By: Karim Mostafa
But Most Ads Still Lack Visual Punch
Newspapers have devoted a lot of resources to online classifieds,
but many still aren’t really using the strengths of the Internet.
Even the seemingly elementary task of adding photos to online
classifieds isn’t necessarily the norm. But those newspapers
using photos on their Web sites have found more responsive
readers and, in some cases, more revenue.
Elyse Cheffer, assistant director of new media at the
Naples (Fla.) Daily News, said that in the past
when potential advertisers wanted to run a photo in the
newspaper, they were forwarded to the retail display ad
department. The higher rates of retail of course scared many
advertisers away. Now those customers can be referred to the new-
“We found a pool of advertisers falling through the cracks,”
Cheffer said. Now the Web site “picks up what the newspaper would
be losing. Bottom line, the newspaper wins over all.”
Cheffer’s Web site has offered photos in its classifieds for the
past year, but only recently started to promote the option. The
site also hired a part-time person to take photos of cars, which
many dealers are willing to pay for.
National classified sites with newspaper affiliates are also
encouraging the use of photos. Chicago’s Classified Ventures (CV)
reports that the majority of listings on Apartments.com and
cars.com already include photos.
CV has a current special of $20 per ad for 14 days – photo
included. Spokeswoman Bess Gallanis said CV once considered
photos an upsell, but that the feature is now included in the
price of ads.
At CV’s Apartments.com, clients originally were responsible for
providing photos of the listed property. Now the site hires
digital photographers in an effort at quality control.
Cheryl Richardson, product manager of classifieds at PowerAdz.com
in Troy, N.Y., said photos are still used mostly in the real
estate and auto categories. But she really sees an opportunity
for adding photos in merchandise verticals, such as antiques and
Richardson said PowerAdz tries to make it easy for advertisers
and newspapers to use photographs. The company’s AdQuest3D online
marketplace can handle pictures, which are depicted online with a
clickable camera icon, but individual newspapers are still
responsible for selling the photo option.
Each individual newspaper or newspaper chain still makes
decisions about pricing for the photos, but the upsell can be
anywhere from $1 to $10, said product manager Miki Bucher.
PowerAdz only makes suggestions on pricing.
Photos to become more mainstream
Anthony Manson, executive vice president of marketing at AdOne
LLC in New York, said of classified photos, “We definitely think
it’s going to be more mainstream in the next year.” AdOne’s
Abracat, another digital marketplace for newspaper classified
listings, includes photos in the enhanced sections of real
estate, autos, and personals.
AdOne has been encouraging its newspaper affiliates to partner
with AdStar.com to use Advertise123.com. AdStar creates co-
branded Web pages for that allow advertisers to place both print
and online classified ads directly from the Web.
Last month, AdStar announced a partnership with Eastman Kodak
that will enable Advertise123.com to offer users the ability to
create, schedule, and pay for classified ads with pictures. The
Kodak Picture Ready service gives companies and consumers doing
business over the Internet a way to post pictures of their
products online for buyers to see, and provides image management
and hosting services.
AJC.com, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Web site, will
be the first to beta-test the Kodak Ready feature on
Advertise123.com, said Leslie Bernhard, president and CEO of
AdStar, based in Marina del Rey, Calif. More affiliates are
expected to roll out the program early next year.
Bernhard sees a lot of room for growth in classified photography.
She estimates that only 20% of classified ads that start in print
are repurposed online with photos.
But Bernhard also wonders if most newspapers are ready for photos
in their online classified sections. She’s found many are still
just dumping their print classified databases online. Updated
technology is sorely needed at many publications, she said.
Karim Mostafa (email@example.com) is associate editor for E&P Online.
Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.