MissionLocal.org launched a classified ads page this week which will feature merchandise and services targeted to viewers from the Mission District in San Francisco.
It might be naive to think they can go up against the likes of CraigsList, sometimes described as the killer of newspapers, but the staff of MissionLocal believe they offer something better than CraigsList: A more trusted community of viewers, and better targeting for sales of merchandise.
Figuring out how much to charge for ads was not an easy task. To start, ads will be free for any listings that are asking for less than $50. People wanting to sell items over $50, will have to pay a fee of $10, and the fee doubles for items that are to be sold over $100. Service ads will cost $10. We’ll adjust the prices based on the popularity of the service.
The classifieds ads feature is made possible using a custom WordPress plugin I wrote, and plan to distribute publicly later this summer (a much more user-friendly version at that.) I’m hoping it will be an easy way for any small news organizations running WordPress to launch and ads page on their site. For now, any developers who want to get early dibs can checkout a beta copy of the plugin with subversion, by typing in the following command from their plugins folder:
svn co http://calpresstheme.googlecode.com/svn/branches/classifieds classifieds
The plugin creates a new “classifieds” section in the admin of WordPress (also called a custom post type.) A front-end template is not a part of the plugin at this time, and an experience developer would have to construct one from scratch.
I have always personally thought that CraigsList was beatable if done right. Posting an ad on CraigsList these days can be a scary experience, and the public may be seeking a more focused, trusted venue for ads.