epic searches of Craigslist's database rather than those who hope to pick out only a few tidbits. It lets you categorize results, and helps you establish a variety of updates and notifications. In my experience, though, the software complicated tasks that should be simple; for example, it incorporated many features that I found unnecessary for the basic search I conducted. Another drawback is that the app requires Microsoft's .Net framework, which takes forever to download. But heavy Craigslist users--and those who are obsessive about categorizing their searches--may find CraigsList Reader helpful.

4. Monitor Posts Through Paid Desktop Apps

CraigsPal is like CraigsList Reader, but pared down and easier to use. The $30 version, which features an Outlook-like appearance, comes chock-full of features. You can set up e-mail or SMS notifications or e-mail digests, create a favorites list, flag posts, and add posts to the 'Best of craigslist' section.

CraigsPal

A free version is available, but it's a vicious tease of these great features--you can see, but you can't touch. If you have money to spare and you really want to dig your fingers into Craigslist, go with the $30 program, since the free one functions about as well as the original Web site does. Paying $30 can be hard to justify; but if you're intimidated by CraigsList Reader, spending money could be worth it.

5. Have Listings Sent to You via RSS Feeds

Why continuously check a site for updates when an RSS reader can do that for you? Make Google Reader do the heavy lifting. Simply set up the search you want to run constantly--personal-assistant gigs in Los Angeles, for example--and click the orange RSS button located on the far-right side of the URL bar. Google Reader will do the rest of the work, and all you need to do is check your Reader page, which you can do in any browser and on most mobile devices. If you're really motivated, you can also have RSS results texted to you.

6. Get the Lay of the Land When Apartment Hunting

PadMapper

People who are picky about where they live will love PadMapper, a great tool for apartment hunting. It uses the familiar Google Maps interface to show precise apartment locations. PadMapper works outside of Craigslist but is integrated with the site via Google Maps word balloons that open the respective Craigslist page--using it is like seamlessly flicking between two sites that have the same goal in mind. You can filter your search results, too, so you don't waste your time gaping at $3000 one-bedroom apartments. The one flaw of PadMapper is that it ignores Craigslist apartment postings that do not list an address, which can be a sizable number.

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