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Classified information

The romp to own what were once considered the boring classifieds at the back of the newspaper is going mental.   We know newspapers are losing money from the loss of these itty bitty classified ads to online which is searchable, up-to-date and dynamic but the land grab amongst the digital media giants to get this boring information so other people can eyeball it is quite astonishing.  This is so-we-are-told big money, but big money not through paid ads but through selling associated relevant advertising next to your boring information.  Craigs List on steroids. 

Google have their Google Base to suck in your info and present it any which way and Murdoch has paid $580 million for MySpace – who have just started doing classifieds – and Microsoft have their own model in test [From the FT – sub req’d]:

MSN, Microsoft’s online services arm, has been testing a new service
that would let internet users enter details of personal items in a
specially designed database. Information in the database would then be
made search-able by Microsoft’s internet search engine, or could be
restricted to a limited group of personal contacts.

The service,
code named Fremont, a reference to a Seattle neighbourhood that plays
host to a busy Sunday market, has been available in test form to
Microsoft employees since last week, and could be set for a public test
in the coming weeks, the company said.

There is of course still a specialised niche market for paid classifieds for [discerning] customers such as that provided by Private Eye and I hope this never goes away.  But amongst the major players we are just left with Yahoo’s! paid service which is now looking a bit old hat.  Be interesting to see how they respond.  And it will also be interesting to see how the different taxonomical structures play out in the inevitable classified war.  How will the information be searchable?  What ‘classification’ system will be employed.  In this folksonomied world will ‘old fashioned’ taxonomies [jobs; ‘services’ etc.] win out? 

see also: charlene li’s post