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Classified Advertising On Your Website


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#1 EGOL

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 01:40 PM

I have been thinking about starting a classified ad page on my site. Any ideas or experience that you would like to share on this topic will be welcome in this thread. I have a few comments and questions below.....


CLASSIFIEDS MIGHT MAKE SERIOUS MONEY

You might be able to make some serious money from classifieds. Imagine 50 ads paying $100/year. That's $5000/year!


I CAN GET A LOT OF EYEBALLS ON THE ADS

If I include a prominent link to the classified page in my top navigation I think that I would get a nice number of visitors.

If I optimize the page for search terms such as "widget dealers", I know that it will rank well and pull SERP traffic.


LAUNCHING WITHOUT LOOKING "NAKED"

To launch the page I will give a few people free ads for a limited amount of time to keep the page from looking "naked".... and offer great deals to the first few people who pay.


WHO GETS TOP SPOT?

Once I get my second paying advertiser in any category I have a problem.... Which ad should be displayed at the top of the category? Here are some ideas what do you think?

a) first paying advertiser gets the top spot until he gives it up by not renewing

B) advertiser with the longest paid-term gets the top spot

c) advertiser with the most expensive ad gets the top spot

d) randomly shuffle the ad order with a program giving each ad equal weight

e) randomly shuffle the ad order with a program giving advertisers with longer paid terms slightly greater weight

f) randomly shuffle the ad order with a program giving advertisers with the most expensive ads slightly greater weight


SIMPLIFYING RECORD KEEPING

If the ads all expire on December 31 then I can send reminders in batches instead of one-at-a-time.


WEEDING OUT SPAMMERS AND LINKBUYERS

All ads will be nofollow and that will be clearly stated in the "Info to Advertisers" page.


INCOME POTENTIAL

Assuming that your site can attract advertisers you could make say $100/year for a twenty word ad... this classified page could have a higher income than any other page on your site.

#2 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:28 PM

There used to be all sorts of classified ad Perl/PHP scripts you could install on your site. I'm sure there must be some Wordpress plugins now. Problem is, you'll get spammed to death. I toyed with the idea of installing the ads on my sites for several years but every time I looked at sites running the code they were spammed to death.

I think you may be able to find a third-party service (similar to AdSense) that can help you but then you have to give them a cut and you have to meet their quality guidelines.

It just seemed like too big a headache to deal with for me. But it's been several years since I last looked into it.

#3 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:37 PM

Did the spammed sites charge for the ads? It's kinda hard for me to picture spammers paying for the opportunity to spam - or site owners letting those kind through.

#4 EGOL

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:05 PM

If I am charging $100 there will still be some "link buyers" trying to weasel a dofollow link. Those are the people who I expect to be spammed by - but not yield to.

I don't plan to have a self-service system. I will probably have a .pdf contract on the site that the buyer prints, signs and mails to me with ad and payment. If I don't like the ad, I'll mail the contract back.

#5 ltn

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:05 PM

Sounds like a great idea!

Some thoughts.....

WHO GETS TOP SPOT?


Suppose you have enough spots in a category that displaying them requires more than one page. Randomly shuffling the adds might be irritating or confusing to the visitor who sees an add on one visit and doesn't see it on a subsequent visit (not realizing it is now on another page).

What about a tier of add types..say standard, silver, and gold. You would have different price breaks for each. All golds display above the silvers and standards. All silvers display ahead of the standards. Within any category though, they are simply listed in a first come, first listed manner. If someone's subscription expires, their add disappears and the others slide up.

I suppose each tier could also have different display HTML/CSS...the more 'expensive' adds could be more prominent or have additional features. This might entice vendors to buy into a higher tier.

To add a sense of equity, you could use the header to randomly "spotlight" a different vendor on each page display.


SIMPLIFYING RECORD KEEPING

If the ads all expire on December 31 then I can send reminders in batches instead of one-at-a-time.


Some adds might not run for an entire year. So maybe you would sell by the month at a certain price up to six months. Adds running more than six months up to a year get a discount. Anything longer than a year gets an even bigger break. The higher cost of the short-run adds covers the hassle of administration.

You might consider an "auto renew" feature that simply bills the vendor for additional add time unless they opt out before the next billing cycle arrives.

Cheers,

Lance

#6 tam

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:49 AM

I run www.findpetboarding.com which is similar to what I think you're suggesting. Not so much classified ads as a business directory.

CLASSIFIEDS MIGHT MAKE SERIOUS MONEY
You might be able to make some serious money from classifieds. Imagine 50 ads paying $100/year. That's $5000/year!


If it was just that simple everyone would be doing it :D You forgot to factor in that to get 50 paid ads you probably need to find a few thousand potential advertisers. Then you have to provide something that they will pay $100 every year for otherwise you have to find a few more thousand potential advertisers the year after. The everything else associated with organising it.. new software to write to write to upload/display ads/manage accounts, support queries, chasing payments etc. You're also competing with all the free places people can advertise.


I CAN GET A LOT OF EYEBALLS ON THE ADS

You'll need them because people will want leads not just looks so 50 ads wanting to get say a lead a week, you're going to need a few thousand visitors to provide that. If you can get the ranking and a lot of visitors that's definitely a big step in the right direction. If you've already got a big audience that's a good head start.

It's worth thinking about how you'll let advertisers know they are getting leads from you, a lot of the time people won't say that they found the number on x site. If the don't know they won't renew.


LAUNCHING WITHOUT LOOKING "NAKED"

I offer two levels of advertising, basic which is totally free for life but only includes name/address/phone and 'enhanced' which includes wverything - email, pictures, tag lines, text, web link etc. That makes sure I have useful content for visitors even in sections with no paid ads.


WHO GETS TOP SPOT?

In my case paid ads come above free (obviously). I they rank ads in order of the last time they were updated. As people can update as much as they like whether they come top is then up to them and visitors see the ads that are most likely to be accurate first.

You could charge for different spots, I would think that could get a little complicated if you are charging a yearly fee though. Person one pays x for the top spot, but then a month later person y comes along and wants the top spot, but you can't sell it for more until person x runs out, but they are due to renew a month before person y.


SIMPLIFYING RECORD KEEPING - If the ads all expire on December 31 then I can send reminders in batches instead of one-at-a-time.

People will expect to pay for a set period not 134 days or 3 days depending on when they order. You need to work out something to schedule reminders, you'll probably need to send more than one anyway. Got to do a little work for the $100 /year for 20 words :)

If you plan on using paypal, taking a look at their subscription service might be an idea. I can't remember exactly how it works but it might handle renewals.

I guess the above focuses on draw back but if you've got an audience using your website already then it could be a great revenue stream for you and useful content for them. Even if you don't set it up, making a free page of relevant contacts and just adding adsense might give you good revenue as it will slot in paid ads with your free classified.

#7 bwelford

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 01:00 AM

If you plan on using paypal, taking a look at their subscription service might be an idea. I can't remember exactly how it works but it might handle renewals.

You can set up a system of monthly billing via PayPal which automatically bills each month unless the purchaser cancels it. That might be an appropriate way to handle this.

#8 EGOL

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 05:23 AM

Wow! Great ideas! Thanks!

ltn.... I really like that silver and gold idea to determine who gets top spot and incentivize bigger ads. Thank you. Also, good ideas for short term ads.

tam... Thanks for sharing your pet boarding site. I like how you made the geographic pages with paid listings, adsense and free listings. What a great idea for generating content. I am inspired by what you have done. Nice!

Barry... Paypal does have a good system for monthly billing. Thanks!

Thanks you for all of these great ideas.

Still interested in any other comments, examples or ideas that anyone cares to share.

Edited by EGOL, 01 March 2011 - 05:24 AM.


#9 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 01:26 PM

EGOL, in case you haven't reviewed the full Sistrix list of Websites that they believe have been adversely affected by the Google Farmer Update, you may want to check it out. There ARE some classified advertising sites on the list. I'm not saying you'll end up in the Farmer Box -- but you might want to review those sites and make sure you distinguish your site from their models as much as possible.

#10 EGOL

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:12 PM

Thank you Michael.. interesting.. I see one of my competitors on that list.. heh

#11 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:33 PM

I don't understand why a lot of these sites got hammered. In my opinion, they provide pretty useful information. They've been around for years. Some were unmonetized for years.

#12 raz

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:59 PM

EGOL,

What if you developed an approach like CraigsList. Not in layout but concept.

Limited number of ads stay on, and as ads are added the bottom ones roll over to a second page and eventually die. The poster pays a small fee for say two to four weeks only. If the ad is in a popular category then the poster has to re-post (and Pay) more often.

That way the categories will effectively command their own price in that the posters in popular categories will be forced to re post more often



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