Auto Mated: Cars.com Launches Free Classified Site

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By: Jennifer Saba

Cars.com is unveiling a free private-party classified site dedicated entirely to autos called Freebo.com (http://www.freebo.com). The name stands for “free by owner” and the site plans to go up against other online classifieds, especially Craigslist.org.

Freebo’s hook, according to executives, is that it’s a clean well-lit place that promises to filter out spam and other deceptions. “It’s easy to search, it has all the great features, and it’s a safe environment,” said Sharon Knitter, senior director of consumer products at Cars.com.

Those wanting to place on ad on Freebo get unlimited text and up to six photos for 30 days. On Cars.com, a person pays somewhere in the range of $20 to $50 for a basic ad depending on the market. The basic package includes manufacture photos and text for up to 14 days. A premium ad runs for 60 days and the buyer receives up to 12 photos, ad trafficking reports, and a 90-day money back guarantee if the auto doesn’t sell within certain parameters.

On Cars.com, people are also paying for eyeballs, explained Knitter. Cars.com has about 75,000 private party listings that run on 175 affiliate Web sites. “Some folks want a free ad and others want to pay for larger distribution,” Knitter said adding that there will be some cannibalization with Cars.com but they are not overly concerned.

Freebo, which is still in beta, contains content like guides for buyers and sellers, pricing information, and reviews.

“Our research shows that car sellers are looking for an advertising experience that’s safer and easier than what’s available now on the major free-listings sites, which are often littered with scams and cluttered with irrelevant content, from pets to guitars,” Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com, said in a statement.

Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, which is owned by Belo, Gannett, McClatchy, Tribune and The Washington Post Co.

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