The Internet has given classified ads a whole new meaning. Web sites devoted to classifieds enable consumers to sell big-ticket items such as cars, furniture and appliances over a much larger geographical area than can be reached with a newspaper. They also offer the advantages of search functions and immediate posting of for-sale notices.
But tech savvy isn't a necessity when starting a classified advertising site, says author Ron Gielgun. Instead, attracting viewers to the site remains most important. Gielgun suggests purchasing advertisements elsewhere on the Internet. "Start-up costs for [an online classifieds business] are minimal because you don't have any inventory and you don't need to hire employees," he says, "but you do need to invest in promotion."
Because the industry is so new, many classified sites have not yet generated significant revenues. Ben Lovelace, 43, operates Commerce Corner (http://www.comcorner.com) part time from his home in Orlando, Florida. The site, which features display ads and photos of advertised merchandise, only brings in revenues of about $200 a month, but Lovelace hopes to increase sales through promotions- like listing his site in online search engines, and trading links and banner ads with other sites. He also sends promotional messages to e-mail address lists and past customers.