Creative Circle, ATS Collaborate on Classified Cloud

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By: E&P Staff

In the teaming of Creative Circle Media Consulting and Creative Circle Advertising Solutions Inc., East Providence, R.I., with
Advanced Technical Solutions Inc. Actono, Mass., to merge their technologies and expertise into a complete, cost-effective package of services, the companies have created Web-first editorial (E&P Online, May 7) and classified advertising systems.

Designed to be scalable for newspapers of all sizes, the classified ad system relies on cloud computing “by housing all software and operations on a remote, hosted server,” ATS founder Ray Toothaker said in a statement. “This reduces the on-site IT costs, makes it easy to install and upgrade, and provides a truly turnkey, full-service, SaaS classified solution.”

The package starts with Creative Circle’s adQ intelligent classifieds Web-entry system, which will be used by advertisers and, in most cases, the call center. AdQ provides thousands of tips and drop-downs for help in writing effective ads, making ad-takers more helpful and allowing any staffer to help create ads with less training or experience. according to Creative Circle CEO Bill Ostendorf.

“Newspapers’ big edge in the classifieds war is that we are the only outlet that helps you create your ad, and adQ is the only Web-entry system that was built from the ground up to replicate the experience of talking to a friendly call center rep,” Ostendorf said. “Our research indicates roughly 50 percent of advertisers want help writing their ads, so if we can maintain that market share, newspapers will be in pretty good shape.”

Behind the print side is ATS’ AdVisor classified system. An established print-production and accounting platform used by large and mid-sized newspapers for more than 20 years, AdVisor supports production of printed newspaper classified ads and handles rates, invoicing and pagination.

“We are fully integrating everything from our rate card to our pagination process with Creative Circle’s adQ products,” Toothaker said. Interfaces allow newspapers to access all AdVisor capabilities through a browser, allowing anyone to work from a call center or set up output for a printed classified section from anywhere with the Web. The system handles accounts receivable and can integrate with a paper’s other business and credit-card processing systems.

For online ads, Creative Circle’s adQ display modules host online classifieds in an attractive format, with support for multiple photos, additional text, video, alternative formats, PDFs, bulk uploads, Web and e-mail links, advanced search and SEO, and mapping.

Creative Circle consultants recently helped launch “lifestyle classifieds” for Boise’s Idaho Statesman. The series of classified categories in the food, health, home and family sections appear alongside niche editorial content.

The collaboration of ATS and Creative Circle, according to the companies, provides one source for an integrated solution that includes rate card and new-product consulting, typography and color advice, full redesign, remote Web entry, call center training, outsourced IT support and customer support, print production, accounts receivable A/R to classified Web display; from classified display to video hosting.

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