There is a tendency for speakers at a large conference to want to sell (they would say “educate”) the audience about their companies’ products and services. I know I’m guilty of it. Nevertheless, it is refreshing when a person making a presentation focuses exclusively on the session topic.
At The Kelsey Group’s Drilling Down on Local conference in Seattle, one of the two dozen sessions was titled “The Revolution in Classifieds.” Sarah Pate, president and CEO of AdMission Corp., gave an excellent talk that provided her view of this issue. At the end of her comments, the audience knew little more about AdMission, but a lot more about the evolution of online classifieds and Pate’s perspective on the future.
In the beginning, classifieds were controlled by local print properties, and the first major disruption was the entrance of online aggregators such as AutoTrader.com. Pate went on to discuss the entrance of eBay with its online marketplace and Google, which signified that you no longer had to own the content to monetize it.
At every juncture, there was a response by the providers of print classifieds. That didn’t stop entrepreneurs such as Craigslist, analytics companies or social networking firms, all of which were taking market share from the legacy classified advertising providers.
Pate predicted that the evolution of classifieds would continue. There would be no more walled gardens. Content would be media rich, provide real value, and offer both relevancy and optimization. The conclusion, with which the other panelists concurred, is that while it is necessary to drive the consumer to the content, it is equally important to drive relevant content to targeted consumers.