Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on Googlebase and Automat

I feel like the modern day equivalent of Paul Revere riding through the newspaper industry yelling "Googlebase is coming, Googlebase is coming!" Googlebase is going to hit the newspaper-based classified ads hard. Revenue from newspaper classified ads has already been hard hit by Craigslist and eBay. Google’s forthcoming Googlebase will kick it up a notch.

Just about any search you do on Google these days results in an ad for eBay. In fact, I just tested this by searching for "dog crap" and yes there was an eBay ad. Man they sell everything at eBay. Anyway the forthcoming "patent pending" Automat from Google will place the Googlebase ads next to the AdWords ads integrated right into users' search results.

As I mentioned in my previous article on Googlebase, its real advantage is in providing structured forms for various types of goods to ensure: (a) more complete information on items/services for sale; (b) the ability to find exactly what you want and filter out the junk, since you can search by field. This will further decimate newspapers' classified revenue.

What can newspapers do about this? Well there are three options: (1) Throw in the towel on classifieds and simply milk that cow dry; (2) Jump in bed with LiveDeal; (3) Launch your own Googlebase with a classified ad solution we will be releasing soon. You can see an almost complete implementation at the mapping of ads will be added within days.

The LiveDeal option is tempting. This has no upfront costs and you get a branded site pre-populated with content. The downside is that your ads are pooled with everyone else. So if you spend $10M promoting your site and building up ads, I can open one just down the street for free and have all of the same ads. In essence you aren't building your own base of advertisers, you are building LiveDeal's base of advertisers. Then there is some revenue sharing for all of the money you generate through your traffic. This isn't too different from receiving affiliate revenue from sending your customers to eBay. But, I’m sure that this will do well for LiveDeal, because the quick jumpstart is tempting.

Our classifieds provide more structure, like Googlebase. There are specialty forms for every subcategory just like the forthcoming Googlebase (see description of the benefits above). We provide a mapping of all ads too, which Googlebase will probably have or add shortly after launch. But the benefit of our solution is that you own it. You can do whatever you want with it. You get the source code and you can make changes or we can. For example, we are also adding scraping to go out and spider websites to pull in ads. Maybe we'll scrape Googlebase once it goes live.

If you run a media property and see the tsunami of Googlebase on the horizon following the pounding you've already received from Craigslist and eBay, you might want to jumpstart your online classifieds. LiveDeal and ZiXXo are your best options, consider them carefully.

Tags: Googlebase Automat Classifieds Classified Ads Newspaper