Monday, April 22, 2013

Classified Post HD: South China Morning Post launches classified advertising tablet app for recruitment advertising

I have found it a bit of a mystery why newspaper ad executives have not attempted to reverse the decline and almost complete collapse of their classified advertising sections by launching new mobile and tablet products. I, too, recognize that at this late date it would probably be a futile effort, but classified used to be worth millions of dollars to metro papers and would certainly be worth the effort. Maybe it is the fact that I used to be CAM that is preventing me from seeing that it is too late, but still...

One newspaper that has launched a classified advertising app is the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper. Classified Post HD is the companion to the iPhone version.

By classifieds, the publisher really means recruitment advertising, as that is all that can be found here.

A number of years ago when I was the publisher of a daily construction newspaper in San Francisco I was asked by a fellow McGraw-Hill publisher about my classified advertising dollars. They were a bit jealous of all the business we were attracting and wanted my advice on starting up their own classified section. My advice was simple: give it away.

They were a little stunned that I would suggest this, as my own publications made a ton of money on those liner ads. But my thinking was sound: give aways classified ads to build both the section and the readership. Once the readers were there you'd be able to capitalize on them by selling display ads and by creating paid categories. But until the readers were trained to look to you for classified advertising all that would happen would be that you'd sell a few ads, those ads would not get results, and your classified section wouldn't grow. Besides, I said, your competition can't compete with free.

This was a couple years before Craig Newmark got started so I think I deserve a little credit for the idea.

I think that trying to start up a tablet product for the local classified market would be challenging, but it would be worth the effort. Better to go down swinging, that's my attitude.