Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

Are Private Party Ads Going Mobile?

Posted by Dan Vigil on December 12, 2007

I received the following text message this morning from a friend in my bible study group. “My daughter got a job in New York, does anyone want to buy a Honda CRX -CHEAP?”. It’s not the first time I’ve received what I consider a “private party” ad via cell phone. I’ve even received images and video for some items.

As the price point for higher technology cell phones decreases we’ll see more of this type of FREE peer to peers (group) advertising taking place. Many social networking sites are also making it easier for this type of advertising. Myspace has its bulletin space where you can post a message instantly to all of your “friends” and Facebook has its “News Feeds” which can be used to communicate offers to people in your network. Even the more business oriented sites such as Linkedin.com offer tools to help users look for jobs within their network of contacts.

There’s also a certain benefit of buying and selling within your group. The “trust factor” comes into play. People generally like to buy from people they trust and offer better deals to their friends or associates. As the various networks of friends grow that’ll be the first place people look to conduct a private party transaction.

Here’s some things newspapers might consider in light of this trend:

1. Provide tools to help private parties advertise on-line:

With the proliferation of free classified sites and peer to group advertising venues it’s becoming difficult and time consuming for sellers to cover all the bases. Perhaps newspapers can create a communications center which allows users to enter and submit messages from a single site. Services such as Vflyer.com, postlets.com, and vendio.com provide valuable tools that focus on the “Sellers” side of the transaction. Many of these sites offer services for free and rely upon paid ads from traffic generated to the ads themselves. People looking to buy a car, for example might be served up an ad for insurance. Newspapers have already begun to sell contextual advertising within editorial content, these ads present more valuable eyeballs who are in the market to buy a certain or product or service.

2. Build groups of on-line users:

The power of newspapers is and continues to be local. It’s not too late to create spaces for local people to interact and form groups around areas of interest. Whether its pets, prep-sports, or local heath, newspapers have valuable “local” content that drives visitors to certain sections. At the very least, voluntary registration forms should be up in all areas of the site. Providing tools to allow users to communicate and join groups within a section allows newspapers to effectively “own” those groups.

3. Embrace mobile technologies:

Beyond the simple mobile alerts and news updates that most newspapers are providing, how about allowing users to share photos and videos from from editorial sections in the printed paper. For many consumers the cell phone is their primary gateway to the internet. Today their are over 3 billion mobile phones in a world of 6 billion people, that 2.5 times more cell phones than Internet connections. Newspapers need to start thinking more about the handsets and less about the PC’s.

“The Word is Alive”


One Response to “Are Private Party Ads Going Mobile?”

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