Craigsphone iPhone app
Classifieds Pro place-ad feature
The growth in “smartphones,” led by Apple’s two (soon to be three) generations of its iPhone, is nothing short of phenomenal. Apple has sold more than 21 million iPhones since the debut of version 1 (plus another 16 million iTouch devices, which can run most of the same applications as the iPhone).
According to Gartner Research, 269 million mobile devices were sold in 1Q09, and 13.5% were smartphones. That percentage should rise sharply in the coming months as more phones using Google’s Android operating system hit the market; Palm’s Pre smartphone goes on sale; and Blackberry’s Storm touchscreen smartphone gains market share.
In another year (and certainly two), we should see people mostly carrying smartphones as older phones without the ability to use external applications disappear.
That’s great news for classifieds. Think about it: What better device could you have to either place a classified ad, or search classifieds to find what you’re looking to buy. Specifically:
- The mobile phone is an ideal instrument for placing an ad (assuming the venue being posted to is ready to accept it that way). Selling your car? Use the phone to snap a photo or photos; fill out a form on a mobile classifieds application with text information; and post the ad, even using the phone to pay by credit card or Paypal if there’s a fee or if you want to purchase an upsell feature (such as preferred placement). Are you a Realtor with some new listings to add to some classifieds sites you use? Do them all in a morning with just your cell phone, perhaps even recording video tours of the homes with your phone and placing the ad listings without having to return to the home office.
- The advantages of using a mobile phone to search or browse classifieds are many:
- Search while you’re on the go: Who has the model car you’re seeking?; where are the nearby garage sales going on right now?; which houses in our price range can we drive by, and which ones have open houses right now?
- See photos or video from the advertisers.
- Have the smartphone not only find, say, a garage sale carrying kids clothes, but create an instant map with directions from your current location.
- Search across multiple classifieds sites using a smartphone app that covers multiple websites.
We’re at the early stages of the mobile applications revolution, but already a number of classifieds-related apps are appearing. For the iPhone, the Apple iTunes Store has nearly 30 apps — some free, some with download prices ranging from 99 cents to $4.99 — that can let you search Craigslist, for example. Some of them, like Craigster, also allow you to upload an ad to a Craigslist city site in some categories.
Some apps support searching across multiple classifieds websites. Epage Inc.’s Classifieds Pro iPhone app ($2.99), for example, supports searching and posting ads to such services as Live Deal, Craigslist, Oodle, Shopzilla, eBay, and its own iClassifieds and EPage services.
If you publish classifieds, you’ll want them to be included in some of these apps. Classifieds Pro, for example, plans to add new venues to search for and post ads, including from newspaper websites. It’s extra exposure for your advertisers, so keep an eye on the most popular phone apps and have them add your classifieds.
If you’re a local classifieds publisher and carry garage sales, you also will want to be included on some new garage-sale phone apps. Garage Sale App (that’s the name) aims “to use the iPhone to create a nationwide garage sale forum.” Its mission: “This app is basically the Craigslist for garage sales.” The small company behind Garage Sale App is a developer of mobile apps.
Other garage-sale mobile apps are coming. GarageSaleTracker.com, for example, is a website only right now, but is in the process of talking to iPhone app developers and should have a mobile app before too long, according to one of its founders. The company also hopes to work with newspapers to carry their garage-sale ads.
As a classifieds publisher, you should have your own mobile-phone app. Check out some of the early apps now available to get ideas. Some of the companies that developed the current apps are developers and can build one for you, or perhaps customize an existing app for your brand or market.
If you thought it was just the web that’s been killing off printed classifieds, you’re wrong. While web search is great, mobile has the added value of GPS location features that can find what you’re looking for, direct you to it with a map and directions, and even let you call or e-mail the seller all from the same portable device that’s nearly always by your side.
I hope you’re working on developing a mobile-specific app for your classifieds business. Increasingly, we’ll see classified ad users relying on their mobile phones because of the convenience of doing their searching, buying, and selling untethered.
Before too long, a classifieds publisher without a mobile app will be left behind as the rest of the industry moves onward to the next business-model-changing application of technology.
What classifieds mobile apps are you working on, or have already released? Please share in the comments!