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The Media

Make Money Fast Online 89

A story in a magazine for dead-tree newspaper editors notes that many of the internet operations established in conjunction with newspapers are actually making money. Interesting stuff. Note that they're not making money from banner ads, but from classified ads.
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Make Money Fast Online

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  • Yeah dudes, I got this killer email today telling me how I can set up my own internet marketing company and make some phat cash. All I gotta do is send a dollar to the 5 people on the list, move my name up on to the list, and then send it 2 five new people to keep the chain going.
    • Hah, it's funny because my mind automatically identified this article as spam for a second, until I realized it was Slashdot spam, not e-mail spam. ;)

      • Amazingly enough though, Spam is part of what the article recommends:

        "Some 15 percent of interactive ad revenue at Yahoo! is e-mail marketing, and this percentage is expected to grow. Ninety percent of the online newspaper industry doesn't even collect e-mail [addresses] and few use them to generate revenue."

        It's nice to know that Harvard Business School is urging companies to Spam their clients. God knows its important to scrape the revenue this quarter so who cares if you alienate your entire customer base by next quarter.
  • Finally... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by intermodal ( 534361 )
    somebody using the 'net to profit off the content creators rather than the viewers. Sounds like they're being paid for for exposure rather than the content posting itself. Well done, I say!
  • Soo.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Verizon Guy ( 585358 ) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @03:04AM (#3963401) Homepage
    Note that they're not making money from banner ads, but from classified ads

    Does this mean that Slashdot is going to start a new Classifieds section?
    • Re:Soo.... (Score:2, Funny)

      by leviramsey ( 248057 )

      Actually, that could make some money. I can see them now...

      LONELY 18 yo SWM, geek, seeks
      21 year old [] SWF to be my Amidala.
      FIRST POST SCRIPT for sale. Fr15t script to get FP written in a blend of Perl, 6502 assembly, LISP, SQL, and ALGOL 60. Got a girlfriend; she said it had to go :-(.
    • "96 node 1GHz-Athlon beowulf cluster for sale, payment accepted in girlfriend form"
    • Muss have tha ba-donk-a-donk butt.
    • Dunno, but I wrote a Classifieds plugin for Slashcode. Never really got around to using it or releasing it though...
  • by Inexile2002 ( 540368 ) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @03:06AM (#3963403) Homepage Journal
    Am I supposed to register for the NYTimes or not?
  • ... I get my Aussie news from [] and the other day after reading the news I decided to go see what the car market was like for Sport Coupes. I was very impressed by [] - it makes decent use of web connected databases and hypertext to provide a service that dead-tree cannot (quick comparisons, searches, specifications, web reviews, etc). It makes the shopping "experience" so much easier I can see why it is popular enough to be profitable.

    BTW - the careers classifieds are quite good as well if you are in Australia and looking for a job (professional).

    - HeXa
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @03:15AM (#3963415)
    So now there are two ways to make money on the web.

    1) Porn (yeah, not pr0n, I actually typed "it".)

    2) Classified.

    Put the two together and you have a cash cow. Idiotic sarcasim aside (which is hard for me to do) has this been done? Do any legal brothels (Nevada?) have web pages that take some form of e-commerce? What mixes are there of pr0n and classifieds... I bet they all make money.

    • You forgot "selling Viagra on-line."
    • Already done []
    • you forgot gambling.

      I belong to a sports gambling forum that charges an ungodly amount like 13 bucks a clickthrough for its ads.

      Its far more lucrative than porn, cause there is no "greenguys link-o-rama" for gamblers. I mean sure, you can play "yahoo slots", but that isn't quite the same in relation to gambling as free porn is to well, pay porn.
    • You might check the classified section [] of []. Although it has its share of standard, flashy web ads, it has a classified section which shows text links along the right column of the page.

      Though it's not necessarily all about porn, a good deal of the classified listings are "boobies" related. Further, such ads make the site much more money as the pricing structure is $25 for normal ads and $100 for 'Not Safe For Work' ads.

      I'm sure it wasn't a magic bullet for them, however. They had the classified section in long before they started throwing in the annoying flashing ads. In fact, I think you can still go through their farkives [] and see the site design regress to earlier versions as you do so. Or there's always the Internet Archive []

  • Hey your topic is the same as the last spam I got! :)
  • So Mr. Clark Gilbert of Harvard seems to think that the online newspapers aren't doing enough to collect email addresses and use them to generate extra revenue.

    How hard is it to find out where a Harvard professor lives? But I could make a lot of money selling _that_ address!

    • So Mr. Clark Gilbert of Harvard seems to think that the online newspapers aren't doing enough to collect email addresses and use them to generate extra revenue.

      How hard is it to find out where a Harvard professor lives? But I could make a lot of money selling _that_ address!

      Yah I'll second that, this is what the fuck is wrong with business education in this nation, no freakin ethics. Well there /are/ ethics classes but they mostly consist of figuring out how much you can piss somebody off before they won't buy your shit anymore. . . .

      Beh, that guy should not be allowed to teach anyplace in the US, or abroad for that matter. What the fuck is wrong with him?

      Oh yah, he is a suit trainer, never mind. . .
  • Oh great, slashdot editors published spam by accident. How about the new icon? :)
  • Imagine creating a service people were willing to pay for, and then charging a reasonable price that is profitable!

    Too bad nobody ever said this in 1998...
  • Isn't this sort of thing covered by ebay and other auction sites? Unless its real estate or something location based, it seems that online classifieds are fighting a losing battle.
    • The problem almost becomes one of too much exposure. If I place a classified ad for a spare computer in the Tucson Citizen, do I want to be called by someone in Vladivostok who has decided that $4 is an acceptable shipping charge?

      Around here, they're very big on local sites... several TV stations and newspapers sponsor them. I just don't see the great demand outside the small area that the media outlets represent. What I'd be more impressed with would be just a simple BBS, perhaps with a GUI client and/or as an access point for cheap, branded Internet service. Because of the cost of access (long-distance), you wouldn't be inviting the world to post their two cents on your discussions about the dogcatcher race, and you'd have people keeping your logo on their screen longer.
    • by bluGill ( 862 )

      When I see an advertisement in the local paper, either online or dead tree, I'm confident that it is someone local to me. I call them up, go see it in person, and if I like it I bring it home. No worrys about that e-bay auction that Atari in mint condition that turns out to be made of cholate mint, no worry about buying a $1000 item from a seller who has been selling cheap stuff to get a good rating, and is now skipping town with my money.

      E-bay is okay, but I don't like waiting for that auction to be over (and in the mean time I see a good deal elsewhere, but I still have the high bid)

      Local is the key. I won't look at the Boone Iowa classifieds, but I will look at the Buffalo, Minnesota clasifieds. This is also good for advertiseers who need to serve local clients. Most slashdot readers would not take their car to Autoworks in Rockford MN (the owner is a good friend of mine), but if they could reach all the slashdot readers in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis they might advertise on slashdot. However reaching the Asian readers is a waste of their money.

  • One(1) new or good condition fuzzy mascot. Will accept Tux or CowboyNeal figures (only if you haven't chewed on them, though!).
  • Our solution... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rockwellpa ( 549541 )
    We partnered with a local print paper,, to provide web services to their clients. This works out great for our company,, and theirs. They utilize exisiting sales reps. to sell our services, and in turn they get a small percentage of each project. The print paper is not taxed with a learning/working a new technology, yet they can still profit from it. It's great for us because it has helped us to gain visibility in the local market.
  • Newspapers are places people traditionally go for information (news..on paper...hence the name!). Logically, they automatically have a userbase (their readership) as soon as they 'take the leap' to online publishing/features. Classified ads are something people expect from a newspaper: they're used to them, and its no suprise that this can make them successful online.

    According to the article, most of the successful newspaper websites treat their online portion as an extension of their print version (i.e. allowing people to 'upgrade' their classified ad to be posted online as well for an additional least thats how I read it.)

    The significance people place on these 'profitable websites' is misplaced: the reson they are successful is because they have, for the most part, a solid backing in PRINT. However, those sites that attempt to do something different and are still successful bear examination. (i'll leave this as an exercise for the reader :p)

    I believe that this success is not true internet success: it comes from their ties to print media and the name recognition that comes with that.

  • On a TV show called 'Life Support' we have here in Australia, they put forward a really good way to make money off the internet.

    Basically, what you do is set up a website with some pictures of yourself as a 6 year old. All the pedaphiles will begin to email you and want to meet you.

    Once you've reeled in a pedaphile, write back saying "My parents don't love me. They won't by me a Playstation 2. How will I know you love me?".

    At this point, Mr. Pedaphile will send you a playstation 2 so that you'll meet him. You then sell the new playstation2 on Ebay.

    Another up-side is that the pedaphiles usually send you a CD full of hard core porn. You'll be the envy of all your sick-friends with the collection you'll make.
  • by inkswamp ( 233692 ) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @04:40AM (#3963545)
    The article only touches on it briefly, but one of the biggest problems with making money from online newspapers is not the technology, not the feasibility of it, but rather getting people out of the old way of thinking. Some of it is ignorance. Some is fear of change.

    I'm a web developer for a major, regional newspaper and I see it on a regular basis. There is interest in advertising online amongst advertisers. The real problem is getting sales reps out of the mode that print is the only way to go. The few reps who take an interest in selling online get almost immediate results. We've watched reps reluctantly go off to sell online and come back stunned by the response (however, the nature of a sales rep's job makes it easy to forget that); other reps claim that they spend all their time convincing advertisers that print is the way to go, and can't dilute that message by bringing online sales into it (and if that sounds like an excuse... well....)

    The problem isn't limited to sales reps. Others (and I am not kidding about this) think the Internet is a "fad." I've heard that term kicked around by many people in the newspaper business. Watching people put the Internet in the same category as hula hoops or pet rocks gives me a real sense of what we're up against. Some of our reporters and editors express resentment in "giving our work away for free" online.

    It's a frustrating experience, but from my perspective, the core problem is changing the way people think, particularly those who have the power to guide these kinds of things to profitability.

    • by clark625 ( 308380 ) <> on Saturday July 27, 2002 @09:32AM (#3963982) Homepage

      I find your comments interesting. TV has been around over fifty years now (though popular for less time than that), and its popularity has really crippled newspapers. There used to be multiple newspapers per town, and extra editions available in the evenings when conditions warranted it.

      Nowadays, if you want news, you flip on CNN. Or maybe one of their competitors. The newspaper tends to merely repeat information one could have gotten from the TV. But the newspapers found a nich--they could go much more in depth in detail because it doesn't matter how long it will take to read. Sure, there are space requirements, but information can be condensed.

      So what I find most interesting is that some newspapers still believe that TV is a fad. And you know what? They are sorta right. And so are the people who believe that the internet is a fad. My opinion is that very soon, people will refer to the internet before flipping on a TV to get news. To prove this point, look at what happened on 9/11--people at work just slammed and the other news sites. Most businesses don't have TV access--and if they do, they don't make it available to all.

      Newspapers are ideal for internet publications. They are used to written forms of media. They know how to place ads on a page in such ways that they will draw attention. TV's only option is to actually break the content up and force you to watch an advertisement (or change channels). I believe that newspapers should be much better capable of handling this new media.

      But, like you say, many newspapers aren't committed to the internet. They don't see how their current business can easily integrate into a viable online presence. It's sad that the authoritative news site on the internet is, which actually has to work outside its own niche to produce. This is hardly efficient.

      Anyways, like I said before--TV is sorta a fad. It has reached its peak in terms of news content (and I would venture that entertainment content has been piss-poor for years now). And at some point, the internet will peak, too. Probably with some media advancement like virtual reality to the consumer. That would allow TV companies to re-take the lead. Just imagine not merely seeing the news, but actually getting to "be" on location and watching the events occur. It's all just a long, drawn out competition and it's hard to say who will eventually win out.

      • If you think that is the authoritative news site on the Internet you should really check out The Independent [].

        Ever since 9/11 CNN has backed down from the hard questions and essentially repeats the offical line -- rather than doing some reporting (or even displaying some insight) to expose the real deal.
  • When paper newspapers did classifieds, was that not the same result? I thought newspapers made quite a bit of money from classifieds, hence why every newspaper has them. And the Toronto Saturday Star is TONS FILLED with them.
  • Whoa! (Score:5, Funny)

    by brooks_talley ( 86840 ) <> on Saturday July 27, 2002 @05:12AM (#3963592) Journal
    This almost seems to suggest that there's more money in extending current business models than there is in inventing brand-new, unproven, arrogrant business models based on the sheer genius of second-year-in-the-real-world-MBA's.

    Who would have thought? First people bring porn online and make good money, now people bring classifieds online and make money. Next thing you know, there'll be online auction sites! Wow, there's lots of money to be made by charging for valuable content! Who would've thought?

    Why is it so surprising that "Give us $15 and we'll run your classified ad online" makes money, while "Give us nothing while we establish market share by giving away our content, or, if we start to lose money, give us nothing while we download weird spyware that crashes your machine, or, failing that, give us nothing but please look at our flash 12.0 ads that only require a 4MB download, or maybe give us nothing while we figure out what new direction to take our business in" companies are failing left and right. Is it really that hard to figure out?

    Perceived value = real value. Simple as that.

  • Why is the media so surprised that these websites have actually made money? It's really no big deal; any website with a decent business plan can do well, and this is a decent business plan.

    1. Get people to read your websites
    2. Put classified ads on your websites

    This is how the cost for the telephone books can be (at least partly) covered, and if it works for them, why not websites?

  • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Saturday July 27, 2002 @11:38AM (#3964281) Homepage
    Note that they're not making money from banner ads, but from classified ads.

    The question though. Are they happy about it?

    What do I mean? Classifieds are THE most profitable part of dead-tree newspapers. A major reason newspapers WENT online is because they feared their classified business would be stolen by web sites. Hopefully--and I say this because I READ newspapers and Web sites--the demand for classifieds can support both.

    [Disclaimer: Newspaper Association of America Slashdotted so I didn't read the article]
    • People misunderstand what the internet IS. It gives people what they want. If they want classifieds, they will find them on the internet. If you give them something they don't want (adverts) they will ignore it. Boom. The nature of the internet. Giving people exactly want they want and nothing else.
  • Shoving Big Fucking Ads in peoples' faces doesn't work, but allowing them to voluntarily view ads for things which they actually want does. Who would've thunk it? Certainly not Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    [posting anonymous to avoid karma whoring and self-promotion]

    I'd been developing a PHP online classifieds system for a while and pretty much have it done (just need to incorporate an existing search engine from another project and get importing from XML working), specifically as a portfolio piece. It's easy enough to do that probably most ./ programmers could figure out their own system for themselves. The major problem is getting the newspapers to take the medium seriously. Your average daily newspaper does a huge amount of classifieds sales and even if you charged something ludicrously small like 0.50 extra to move each ad online, you could still make a couple of thousand extra per day. Run it using a system like mine (linux box, postgresql, not too crazy server needs) and you pretty much net what you gross.

    Now, they already are doing online classifieds and for some newspapers the system is up and running and looking good. You can even browse across chains of newspapers (friggin' media cartels) to get all sorts of ads. But, when you do, what you get listed back to you is pretty sparse. This suggests they're content to keep the push in print. This might make sense, because classifieds are a major revenue generator for a newspaper, and you don't suddenly want to offer an online classifieds system priced so well that it disrupts the print classifieds.

    Small newspapers that don't have a whole lot of money to spend is going to think of online classifieds as copying and pasting out of a Quark page -- quick enough to get the job done but hardly very impressive. The end result is pretty ugly, non-searchable, and usually archived by page instead of by ad. This suggests they don't think the Internet is worth the extra effort needed.
  • Spook (Score:4, Funny)

    by alexburke ( 119254 ) <[slashdotmail] [at] []> on Saturday July 27, 2002 @12:33PM (#3964463)
    Note that they're not making money from banner ads, but from classified ads.

    I'm sorry, I'm not at liberty to divulge the actual nature of the ads themselves, since they're classifi*WHACK*

    Ow! That really hurt! I mean, no, really, who throws a shoe?!
  • nothing new here (Score:3, Informative)

    by David Jao ( 2759 ) <> on Saturday July 27, 2002 @04:33PM (#3965150) Homepage
    Jakob Nielsen has been saying for almost five years that newspapers will have to use classified ads, not banner ads [] to make money.
  • As someone who used to read the Washington Post on Fridays for the estate and garage sale ads, I must say it's nice to be able to do a word search on particular items of interest rather than read through every single little line set in 3-point type.


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  • While waiting for the slashdotted article to be reprinted somewhere, here's something on the same subject

    For what it's worth I wrote an article about
    Web Communities and the Art of Making Money [].

    I analyze the same issues.
  • Of course, the most profitable part of a traditional newspaper is also the classifieds. Think about it -- classifieds are pretty much the only advertisements that people actually want to look through. The rest of the ads are just distractions, but classifieds -- want ads, job listings, movie listings, personals, etc -- are actually attractions, bringing in readers & revenues.

    And even though they're dirt simple -- no need to pay salaries for journalists, editors, illustrators & other creative talent -- a huge fraction of a paper's regular readers will spend lots of time poring over the daily classified ads. In other words, they're not just a big source of income, they're also a small expense.

    If marketers are just waking up to this now, they've been asleep at the wheel for years.

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