Kentucky Paper Uses Google ‘Mashups’ for Classifieds

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By: Jennifer Saba

The Daily News in Bowling Green, Ky., is the one of first papers to embrace mashups for yard sales.

“This is our first foray into using this,” said Mark Van Patten, general manager of the Daily News. “We think it has a lot of potential.”

*A mashup combines content from multiple sources. In this instance, the paper uses Google maps to show the precise address of yard sales advertised in the classified section.

A reader can zoom in for cross streets or zoom out to see how many other yard sales are in the area. Click on the virtual “tack” and a window pops up with the details of the sale and the address.

Van Patten stumbled across the idea on a blog called mapbuilder.net. “This guy was doing lot of Google maps, primarily with static data,” Van Patten said. “I sent him an e-mail and pitched him an idea” of building an application that the paper could use and update weekly.

At first, Van Patten started dabbling with mashups on the news side for crimes and accidents. But he also thought they would make a good revenue stream, especially in the classified section.

For yard sales, people tend to advertise for one day only in the Daily News. With mashups, the paper offers a special: Run a yard sale ad for two days and the paper will include the ad in the map.

“We hardly get turned down,” Van Patten said adding the paper introduced the concept two weeks ago. “Once people see it, they like it.”

On average it costs $12 to $15 a day to run a basic yard sale ad, but Van Patten said they can net as much as $25 to $30 a day with ad-ons.

Van Patten said that the maps get about 200 clicks per day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — the days most people seek out yard sales for the weekend. The Daily News will run the program through the end of October.

The paper is considering using mashups in other classified areas, particularly in real estate for open houses. But at the moment, the maps Google uses of the area are too old. “We have subdivisions that Google has not mapped yet,” Van Patten said. “We’ll probably use it more for the news side.”

*The original version of this story defined a mashup as an online map that pinpoints specific locations.

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