Bob Wyman has a thoughtful analysis of the newspaper classified business and its history, a history of missed opportunities and chances not taken. I hope his outlook for today and tomorrow, however, is a bit off.
So, where does that leave us today? Should the newspapers try at this late date to recover the online classified business? No. That would be, I am sure, a hopeless task. The opportunity is lost, the window closed. You can only fight economics temporarily and then only at specific moments in the development of an economy or market. The time for this particular battle is long over. For a newspaper to build an online classified business today would be sort of like someone building a new Internet Service Provider to compete with the phone or cable companies… It’s just not worth the bother unless the technology is distinctly and greatly different.
Classified advertising generally provides about 70 percent of the online revenues of newspapers. And print classifieds, which struggling, still provide hefty revenues for newspapers.