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Media Room

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The Digital Edgenavigation bar

HotPick:

e-Classifieds

By Melinda Gipson
NAA Director of New Media Business Development Analysis

Analysis
Company Overview
Product Information
Customer Testimonials
Licensing Model
Special Offer
Contact
e-Classifieds
Hagen Software Inc.
730 24th St., N.W.
Suite 14
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 333-7969
http://www.hagensoftware.com/
E-mail

Analysis

Increasingly, it appears that The Digital Edge's HotPicks space is being devoted to low-cost solutions addressing online newspaper priorities. e-Classifieds is a case in point. This particular company took an interesting path to our HotPicks feature page. Discussions with the Reston, Va.-based Morino Institute led to an introduction to this Northern Virginia "Netplex" company. A day later, in preparation for a presentation to the Washington and Oregon Press Associations, the author stumbled across a newspaper ISP Web site using e-Classifieds for its classified solution. I thought I was seeing double.

What I've since decided that I'm seeing is one of those rare examples of a company with a cool technological toolkit that hasn't been ruined by, shall we say, overly optimistic marketers. Here is a classified-enabling company that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (it's first-tier product is F-R-E-E), and that holds out promise for the networking of affiliated sites without the cradle-to-grave relationship or revenue sharing exacted by some classified marketplaces.

Don't get me wrong--I believe in such networks, and endorse the Metcalfe Principle, which goes something like "the value of a network increases exponentially with the number of nodes." If there is any area where newspapers have missed the boat, it has been our inability as an industry to slice and dice our digital assets, combining them into deep verticals with an identity familiar to all Net users and a brand they can trust. But there seems to have been something missing from the models that have emerged so far. Otherwise, wouldn't every online newspaper already have its classifieds online?

Enter e-Classifieds. The tools are inexpensive, and they're bought not bartered. The highest end toolset the company sells is less than $1,000. Who out there doesn't think their classified franchise is worth spending $1,000 to save? e-Classifieds has less experience in networking the various platforms which use its tools, but has been contacted by a few community newspaper associations about networking their individual newspaper member sites into one regional classifieds Web site. Although it requires some additional customization, the e-Classifieds system can be implemented for each newspaper locally as well as on a central server hosting the aggregated database. "e-Classifieds is eager to work with community newspapers and their associations as they develop new business models for the Web," said Phil Hagen, founder & CEO of Hagen Software, the developer of e-Classifieds.

It's of course possible that the online classified aggregators of our industry will see e-Classifieds as a threat and buy them outright. I don't see them as a threat at all, but as an opportunity for smaller newspapers to overcome any possible objection they may have had for putting their classifieds online. There simply is no longer any viable excuse. But take my advice and don't dawdle.

Remember when Real Media's Open Ad Stream was free?

Company Overview

e-Classifieds, a division of Hagen Software, provides electronic classifieds ("e-classifieds") solutions to publishers, television stations, media companies, city guides, online communities, career listings, auto dealers, real estate marketplaces, and other leading Web sites. The company's mission is to be the premier provider of Web-based classified solutions for businesses and organizations worldwide. With more than 10,000 sites currently using the e-Classifieds software suite, e-Classifieds is looking to expand its relationship with newspapers, offering an inexpensive and easy-to-use classifieds solution.

The end-to-end e-Classifieds solution is designed specifically to help newspapers strengthen the value of their brand without losing traffic to classifieds aggregators or other sites, thereby keeping advertising dollars and users on their site. Since classifieds can account for as much as 40 percent of page views for online newspaper sites, newspapers can generate significant incremental revenues by driving Web site traffic and increase the "stickiness" of their sites with repeat visitors. Smaller newspapers benefit from the automated posting and charging processes included in the software because no additional staff would be taxed to handle site administration and billing.

"Again, thanks for the E-Classifieds product and your organization's assistance in getting this launched for the Ravens fans. It's a great product and has fit well with the community we've built for the Baltimore fans."

 

Jean DuPoux of PSINet, Web developer for RavensZone, the official Web site of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League

e-Classifieds' numerous benefits include:

Product Information

e-Classifieds believes that every Web site should be able to use advanced interactive tools. The company provides a range of products from entry-level to high-end versions to meet the needs of any budget and newspaper size.

What Distinguishes e-Classifieds?

Features

e-Classifieds' suite of products is designed to provide newspapers with advanced functionality typically found only on national aggregator sites such as Classifieds2000 and Yahoo!. The high-end e-Classifieds Commerce and Premium editions include built-in features for e-commerce and are the ideal choice for newspapers, TV stations, corporations, and others seeking the best classifieds program available. Publishers can handle credit card payment inputs by checking to make sure that the number entered is in a valid format for that particular type of credit card. They can optionally compare this number against a list of stolen credit card numbers or numbers that should be rejected for some reason, if they have such a list.

The Commerce and Premium Editions contain many other options for fee-based classifieds, such as the ability to charge just for posting ads, just for viewing ads, just for replying to ads, just for uploading multimedia files, or any combination of the above. They also includes Auto-Notify, which is a database-enabled personal search agent that allows your users to specify discrete price ranges or other features and have only those ads matching these criteria sent to them periodically. The Commerce and Premium Editions contain a two-way, fully secure private messaging system that is ideal for personals sites, as well as the ability to allow users to upload photos, sound clips, and/or video clips to their ads. e-Classifieds can even let you set up "affiliate" Web sites that participate in your classifieds section.

To summarize, e-Classifieds' advanced features include:

Customer Testimonials

The number of online classifieds has exploded, and sites that feature employment, real estate, automotive, and personals listings are becoming the most popular on the Internet. Since print classifieds account for 35 percent to 40 percent of the revenue of a daily newspaper, the successful transition to online classifieds is critical. Yet less than half of North American dailies have online classifieds. Publishers with an eye to saving a dollar may see e-Classifieds as a good reason to wait.

Since newspapers are following their own unique business models, executives need flexible classified software solutions. While some newspapers are charging for posting, others are relying on advertising for revenue. Further customization requirements include incorporating the look and feel of such newspaper components as the logo, color scheme, graphics, and sections, etc.

Swift Newspapers' Tahoe/Carson Area Newspapers, and Cox Interactive Media's Discover Omaha Job Listings are among the many newspaper customers using e-Classifieds. But there are thousands of other Web sites such as NBC television stations KHNL and WGAL as well as vertical sites as diverse as the Baltimore Ravens Ravenszone and BeautyCare.com that are vying for the same classified advertising business. Newspapers that do not take their classifieds online may be wondering what happened to their revenues in a few years.

Licensing Model

e-Classifieds' pricing is based on the type of version used, on a per license basis.

 

Version Lite Edition Basic Edition Photo Edition Standard Edition
Operating Systems Unix,
Windows NT
Unix,
Windows NT
Unix,
Windows NT
Unix,
Windows NT
Price US$79 US$99 US$119 US$199

 

Version Professional Edition Commerce Edition Premium Edition
Operating Systems Unix,
Windows NT
Unix,
Windows NT
Unix,
Windows NT
Price US$349 US$699 US$999

A Licensee (customer) pays the license fee and if applicable, an additional $50 for installation. Customization charges depend on the scope of requirements and changes.

Special Offer for New Media Federation Members

The e-Classifieds Commerce Edition is being offered to NMF members for a special price of US$599. As a bonus, newspapers have the option to upgrade to the Premium Edition (when it is expected to become available in Winter 2000) for the special upgrade price of only US$199. Volume pricing is also available for newspapers with multiple Web sites.

Contact

For more information, please visit the e-Classifieds Web site at http://www.e-classifieds.net/ or contact Mona Sehgal, at (202) 333-7969 or by e-mail at .


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