GreatApp for Craigslist: A Better Way to Browse

Everyone likes getting a deal, and Craigslist is a great place to start. I always feel like I’m behind the eight ball, though, because everyone seems to be on top of the great listings before I even get there.

That’s why I tried out GreatApp for Craigslist, with its personalized searches and lots of filters. Its notifications should help me stay out in front of the newest listings. I’m going to see if this app is really a help to searching Craigslist or if I’d be better off sticking to the website.

What Are You Looking For?

Start a new search in GreatApp by hitting the plus sign in the bottom left. You can give your search a name, making it a lot easier to find later, but it’s not necessary. Enter a keyword or lots of keywords into the search field. Just like on the real Craigslist, the more keywords you enter, the fewer results you’ll get back, which could be good or bad.

Do a quick search for just about anything.

Do a quick search for just about anything.

You may notice all of these results are nowhere near you unless you live in Long Island, NY, the default search location — in which case, you can just skip this next part. Give the eyeball in the bottom left a poke to get results more relevant to where you’re living. You can change the default location to your city and even plug in several locations, or you can enter a custom location.

I was bummed, though, that the custom locations didn’t carry over to new searches. I’d like to enter the five or so nearest cities, and then be able to cycle through them, but GreatApp forces me to search them all at once in the default location or enter them over and over again with every new search into the custom location.

When you’re ready for new results, tap the refresh icon. If you don’t want to be that hands on with it, though, set your search to automate itself, and GreatApp will pull all of the new results on its own. Flip on notifications, and you’ll get a heads up whenever you’ve got something new to look at in your Craigslist searches.

Just be careful with that automate and notifications combo, though, especially if you’ve committed yourself to receiving results from a lot of different locations, because you can look forward to receiving a bunch of notifications at regular intervals.

Set your locations, so you only get results near you.

Set your locations, so you only get results near you.

Judging by some of the App Store reviews, GreatApp may have fallen down on refining searches in the past, but the app seems to have it in the bag, now. Click on Filters at the bottom, and there’s a ton of stuff you can use to narrow down your searches. I prefer only listings with images, so I always keep that checked, and all of the categories can be found here, too.

It’s a simple thing to search in multiple categories while excluding others, and GreatApp makes it easy to not only include specific keywords, but to exclude problem keywords that seem to be wrecking your searches, too. Add a minimum or maximum price, just to make your search that much easier.

Things to Improve

When I’m on the lookout for something, whether it’s a piece of furniture or a job listing, I camp out on Craigslist and just about wear out CMD+R refreshing whatever search or category I’m watching. GreatApp’s notifications take a bit of that pressure off of me, but it’s not perfect. Switching locations, as mentioned above, is kind of a pain. There should just be a better way to save my most searched places and shift among them.

Create filters for each search, so you only find just what you want.

Create filters for each search, so you only find just what you want.

While GreatApp will display a thumbnail image for the listing, and you can remove any listings that don’t have pictures at all, there’s no way to tell if there are any other images. The listing may be loaded down with really great pictures of whatever’s being sold, but you won’t know unless you open the listing, and you’ll only ever get a tiny preview image out of GreatApp.

Final Thoughts

GreatApp for Craigslist still has some pretty great stuff going for it, though. You can open the listing in your default browser right from the app, but with a double-click, you’ll get all of the information in an expanded search result in GreatApp. If you’re ready to pull the trigger, no need to open the listing at Craigslist, because you can email the poster from GreatApp. Unfortunately, that opens Mail.app, and while great, it’s not everyone’s preferred email client, but the option is there.

The expanded listings in the app are great, but they're limited.

The expanded listings in the app are great, but they’re limited.

GreatApp solves a lot of problems for me. I was watching a lot of Craigslist categories via RSS, but it’s not the most efficient way to get things done. GreatApp allows me to create and monitor personalized searches, so much better than those RSS feeds, and I get notifications as soon as something new is posted. It’s a really good solution for a specific problem. While there are some areas that could use improvement, GreatApp is a big step up for anyone who looks to Craigslist often.


Summary

This is a great way to get notifications about new Craigslist listings. There are lots of filters, but I wish the locations worked a little better.

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