ReinventingClassifieds.com Aims to Revive Newspaper Revenues

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The new ReinventingClassifieds.com initiative is designed to devise solutions to newspapers' classifieds crisis, in which billions of dollars in revenue have been lost, and return the industry to growth mode. The website brings together experts in classifieds, innovation, and media to discuss and develop solutions that will save news industry jobs while better serving advertisers.

Layoffs and cutbacks are the norm for newspapers, an industry in deep crisis. While many factors account for their decline, one of the biggest is the loss of billions of dollars in classified advertising revenue in recent years. Online competitors from Monster.com to eBay Motors to Realtor.com to Craigslist have taken away big chunks of many newspapers' lifeblood revenue stream.

While economic conditions are hurting the newspaper industry, the largest problem is structural. The old classifieds model -- which many publishers continue to cling to -- no longer works in the Internet era. A complete reinvention of newspaper classifieds is necessary, though as yet no one has come up with a good solution for turning things around.

ReinventingClassifieds.com seeks to answer the question of what a new model for newspaper classified advertising looks like. The new website is designed to foster an ongoing conversation about what the newspaper industry must do to fight back against competitors and create new classifieds-related opportunities that will return revenues to the newspaper industry. By bringing together experts in classifieds, innovation, and new media, ReinventingClassifieds.com will present possible solutions and provide support for publishers wishing to reinvent and rejuvenate their classifieds operations.

The website was launched recently, and already is attracting new ideas from influential voices in the media world. ReinventingClassifieds.com is edited by long-time new-media expert Steve Outing, and regularly features provocative ideas and advice from a growing list of guest experts. The site is underwritten by Future of News.

"Newspapers may be in a pickle currently due to the dramatic loss of classifieds revenue in recent years," says Outing, "but there's still time to turn things around. We believe that to do this, we must come up with a model for newspaper classifieds that probably will look very different from what we've been used to.

"Frankly, the future of newspaper journalism is at stake. This is about more than just making money," Outing says. "The loss of classifieds revenue already has resulted in the losses of thousands of newsroom jobs, with more announced every week. The classifieds crisis already has led to a degradation in the ability of newspapers to fund and execute vital watchdog and investigative journalism. A big part of the aim of the ReinventingClassifieds.com initiative is to turn that around."

There are several components to ReinventingClassifieds.com:

  • News, analysis, and advice on classifieds from Steve Outing and classifieds authority Christopher Ryan of FutureofNews.com. Their reports are featured on the main blog on the site's homepage.
  • Guest experts. Top classifieds and new-media innovators are invited to share their ideas for moving the industry forward.
  • Success stories & ideas. Site editors will offer new ideas, examine success stories, and industry professionals are invited to share new ideas and what's worked for them.
  • Surveys. Regular surveys of the classifieds community are conducted on various topics.
  • White papers. The editors will publish both free and premium white papers in the months ahead.
  • Related products and services. As ideas, suggestions, and feedback are collected on the site, both Future of News and ReinventingClassifieds.com will be producing products and services designed to help newspapers recover some of their lost classifieds revenues.

About Steve Outing

Steve is a long-time journalist and online news pioneer, who since the early days of the Internet boom has been assisting and advising news and media companies in transitioning their businesses to the new-media environment. He is the author of numerous research reports, book projects, articles, and research in the new-media space, including research reports and coverage of the classifieds sector. He is a columnist for Editor & Publisher Online (since 1995), and former senior editor of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Steve also is a new-media entrepreneur, having founded the Enthusiast Group and techGRL.com. Contact him at steve.outing @ reinventingclassifieds.com.

About Christopher Ryan

Christopher is president and founder of Future of News, an Internet and print development firm that specializes in custom programming for media companies. A 10-year veteran reporter and college journalism instructor, he is a new-media visionary and classifieds expert with a passion for the newspaper industry, and believes that newspaper classifieds revenue growth can be resurrected through reinvention of the business model. He is currently concentrating his efforts on a classifieds solution called AdEverywhereâ„¢. Contact him at cryan @ futureofnews.com.

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STEVE OUTING

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