Craigslist offers classified advertisements that can be useful to your business. For example, you can filter ads by city, saving time compared to searching national or international sites. The site also covers a wide range of categories, including recruitment, professional services and buying and selling goods that may be of use to if, for instance, you need to buy used office equipment when first establishing your business. By default, replies to Craigslist ads are not anonymous.

Anonymity: Advertiser

Craigslist does not have its own messaging system. Instead, advertisements contain a button marked "Reply to this post" which sends messages to the email address selected by the advertiser. The advertiser can, and often will, choose to use an anonymous address provided by Craigslist, rather than publish their own address. This removes the potential for embarrassment when placing a sensitive ad. It also helps filter replies in email software, automatically sending all the replies to a particular mail folder, for example.

Anonymity: Respondents

People replying to a Craigslist ad do not have anonymity by default. Your message is transmitted via email and carries the same sender information as any other email, including those sent directly rather than through a Web page link. This presents an issue if you need further information about the item in the ad, but don't want to reveal your identity. For example, if your business is seeking to replace an independent contractor and you need more information about the professional advertising relevant services, you can't mask your email when you send an inquiry to this professional. This can be awkward if the professional posting the ad is a friend or colleague of the person you currently have on board.


The only way to reply to a Craigslist advertisement anonymously is to create a separate, non-identifiable email account rather than your main account. Using a free provider, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail/Live Mail, is an inexpensive solution. The email masks your identity, keeping it separate from the primary domain you use for business email. Confirm the correct email appears when you press the "Reply to this Post" button. Clicking on the "Use Default Email" button opens your standard email software or Web page. Click any of the links under "Reply Using Webmail" and make sure you are logged in to the webmail service under the email account you wish to use. The safest method is to copy the recipient's address (which is highlighted at the bottom of the screen) and paste it into the "To:" field of your email software or webmail page.


You risk appearing unprofessional if you use an anonymous email account, however, especially if you don't include your contact details in the message. The person receiving the email may disregard it, believing it to be spam or not a serious inquiry without the backing of a professional domain or contact information that makes your inquiry more substantive.