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Ugly ads no more: vFlyer makes pretty classifieds

Ugly ads no more: vFlyer makes pretty classifieds

Here's a useful new Web utility: vFlyer, a site that builds nice classified ads for you and posts them on ad sites such as Oodle. Ads go to the right services: items for sale get put in classifieds services in the correct zip code, and job postings show up on job aggregators such as SimplyHired.

vFlyer can't autopost into the two most important person-to-person markets, eBay and CraigsList, but it does have a browser bookmarklet to easily create a CraigsList ad (like this one), and it creates HTML that you can paste into any other site.

The service makes it easy to create a good-looking ad, which appears the same wherever you post it. But there's more to vFlyer than the nice formatting. For example, the service attaches a response page to each ad, which buffers your real e-mail address from potential buyers. (The company makes money by running its own advertisements on the response pages.) You can also track the performance of your ad on the various sites where it's posted.

While the vFlyer ads do look pretty good, the service is in beta, and some things need to be improved. For example, vFlyer tries to be smart about where it posts your ads, but the site doesn't let you choose or even see which services it is posting to. You can't format the text in your ads; even line breaks and simple HTML get filtered out.

Future enhancements include the ability to submit ads to sites that require payment (most job boards, for example), and even possibly to buy Google ad words for your flyer.

This is an interesting and potentially useful tool, although users need to understand that it's not a store or a classified service itself. While everything you list ends up posted on the vFlyer site, the service is designed not as a destination, but rather as a hub from which sellers distribute listings to other places on the Web. (In direct contrast, another Web classifieds service, Edgeio, is a centralized classifieds reader. It sucks up classifieds from all over the Web, including vFlyer.)

Once some of its beta issues are ironed out, vFlyer should be a useful utility for anybody trying to sell stuff online.