Oodle, an Aggregator of Classified Ads, Rolls Out in Test Markets

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By: Jennifer Saba

A new Web site that aggregates classified advertising from newspapers launched today. Oodle.com went live in three test markets — Dallas, Philadelphia, and Chicago — according to a report in Classified Intelligence.

The site pulls classified ads from not only newspapers, but also from verticals like Cars.com and CareerBuilder and community sites like Craigslist and eBay, essentially putting all these disparate classifieds in one place.

CEO Craig Donato, a former Excite executive, founded the company based on his own experience. “It was frustrating to me because the listings are so fragmented,” he told E&P.

Oodle works like Google, but searching only classifieds. On the Chicago site, for example, a user can search several different categories under five headings: for sale, cars and vehicles, housing, jobs, and services. So if someone in Chicago is shopping for a car, he would click on that heading. The user is then brought to a page listing several different links to classifieds from Craigslist to CarsDirect for example. When the user clicks on the link, he is brought to that specific site.

When asked if newspapers or other sites would view Oodle as a threat, Donato explains they shouldn’t be concerned. “We’re providing them with free traffic.”

CareerBuilder spokeswoman Jenny Sullivan said that the job site has more than 450 partners. “This is another venue for distribution,” she said.

Calls to Knight Ridder and the Chicago Tribune were not returned by this afternoon.

Oodle plans to make money by advertising pinned to search results. “I’m a big believer that more people should be using online classifieds,” Donato said.

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