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Free classifieds, Denmark-style

You’ve all heard of Craig’s List, which allows most classified ads to be run for free, and is 25% owned by eBay. And you know about Google Base, a beta offering from Google that some have termed an “eBay killer,” because it allows sellers to post items for free. Now comes a new version of classified ads from Denmark, coming from a surprising source—a leading Danish newspaper publisher. And it’s free, too.


FindAlt (Danish for “find everything”) debuted today, a completely free online service for classified ads that already offers almost one million products and plans to double that number “within days” according to Carsten Rysgaard, Market Director at Berlingske Digital, the online arm of Denmark’s largest media company. The smallest items all the way up to used cars and even homes are for sale already.
I met Carsten in Denmark last week as the company readied for launch. He explained what a big step it is for a media company to consider cannibalizing its lucrative classified business for a free model. In print newspapers charge for each ad posted, so how can they give it away on line?
Carsten explained that all revenue will come from advertising that is shown alongside the classified listing itself. So, for example, it’s free to post an item for sale, but if multiple vendors post the same item, they might want to show advertising to entice buyers to purchase from them rather than a competitor. “This will only work if more than one seller wants to offer the same item,” Carsten told me, but it seems to me that situation will happen frequently enough that there is a good business here. The advertising system is not available today, but is promised in a few weeks.
As with shopping search sites, vendors can use an XML feed to upload their entire product catalog. Most shopping search sites charge to add products and all (except Froogle) charge a per-click fee when products are viewed or a per-action fee when products are purchased. If FindAlt adds the kind of faceted searching capability seen in shopping search engines, that would create a formidable competitor to Kelkoo and others within Denmark.
For those of us who expect to find innovation in all the usual places, it’s nice to see Denmark showing other newspapers around the world one response to the Internet. With 90% of Danes using the Internet (over 60% with broadband), this seems like a good place to find the new newspaper model.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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