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Newspaper sales must evolve too – it starts with classifieds

Bar Camp Block Classifieds
Image by blmurch via Flickr

I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I did a while back called “Sales must evolve too” – I think sometimes iitis easy for the web developers and people “on the outside” of sales to point fingers…but as my Grandma used to say – when you do that you have three pointing back at yourself.  Well, I put those three to use and came up with an idea.

Classifieds is really broke and people want it?

Yup, the newspaper classifieds is dead.  Game over.  Stop resuscitation – call it doctor.  Not a surprise.

Want a surprise?  Craigslist isn’t far from it. (example: Craigslist Dying)  What you say?  Yes – actually, Craigslist was broke before it started.  It cannot scale, searching stinks, its a closed model –  remind you of anything…it does me. It’s just like the rows and rows of text printed on paper – only it’s rows and rows of text on my screen.

So – how can we change classifieds?

Turn it around.  Yup,we’re going at this in the wrong direction.  We’re trying to continue to use the megaphone effect.  This is backwards.  We need to start at the people who have the need and provide a channel for them to broadcast their needs and allow the people who have the stuff to find them.

I call it the “Wish list” approach.

We need a system which allows people to put the things they want on a “wish list”.  Let’s call them the List people.  Then we can seek out people who have those items, let’s call them the Item havers.

Since we already know the List people what what the Item havers have, then we only need to connect the two.  This is where the monitization comes in.  We can actually push out lists from the List people to the Item haversThe List people are happy because the Itme havers have what they need.  The Item havers are happy – because its not a random a banner ad on a page…they know the List people are, at some point, wanting what they have on their list.  Item havers will pay for people who really want something – a qualified lead.

This isn’t really fully baked yet – I’ll follow-up with some pictures int he coming days, but I think you get the point.  Let me know if you have thoughts and/or ideas.

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3 Responses to “Newspaper sales must evolve too – it starts with classifieds”

  1. Excellent thoughts Tom! The list people or wish list is a very needed functionality. Searching for stuff is cumbersome, but having it come to you is a great concept.

    Timing is probably something that needs to be explored further. I’d guess the decision to sell something (item havers) is just a brief period. Pushing the item out to the list people, of course, offers immediacy. Now, what about the people that have not quite decided they have something to sell, but might if they knew there was a market for items they have?

    Posted by Scott Swenson | February 17, 2009, 11:42 am
  2. Thanks for the comments Scoot, to address your point:

    “Now, what about the people that have not quite decided they have something to sell, but might if they knew there was a market for items they have?”

    You could have varying levels of intent. I HAVE to have this product, I WANT this product or this would be COOL.

    Thanks again,

    Posted by Tom Altman | February 17, 2009, 12:47 pm


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