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online classifieds

In its most recent in-depth analysis of the online classified ad market, Pew Research Center, found that the number of online adults who have used sites to post free classified ads has more than doubled in the past four years. Almost half (49%) of Internet users visited online classified sites, compared with 22% of online adults who had done so in 2005.
 A year later, as of May 2010, that figure of online adults who use online classified ads rose to 53%; that’s more than Internet users who get information about sports (52%), politics (50%), or financial matters like stock quotes or mortgage rates (37%).
 The free classified ad market is led by the perennial stalwart, Craigslist. That said, many emerging sites are encroaching on its territory and the reasons for the growth of online classified sites are evident. They offer, after all, ads for free, enabling consumers and sellers alike to reach a broader audience at no additional cost. The slumping economy is a factor, as well. People seeking extra income are going online to sell goods, while buyers are looking for the best deal available. In fact, rather than find a part-time job, sophisticated users of a free classifieds website can generate an equivalent amount of income selling goods from the comfort of their home, without the additional costs associated with commuting.
Not surprisingly, the growth of this market has had a profound impact on traditional newspapers that rely on classified advertising for income.  Because of this, analysts following the industry were not entirely surprised when New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. recently conceded, We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD.”
Looking ahead, the next frontier for online classified advertisers will be leveraging social networks to further expand the audience of the marketplace.  The opportunities are particularly acute across two segments: young adults and Internet users over 50. 
 Free classifieds websites are most popular with young adults; Internet users ages 25-44 are significantly more likely than any other age group to use post free ads. In fact, a whopping sixty-two percent of online 25-34 year olds and 57% of 35-44 year-olds visit free classifieds websites. And, not surprisingly, it is this very same demographic that has enthusiastically embraced social networking sites.
At the same time, social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled, from 22% to 42%, over the past year.  Yet just over a third (35%) of online 55-64 year olds use classified websites.  This dichotomy suggests an enormous opportunity for online classifieds to reach this growing demographic through social networking.
Realizing this untapped potential, online classified sites play an important part in the market, by leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking .platforms to place free classified ads and ensure that consumers buy or sell the right product or service at the right price.