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How to get automatic updates to Craigslist search results

Craigslist is one of the truly revolutionary Internet tools, making life much easier for buyers, sellers, job seekers, lonely hearts, and many more. It can be a pain to check in regularly, hoping not to miss out on that missed connection or mint-condition issue of Action Comics No. 1, but there's an easy way to get updates regularly using RSS.

Craigslist evokes much of what's best about the internet: free, simple communication accessible by everyone. It's democratized sales and keeps paid sites honest (and, to be sure, has contributed to the long, slow death of print media). Still, as with many popular sites, it can be hard to keep up with, especially for those of us who monitor several different areas. It's easy to get updates through RSS, though, and well worth the tiny effort it takes. Here's how you do it: 

  1. If you already use an RSS reader, skip ahead to step 2. Otherwise, you need to set one up, which is fairly easy. If you have a Google account, you've already got Google Reader, or you can download an app for your computer or mobile device by searching for "RSS reader" wherever you find your apps. You may want to dedicate one to Craigslist posts if you're a heavy user. Each one is different, but all you need to know for now is how to add a new feed and how to read new posts, which should be bundled into the help file or tutorial. 
  2. Find a Craigslist results page you want to keep tabs on, then scroll down to the bottom right. Right-click the orange RSS icon and select "copy link address." 
    Step 2: Copy link location.
    Step 2: Copy link location.
  3. Head back to your RSS reader and add the feed. For Google Reader, you click the Add a Subscription button, but all readers are slightly different. Paste the link address from Craigslist into the text field and you've got a new feed. 

There will be a delay between the posting on Craigslist and its arrival in your reader, so for anything that is time-sensitive with a narrow window (like an hour or less), you should head over to the main site and refresh often. For most uses, though, this is the way to go.