: We are seeing signs of the new distributed world of classified ads:
: Lost Remote reports that Monster is now providing jobs to TV sites from ABC and Worldnow. Except for a brief time in the boom when I heard job ads on radio, classifieds have never been right for broadcast because it’s, well, broad; it’s more expensive and inefficient than newspapers. But once broadcast brands came online, they could start snarfing up some of the classified marketshare they’ve long lusted after.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if Google really wanted to get at the heart of eBay’s business, it would simply turn on a classifieds or listings business.
After all, it wouldn’t be a big leap for Google to let users list an item for sale much as they post an advertisement….
By a listings or classifieds service, I mean listings by individuals of their one-off items, or listings of items from small or medium sized merchants. I don’t believe it matters if Google chooses not to get into auctions. EBay would still feel the pain from a Google listings business in a fixed-price format. That’s because 30% of eBay’s gross merchandise sales are done in fixed-price formats….
A classified/listings business would also be a smart and easy way to fill up Google’s Local search-results pages with advertisements from local merchants, and listings of goods from residents. For now, Google’s Local page says, “Find local businesses and services on the Web.” It would be easy to add a line saying: “place your items for sale here.”
I’m not sure she has that exactly right but I do think that if it can target, Google will grab local retail and merchandise advertising and compete not only with eBay but with papers’ sites. And then others will come along and compete with Google in an ever-more-efficient (and thus, ever-less lucrative) market.
I’ve said here before that the future of classified is decentralized and distributed. What we’re seeing happen in content today — as it spreads out like dandelion seeds in the wind — will come to classifieds. How anybody makes money — or at least, as much money as they used to — in such a new, declassified world, I’m not sure. But I do believe tat the future is distributed.
: YET MORE: More on the distributed future: eBay is finding people establishing businesses on its platform and then leaving because they can do better on their own. Middlemen are falling like flies. The WSJ reports (not a free link):
In 2002, John Wieber started worrying about his business, which sold refurbished computers through Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. Although he was earning $1 million a year in revenue, profits had started to slip as competitors flocked to the site. EBay also raised its fees, further cutting margins, and fraud was becoming a problem.
So Mr. Wieber revamped his Web site and began selling through other online companies, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc. Last year, his sales neared $5 million, but his eBay revenue grew at a much slower pace, making up only a quarter of the total. …
EBay, with more than 147 million users world-wide, has long been regarded as the dot-com survivor that could do no wrong. Mr. Wieber’s story shows why the company may be losing some of that luster. Setting up an online store is so easy these days that sellers needn’t rely on eBay as a source of customers. Advertising is simple and inexpensive, thanks to new technology from companies such as Google Inc. And multiple competitors, including Amazon and Yahoo, are pulling once-loyal eBay sellers into their orbit.