Folks, I have been thinking about this for sometime: All of us know, classifieds is big business. Both online and offline. In the offline world traditional media like newspapers are the big gorillas – they basically built the classifieds industry. In the online world we of have craigslist, networks such as google adwords, vertical classifieds such as magicbricks, trulia etc. Though newspapers have gone online and online classifieds are proving to be successful businesses, I feel that there a distinct disconnect between the offline and online worlds. Why aren’t newspapers (or any other traditional media) integrating their offline classifieds with their websites? Online classifieds of all newspapers (thehindu, timesofindia, local papers like deccan chronicle, eenaadu) suck big time – they have minimal/obsolete content, search/usability features are non-existent. What could be the reason for this?

I feel newspapers have everything going for them 1. They have a captive customer set (who give them offline classifieds). So content (and revenues) is not an issue. Pricing could be different for online. 2. They have a decent online reader base. So integrating the online and offline worlds should be the most obvious thing to do. But this definitely is not happening. Even newspapers in US (NY Times etc) dont seem have integrated their online and offline worlds. Only google (who buys a lot of print ad slots) seems to be bridging this.

I would like to understand the reasons for this disconnect. Are they purely cultural – sticking to the existing cash cow and under estimating the online effect? Or is it more than that?
Are there any traditional media which have successfully embraced the online classifieds model – can anyone point some examples? It would be great if someone can throw some numbers – typical revenues made through offline classifieds. How much can online classifieds effect the overall revenues for the business etc.

I strongly feel there is a business opportunity here – enabling traditional media to broaden their pie. If you want to collaborate on this pls comment or directly contact me.