the LYNCH report

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How To Search All Craigslist Sites At Once Using Firefox Keywords…

with 21 comments


Craigslist, with its bbs-inspired aesthetic, is a great site for finding things locally; we use it all the time. However there are times when it would be great to be able to search all the individual Craigslist sites at once. This is particularly true when trying to find rare, antique or otherwise obscure items (for example a Ferrrai 246, or just the right wheels for our vintage BMW 6 Series).

Since Craigslist is based on a local model, manually searching the globe via Craigslist would entail searching thousands of sites individually. We present a double shortcut today: a Firefox keyword search that lets you search every Craigslist site by entering just two letters in your address bar plus the item you’re searching for.

For those unfamiliar with Firefox’s excellent keyword feature, it allows you to assign shortcuts for your address bar that populate a web site’s input fields. Here’s a quick example of how it works which you can try right now:

1) Open a new tab or browser window.

2) Go to http://www.imdb.com/

That’s the Internet Movie Database site.

3) Right click in the web site’s search bar and select “Add a Keyword for this Search…”

Right click in the search box and select "Add a Keyword for this Search..."

Right click in the search box and select "Add a Keyword for this Search..."

4) In the box that appears, type “imdb” (without the quotation marks) in both fields. The first field is the name you’ll be saving this keyword as; the second field is the actual shortcut. Click the “Add” button.

Type "imdb" in both fields.

Type "imdb" in both fields.

5) Now go to your address bar and type “imdb dark knight” (again, without the quotation marks) and hit enter. You’ll be taken to the Internet Movie Database’s results page for a Dark Knight search.

Try typing "imdb dark knight" into the address bar.

Try typing "imdb dark knight" into the address bar.

imdb.com's search results.

Keyword result: imdb.com's search results.

Now, anytime you want to search for a movie, you need only enter “imdb” into your address bar, followed by a space and the name of the movie – you’ll get the same result as if you’d visited imdb.com and entered the name of the movie in imdb.com’s search bar. This works with any site and is a great time saver.

OK, time for part II: a global Craigslist search with a keyword.

1) Go to http://www.google.com.

2) In the search field, right click and select “Add Keyword for this Search…”.

3) In the Name field, enter “Craigslist” (no quotations).

4) In the Keyword field, enter “cl” (again, no quotation marks). Click the “Add” button.

Adding keyword information.

Adding keyword information.

5) Open your bookmarks and right click on your “Craigslist” bookmark. Select “Properties”.

Right click your Craigslist bookmark and select "Properties".

Right click your Craigslist bookmark and select "Properties".

6) In the Location field, enter “http://www.google.com.my/search?hl=en&q=site:craigslist.org%20%22%s%22&meta=”

Not to be ridiculously repetitive, but no quotation marks please!

Click the “Add” button.

Adding our global Craigslist search parameters.

Adding our global Craigslist search parameters.

That’s it.

From now on, whenever you want to search all the Craigslist sites in existence for an item, simply enter “cl” followed by a space, followed by the name of the item you’re looking for.

Searching all Craigslist sites for a Ferrari 246.

Searching all Craigslist sites for a Ferrari 246.

Ferrari 246s everywhere!

Ferrari 246s everywhere!

NOTE: the above keyword searches for exact matches (ie the equivalent of enclosing a phrase in quotation marks in Google). If you prefer to search results with the included words but not the exact phrase, substitute the following for the Location field in your “Craigslist” Properties dialogue:

http://www.google.com.my/search?hl=en&q=site:craigslist.org%20%s&meta=

The perfect wheels for our 6 Series - thanks, Craigslist Nashville!

The perfect wheels for our vintage 6 Series - thanks, Craigslist Nashville!

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Written by westcoastsuccess

July 22, 2008 at 11:04 pm

21 Responses

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  1. Thankyou! You just saved me tons of work!

    SAL

    August 19, 2008 at 4:08 pm

  2. Glad we could help, SAL!

    westcoastsuccess

    August 19, 2008 at 5:08 pm

  3. Fantastic. Thanks!

    dave mh

    September 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  4. Glad you found it helpful, Dave!

    westcoastsuccess

    September 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm

  5. THANKS! Can I use this for MS IExplorer as well? I have Firefox at home, but we use Explorere in the office? How about on my web enabled pc cellphone?

    Thanks.

    Brian Stark

    December 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    • Hi Brian,

      This won’t work on MS IE, at least up to version 7 (we haven’t played around with v.8 beta yet, and have no plans to). Nor will it work on a smart phone, as far as we know.

      westcoastsuccess

      December 21, 2008 at 12:53 pm

  6. Hey Brian,

    Nice article. I’ve been using your technique for a while to buy antiques and rare stuff on craigslist.

    One useful tip: you can set up automated email alerts to notify you when the item matching your criteria is available on craigslist.

    Here’s how:

    1. Set up craigslist search (as described in the article)
    2. Set up Yahoo! Pipe to fetch results from this search (just copy / paste URL)
    3. Subscribe to Pipe’s RSS with Firefox or any other RSS client

    Enjoy.

    Craigslist Search

    December 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

  7. This is sweet!! I have been looking & asking for a site that does a search all the individual Craigslist sites at once which I just received this info from a east coast buyer informing me about it and I am on the west coast, what a time saver and money maker for me especially today Thanks again Happy 2009

    Carl

    January 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  8. […] for power users – Craigslist robneb.com – Search Craigslist from Firefox google + firefox muscle: How To Search All Craigslist Sites At Once Using Firefox Keywords… the LYNCH report no need to reinvent the […]

  9. You rock. Thanks for the tip.

    Saturnine

    February 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

  10. I can’t get this to work on the most recent version of Modzilla. The box that pops up after you select “Add a Keyword for this Search..” is different that the one displayed. Is there a work around for this. I used to use this script a few years ago and it worked great. Would like to try again.

    irishman66

    October 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    • I’ve been messing with this today – here’s another (easier?) option… if you want to do a global craigslist search on ‘anri nativity’ enter this in your google search box ->

      anri nativity -directory site:craigslist.org

      Anonymous

      December 11, 2010 at 9:44 am

  11. AMAZING! thank you sooooo much!!!!!

    seeker

    April 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

  12. Very cool.

    Anonymous

    September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  13. I meant search,sorry for the previous post mis spell

    javier

    September 14, 2011 at 8:33 am

    • Unfortunately not via this method.

      westcoastsuccess

      September 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

  14. this was something i needed for a looooong time. i even sent few emails to craigslist but cant get any feedback. Thanks a lot man. I’ll nominate this page for Top 5 Most Useful Articles on The Web!

    sal

    October 7, 2012 at 3:41 am

  15. A friendly reminder for anyone who wants to try that. You’ll type “cl (whatever)” on firefox search bar. not in google search bar. I made this mistake.

    sal

    October 7, 2012 at 3:44 am

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