About Classified Advertising Online

Canadian and American Small Business Listing

Classified advertising is a form of advertising which is particularly common online, in newspapers, in other periodicals (e.g., free ads papers or “penny savers”). Classified advertising differs from standard business advertising directory or business models in that it allows private individuals (not simply companies or corporate entities) to solicit sales for products and services.


Classified advertising listing is usually text-only and can consist of as little information as the type of item being sold and a phone number to call for more information. It can also have much more detail, such as the name to contact, the address to contact or visit, a detailed description of the product or products (“pants and sweaters, size 10” as opposed to “clothing”; “red 1997 Pontiac Grand” as opposed to “automobile”). There are generally no pictures or other graphics within the advertisement, although sometimes a logo may be used.

Classified directory is called such because it is generally grouped within the publication under headings classifying the product or service being offered (headings such as Accounting, Automobiles, Clothing, For Sale, For Rent, etc.). It is grouped entirely in a distinct section of the periodical, making it distinct from display advertising, which often contains graphics or other art work and which is more typically distributed throughout a publication adjacent to editorial content.
A hybrid of the two forms — classified display advertising — may often be found, in which categorized advertisements with larger amounts of graphical detail can be found among the text listings of a classified advertising section in a publication. Business opportunities often use classifieds to sell their services, usually employing 1-800 numbers. Classified ads are also among the tools used by many companies in recruitment for available job opportunities.

Printed classified ads are typically just a few column lines in length, and they are often filled with abbreviations to save space and money.


In recent years the term “classified advertising” or “classified ads” has expanded from merely the sense of print advertisements in periodicals to include similar types of advertising on computer services, radio, and even television (particularly cable television, but occasionally broadcast television as well, with the latter occurring typically very early in the morning hours).
Like most forms of printed media, the classified ad has found its way to the Internet.

Internet classified ads do not typically use per-line pricing models, so they tend to be longer. Unlike their offline brethren, they are also more readily searchable, tend to be local, and may foster a greater sense of urgency as a result of their daily structure and wider scope for audiences. Because of their self-policing nature and low-cost structures, some companies offer free classifieds internationally, such as American and Canadian Small Business Directory Craigslist, and Kijiji. Some companies focus mainly on their local hometown region, while others blanket urban areas by using zip codes. Craigslist.org was one of the first online classified sites, and has grown to become the largest classified source, bringing in over 14 million unique visitors a month according to comScore Media Metrix. A number of online services called Aggregators crawl and aggregate classifieds from sources such as blogs and RSS feeds, as opposed to relying on manually submitted listings.Additionally, other companies provide online advertising services and tools to assist members in designing online ads. Using professional ad templates and then automatically distributing the finished ads to various online ad directories as part of their service. In this sense these companies act as both an application service provider and a content delivery platform.

As the online classified advertising sector develops, there is an increasing emphasis toward specialization. Vertical markets for classifieds are developing quickly along with the general marketplace for classifieds websites. Like search engines, classified websites are often vertical in nature with sites providing advertising platforms for niche markets of buyers of sellers