How do classified ad sites get their initial content?


I've seen "new" classified ad sites have a bunch of listings when they launch. It looks like lots of ads has been posted already although the website was just launched.

Same is true with dating sites.

I'm not sure if there are services out there which we can leverage.

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asked Jun 2 '15 at 05:13
16 points

3 Answers


Almost all dating sites that have gained traction launched with dummy users. Once they start getting real users, they scale back on the fake users.

Both OkCupid and Plentyoffish likely also used bots that message new users from those fake accounts in order to keep the interest of the initial users.

Is that a dirty tactic? Yes. But it's very hard to create any social network without this strategy. Reddit did the same. Alex Ohanian created 10,000 fake users and posted content until they didn't need to do that anymore. Look at Reddit now!

With classified ad sites, I would think they're leveraging the elephant in the room -- Craigslist.

i.e. They probably write a bot that scrapes Craigslist every hour and post the ads on your own platform. And scale back when real users start posting enough content.

When Bright Journey launched, we were able to leverage a previously closed community (OnStartups) to get the initial users. A hefty chunk of those users were able to come to Bright Journey as the other site had closed. Without users from that community, we would have had a really tough time getting any momentum on this site.

So it essentially comes down to using one or more of these:

  • Post content yourself
  • Curate content from another site (Craigslist in your case)
  • Get users of a competitor to come over to your site (only works in certain cases)
answered Jun 2 '15 at 05:56
Nishank Khanna
4,265 points
  • That was really great info you provided, my question is, is there any way that the other website can find out that your website is scraping their content? Secondly, Like Alex Ohanian, created fake users for reditt..which is a forum kinda site... do you think its a need to create fake users for a classified site too? If yes, does it have to create manually or there are tools outside or plugins to create users and scrap content. ? Does google penalize the duplicate content your site is scrapping? – Foodie No.1 4 years ago


Many scrape content from other classifieds sites. This builds the listings (granted, from another source) to look more like a non-one-person site.

answered Jun 2 '15 at 18:52
Damon @
211 points


Thanks Nishank for the valuable response! and based on your response i have confirmed what other classified ads are doing or dating sites =)

I've done the post content myself however, it is not sustainable since i'm doing it manually it seems like i need to get a content curation service to curate a content that will be posted in the website...

answered Jun 2 '15 at 08:40
16 points

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