Last month, Cox Enterprises and Landmark Communications announced a reshuffling of the deck chairs, with Cox taking a more significant position in the "auto" related marketplaces and Landmark focusing on more niche or specialty oriented publications and Web sites.
Cox will now control 87.9 percent of AutoTrader.com, which currently offers the largest selection of vehicles on the Internet, according to the company's press release. AutoTrader aggregates auto listings from 40,000 dealers and 250,000 private parties. Cox will continue to publish 341 print titles, including Auto Trader, Auto Mart and Truck Trader. Automobile classifieds — be they offline or online — are a key local search vertical that is already incredibly competitive. The move by Cox is surely an effort to focus its attention even more squarely on this predominately local marketplace. Cox, already facing strong competition from the likes of eBay, Craigslist and other major players in the space, should be seeing Google entering the space as yet another vertical offering.
Landmark takes over control of Cycle Trader, Boat Trader, RV Trader as well as For Rent Magazine, Harmon Homes and Employment Guide and the corresponding Web sites. These markets, like the auto market Cox is operating in, are increasingly competitive with numerous existing and new online sites focusing on real estate and employment.