free ad network–Craigslist or Googlebase?

Chris Tolles has a post today about Topix’s recently outed free classifieds network,who empowers local users to post for sale items in the Topix network. The adss are free and featured on local news papers (they have 30,000 of those)–and they’remonetized by one of the best usages of Google Ad Words on the planet.
Chris says: “The key to making this work, as Jeff Jarvis rather tartly points out, is a lot of local traffic. With over 7M unique visitors, spread out pretty evenly geographically, we are getting great pickup. We’re getting great traction on our forums — 8,000 posts a day, with real diversity (not just the Web 2.0 crowd). The new Topix classified ad system is growing at a similar pace.”
Susan says: As GoogleBase rolls on, other option become pretty interesting–not as ways to beat newspapers ( Craig did that), but as vast aggregated distributors of structued data AND tagged content. Put Technorati, edgeio and others into the soup and wonder who the next leader in combining structured data and free text tagging might be–and what kind of classifieds system triumph that could lead to.

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  1. Ben says:

    Skrenta and Tolles have done some interesting things at with taking existing data to drive traffic and then using traffic to generated significant amounts of user generated content.
    As we address the Local Advertising problem, we see some similar things happening—as we bring merchants on, they create user generated content like blogs and this drives traffic.
    As we explore how we use Google Base for our merchants, a number of interesting questions have come up on what Google will do with all of the data. But at this point, it is clearly a simple way to make sure some things are indexed well on Google.

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