NAA Launches Brand Effort for Classifieds

By Noack, David | Editor & Publisher, May 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

NAA Launches Brand Effort for Classifieds


Noack, David, Editor & Publisher


In an effort to fend off increasing competition over online classified advertising, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) unveiled a national branding effort for online classifieds. The announcement was made April 26 during the NAA Annual Convention held in San Diego.

The initiative, "Bona Fide Classified," is aimed at getting consumers to use newspaper-originated classified ads over other sources when they go online. The competitors range from Microsoft, Yahoo!, Auto-by-Tel, and even eBay, to dozens of other large companies and small upstarts.

Newspaper executives contend that consumers identify with their local newspaper's classifieds. What they are now trying to do is extend that brand loyalty to cyberspace. The Bona Fide Classified logo will appear on Web pages that feature newspaper-originated classifieds. The NAA hopes the logo will become analogous to a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for the classified industry.

Protecting classifieds was a major topic at the NAA meeting. For newspapers, classified advertising garners $18 billion annually, or almost 40% of overall revenue.

Computer and online market researchers, such as Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass., and Jupiter Communications of New York, predict online classified ad sales will explode in the United States to as much as $1.9 billion by 2002. And at least one industry analyst, Bill Bass of Forrester, says print newspapers will lose 10% of their classified ads to online competitors.

Tony Marsella, NAA vice president for classified advertising, says the new branding venture is aimed at giving online newspaper classified ads a way to break through the online clutter, with a brand that provides consumers with a "trustworthy, functional marketplace for matching buyers and sellers in a given community. …

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