In another example of the love-hate relationship between the Internet and established media properties, the Net classifieds company ClassiFind Network has announced partnerships that it says will bring it 1.5 million new ads by the end of the month.
Classified ads in the print world are a $17 billion market, with the rewards going mostly to local newspapers. ClassiFind is one of a few back-end providers and distributors of online classified ads looking to score as traditional media such as newspapers come online first and search for revenue streams later. Now that many print publications have been online for a while, they are starting to look for ways to make their online efforts profitable.
Instead of fighting the Internet, media companies including newspapers and broadcast firms are turning to companies like ClassiFind and its competitor, Classifieds2000, to create their Net-based classified departments.
ClassiFind says its claim to Net fame is its multimedia ad technology, with streaming audio and video as well as five-color pictures.
"As the online classified arena grows, ClassiFind will play an integral role in the ongoing success within the industry," Dave Thoma, president of ClassiFind, said in a statement. "We are enthusiastic about the revenue potential for our new partners using multimedia classifieds."
The company's new partnerships include Montgomery Newspapers, Westward Newspapers, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, and the Roswell Daily Record in New Mexico.
Broadcasters, which traditionally have been locked out of the classified ad business, have jumped on the bandwagon as well. In August, for example, CBS entered a deal with Classifieds2000 where ten CBS-owned stations would sell ads on their Web sites and then promote them on the air.
Also, in the same way local newspapers benefit from classified ads, so do Web sites catering to specific communities. Local city guides, such as Yahoo's Get Local, CitySearch, America Online's Digital City sites, and DiveIn, are beginning to use their local flavor and dynamic nature to garner classifieds and their accompanying revenue.
Other Web sites that benefit from classifieds are those that cater to special interests, such as cars and apartments. ClassiFind is partnering with car dealer network Auto-By-Tel, for example.
Auto-By-Tel's president and chief executive Peter Ellis told an automotive conference yesterday that as many as 20 percent of people who purchase new vehicles today are using Internet-based buying services.
ClassiFind's multimedia ad technology offers customers of Web companies a unique way to display their products and services for sale, the company says. At ClassiFind partner site Rent.Net, for example, apartment listings can include color photographs, floor plans, and location maps.
Competition is stiff in the market to create potentially lucrative back-end classified sections, however. Classified2000, even without ClassiFind's multimedia technology, has garnered partnerships with tremendously influential Net companies such as Excite, Infoseek, Hotmail, Tripod, EarthLink, and Snap Online. (Snap is a division of CNET: The Computer Network, publisher of NEWS.COM.)