By: Wayne Robins

Classified Ventures To Focus On Cars, Real Estate

by Wayne Robins is going, going, and on Aug. 31, will be gone.

Ongoing auctions will get the final gavel a day earlier, and according
to Bess Gallanis, a spokeswoman for the parent company Classified
Ventures (CV), the site will go dark.

‘Classified Ventures made a strategic decision to focus all of our
resources on and,’ Gallanis said., of
course, is CV’s national automobile site., introduced in
July, is CV’s ‘real estate portal,’ which includes
(which concentrates on resale properties),, and the community-oriented

‘The auctions business is not a straightforward vertical business the
way cars and real estate are,’ Gallanis said. The technology for online
auctions is different, slower, and more complex than the common platform
CV was able to use and leverage in its auto and home businesses.

Classified Ventures is a Chicago-based company jointly owned by Gannett,
Knight Ridder, McClatchy, The New York Times Co., Tribune Co. and The
Washington Post Co. The Hartford Courant started what was then known as
Auction Universe in late 1997. The Courant’s former parent company Times
Mirror (now part of the Tribune Co.) acquired and relaunched Auction
Universe in September 1998. Two months later, Classified Ventures acquired
Auction Universe, and relaunched it as last December.

While offering accolades to’s resourceful marketing and
incremental growth – it had made some impact with charity auctions
featuring targeted memorabilia from sources as diverse as the National
Hockey League and Elton John – Gallanis said that ‘You’ve got to have
a lot of volume to make a profit in online auctions. Our success,
investment and momentum has been in cars and real estate. Without a
clear-cut strong revenue model in place really made it challenging,
and strategically a little distracting.’


Wayne Robins ( is an associate editor
covering new media for E&P.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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