The Park Record moves to Kaango classifieds
MediaNews Group, The Park Record’s parent company, recently adopted Kaango, an online classified system that boasts it can reclaim newspapers’ share of ads lost to Internet sites.
Park Record Classified Advertising Manager Inkarna Black, and salesperson Kristi Ruppert began using Kaango the first week of May, joining an online network with 39 other MediaNews Group newspapers nationwide a combined daily and Sunday circulation of approximately 1.7 million and 2.3 million, according to the company.
Black describes Kaango as "kind of like ebay, but local" and "more user friendly."
Those looking to place classified ads now have the option, through Kaango, to post an ad in a Park Record edition and online, or place a PowerAd, which stays on the newspaper’s Web site until the customer takes it off. With a credit card, users can bypass making a phone call, and pay online.
PowerAds cost $10, and 50 cents to $10 for additional services, such as posting photographs to their ads. PowerAds can be featured, which means they are highlighted on the front Web page of the classified section.
Customers can rate advertisers after a transaction and can e-mail advertisers an offer or a question concerning their ad. Users can also search miles away from Park City, by widening their geographical search radius to access other MediaNews Group newspapers’ classified ads thousands of miles away.
Kaango President and CEO Michael Kranitz launched the company from its headquarters in Denver, Colo., in the fall of 2005. MediaNews Group is his first client, he says.
Kranitz developed the program after years of managing a Web site for radio control enthusiasts, rcuniverse.com, a site that he claims attracts upwards of 30,000 unique users each day worldwide. Over three years, the Web site grew organically through feedback from its users, who were looking for ways to purchase reliable, second-hand equipment for their hobby, he explained.
"All of our features are driven by our vision of what a marketplace should look like and what our users tell us they want filtered," he says. "It makes us different from other providers in the industry for newspapers because we’ve actually lived with the software we’ve created for years and improved it for years It is absolutely home-grown."
Kranitz says he saw an opportunity to improve newspapers’ online classifieds, when he noticed that most newspaper Web sites lacked the interactive features of other sites that seemed to have "eaten into newspapers’ classified market share."
The structure of the network is based on an "offer and accept" relationship, as opposed to an auction, he notes. He distinguishes classifieds from auctions by explaining that a classified ad is not an offer but an "invitation to make an offer capable of being accepted." An auction is much more straightforward and has a clear winner, he says.
"When you’re working with the Internet, you need structure to make sure transactions are understood by both parties," he said. "What we’re attempting to do with newspapers is not only deliver print ads or display ads, but also online PowerAds with photo slideshows and discussion boards within the ad, so that a user can make a bona fide offer and a seller can accept or reject it."
Black, who has worked in the Park Record Classified department for five years, says since the switch to Kaango, many customers are opting to use the new online service.
"People are placing ads online and who wouldn’t want to? You don’t have to dictate and you can have them look exactly how you want them to look," she explains. "It’s a great tool for our customers."
Black insists that though the new system has become popular, her job has not and will not become obsolete. So long as The Park Record continues to be in print, the ads will still be in print, she says, and that means that she will still need to layout her section by deadline.
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