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Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/24/11 9:54 a.m.

If you use Craigslist often and need to search multiple Craigslist sites, you'll find this browser extension useful.

Craigslist Helper for Firefox

Craigslist Helper for Chrome

Craigslist Helper makes your use of Craigslist more productive. It makes finding the ads you are searching for easier. Follow up on the ads, keep notes related to an ad, preview the ad text and images without any clicking, bookmark the ads and more.

Features:

  • Image Thumbnails & Previews

  • Ad Previews : See the ad without clicking or opening a new window.

  • Alerts: Notifies you when there are new ads matching your search.

  • Search multiple CL sites : by distance, by state or all of CL

  • Add Notes To Ads : Keep track of communications and relevant information.

  • Ignore & Hide Ads : Don't see these ads again.

  • Blacklist Filter : Any ads containing words in this list are hidden.

  • Map Popups For Locations

  • Highlight new ads

  • Phone Numbers : Highlight phone numbers. Link to find other ads etc by poster.

  • Update car & truck listing with year & miles when available

  • Options to fine tune the behavior and look & feel.

  • Lazyloading : Preview the ads without using up any extra bandwidth.

  • Collapsed search form : See more ads without having to scroll.

  • Search multiple CL sites : by distance, by state or all of CL

  • Preview entire thread in the forums

  • Bookmark (star) ads and see them all together

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
3/24/11 10:15 a.m.

...and they sell canoes too.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy SuperDork
3/24/11 12:07 p.m.

Actually, I like that plug in. Glad he's made a FF version. It's the only reason I used Chrome

ClemSparks
ClemSparks SuperDork
3/24/11 12:09 p.m.

Most helpful canoe yet? I've been wishing I could get alerts...I'll have to check it out.

Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/24/11 12:11 p.m.

914Driver, are you saying my post is inappropriate? If so, could you tell me why?

I have a feeling 'canoes' has a negative connotation or is this just a non sequitur and is supposed to be humorous?

... yeah, and they sell cars too.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
3/24/11 12:20 p.m.

Canoes are generally thought of as new members who are trying to sell stuff. Obviously, what you had to say has value to us, as we spend a lot of wasted time on CL. So, as far as I'm concerned, welcome aboard. You do drive a Miata, right? You will find this site populated by a very diverse group that generally play well with each other.

Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/24/11 12:37 p.m.

Grtechguy, I'm glad you like the extension. I had earlier written an extension to preview images and ads on Craigslist but when I started searching for a VW Westfalia, I decided to write this.

ClemSparks, the alerts are not email alerts. Your browser has to be running for the alerts to show. Otherwise, when you launch your browser, if there are new ads for the searches you are monitoring, it will show you an alert with links to the searches. On clicking on the link, it'll open up your search and highlight the new ads. The alerts can be set for searches within a single CL site or multiple CL sites (including all of CL).

cwh, thank you for explaining 'canoe' to me. I guess it does kinda apply to me but I wasn't randomly throwing it out and it is a FREE extension. Given the numerous discussions on this site, I know many people here would find this useful. And, no I don't drive a Miata :)

By the way, I'm open to feature request. Just let me know.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy Reader
3/24/11 2:54 p.m.

Yeah, let's not canoe him just yet. Since it is free and he is responding like a human being, I suggest we let him play in the Sandbox.

Also, I am installing this thing post-haste.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
3/24/11 2:58 p.m.

Love the add-on!

nderwater
nderwater HalfDork
3/24/11 3:01 p.m.
Ziink wrote: I had earlier written an extension to preview images and ads on Craigslist but when I started searching for a VW Westfalia, I decided to write this... Given the numerous discussions on this site, I know many people here would find this useful. And, no I don't drive a Miata :)

lol, it looks like he fits right in with the rest of us

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
3/24/11 3:06 p.m.

Decided to write your own script because you were searching for an old VW?

ONE OF US. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix Reader
3/24/11 3:07 p.m.

Can VW Westphalia be the new code word for disagreeing with a 'canoe' post.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit Dork
3/24/11 3:57 p.m.

In reply to ShadowSix:

I like that idea.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
3/24/11 4:52 p.m.

I too was skeptical this morning when I first saw this posting. It was the disguised links that concerned me along with it only being the second posting from Ziink. The dialog here has cleared my concerns and I downloaded it, pretty cool. I will play around with it an feel it out.
Others may experience the same but after I downloaded it I was not sure what to do. Once I went to the regular craigslist website is when I started to see the magic happen. I was expecting something more like the old craigslook or searchtempest where you then have to access a separate web address. For this you just go to the regular craigslist site.

Thanks and welcome.

PS: I honestly thought something may have been broken when I first opened it because oddly, the first vehicle listed was an '84 VW Vanagon.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury SuperDork
3/24/11 5:05 p.m.

Hoe
Lee
Crap

Awesome!

Yep, this guy belongs here in a big 'ol way. Welcome aboard!

Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/24/11 7:18 p.m.

Thanks guys.

As jrw1621 pointed out, it's nothing like craigslook or searchtempest. I did like craigslook before it got shut down. I might not written this if craigslook were still working.

For multi-site search, Craigslist Helper queries each site and then collates the results (removes duplicates and sorts) and presents you with the result with the image previews. If you search all of CL, then the extension actually queries google and enhances the result with previews and a consistent look & feel. You can set an alert on any of these searches.

Some tips that are helpful for car buying: 1) Hot-linked phone numbers. Clicking on the phone number does a search for it on Google. This will show up all ads posted by the seller will often show that for-sale-by-owner is actually a for-sale-by-dealer.

2) Ignoring people who keep reposting a car you are not interested in and it keeps showing up in your results. Select the phone number or a characteristic phrase in the ad, right click, and select 'Ignore Ads Containing Selected Phrase'. You will not see those ads again.

3) Sometimes, the model year or the mileage on the car is not listed in the ad title but is listed within the ad. The add-on will automatically scan for this information and add it to the listing. There's this long thread here about hotlinking images but here goes anyway.

4) Just hide the ads that you are not interested in so they don't show up again.

Adding a couple of images to give you an idea of the interface.

Extension popup showing various options & Image preview when mouse hovers over thumbnail.

Ad text pops up when mouse over the ad title. Any phone number in the ad is highlighted and converted into a link that will search for it on Google.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
3/24/11 7:29 p.m.

The instant alerts when new items come up are excellent - great work!

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo SuperDork
3/24/11 10:17 p.m.

At first I was all like "CANOE!", but now I'm all VW Westfalia

I love the layout with the pictures and mouse over text. This has some really nice features. Well done dude.

Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/25/11 12:42 p.m.

Thanks dj06482 and EastCoastMojo.

EastCoastMojo, you can choose the max number of thumbs to show for any listing in the options. The default is set to 6. This prevents any ad that contains tens of images from messing up the listing.

Found out that Safari extensions are similar to Chrome extensions. Any Safari users here?

fritzsch
fritzsch New Reader
3/25/11 12:51 p.m.

I use Safari. Does it work for Safari?

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing HalfDork
3/25/11 5:31 p.m.

Holy cow. This is awesome!

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury SuperDork
3/25/11 6:04 p.m.

I use safari on iPad, but Im not sure how Safari add ons work with the mobile OS...

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
3/25/11 6:19 p.m.

I'm a computer retard, and this thing is easy for dumbness

Searchtempest_Nathan
Searchtempest_Nathan New Reader
3/26/11 6:14 a.m.

Hey,

Nathan from SearchTempest.com here. This actually looks pretty cool. Gets around some of the limitations that a web-based solution can't handle without being blocked (ala Craiglook). Hopefully CL doesn't take issue.

Just wanted to note that this app should actually work well with SearchTempest. Although it does allow you to search all cities, that search is based on Google, and so won't catch every result (particularly the most recent ones). Since SearchTempest shows you the actual results from craigslist in frames though, the app should still give you all the good filtering and previews and such (along with the ST benefit of searching a specified distance from your zip).

Heading off now, but I'll give it a try tomorrow to make sure. If it doesn't work, Ziink, I'd be happy to work with you to get that going.

Ziink
Ziink New Reader
3/26/11 11:03 a.m.

Thanks jimbob_racing & aussiesmg.

fritzsch, I have the Safari version mostly working on my machine but I don't yet know how to make it available to others. It should be simple enough so hopefully I'll release the Safari version in the next few days.

Nathan, you've done a commendable job with SearchTempest given the constraints of doing this on a website.

To clarify on the multi-site search, Craigslist Helper actually searches individual sites when you search by distance (upto 999 miles) or within the state. It uses Google only for 'All of Craigslist' because otherwise it would have to query over 700 CL sites or over 400 if you restrict it to US only. This would just slow things down. I see that you've done the smart thing and restrict it to only 10 sites per page.

One cool feature of SearchTempest is that you could select individual cities irrespective of their distance from each other.

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