Tuesday, January 6, 2009


For the past six months, I've subscribed to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a free email list of journalists searching for credible new sources. Each workday HARO sends three emails with media queries for quotes from professionals in various fields, including marketing, business, and branding.

I first discovered HARO on Seth Godin's blog and was reluctant to join. At first, I was hesitant to add three more emails per day to my inbox. Nonetheless, I joined and have grown to enjoy the daily emails and behind-the-scenes look at future news stories. From Time Magazine to Brandweek, the quality of postings is impressive and enough to entice any busy professional to join.

HARO was created by Peter Shankman, a self-proclaimed CEO, entrepreneur, and adventurist. Shankman's list started as a Facebook group and changed to an email blast after the group grew to 1,200 members. Today, the HARO website boasts over 45,000 "sources" or members of the list.

Shankman's recent creation illustrates that there is still room for the online classified business to grow in a post-Web 2.0 environment. From social networking sites for artists to zapatistas, Web 2.0 encouraged the creation of several social networking sites that will all not remain in perpetuity. Entrepreneurs were eager to create the next MySpace or Facebook. As more social networking sites were created, entrepreneurs neglected other areas of the internet that were open for development, including online classifieds.

As the newspaper industry continually loses classifieds advertisements to online advertising, how many more niche focused classified websites will be created? Craigslist is the king of online classifieds and HARO has carved a flourishing niche. What will be the next?

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Great article, Sean...I too am on Peter's HARO list and it's fantastic. (I was also hesitant to get 3 more emails a day, but it's probably the most useful email I get!)

Just to add to your thoughts about what could be next in the classifieds arena, I run an online classifieds/auction site called Listasaurus.com, and we offer video classifieds and video auctions--something that neither craigslist or ebay are doing. We also feature video in our Business Directory ads. So that's a bit of a niche for us.

We're also the only classifieds website to pay our users simply for listing their ads, another area that sets us apart. While we are seeing other sites starting to use video, it's still taking a while to catch on out there.

But hopefully we'll keep in the forefront of innovation out there and succeed, even if Craigslist is king at the moment! (I believe there's room for everyone, especially if you bring something different to the table, which we do.)

Thanks and would love to hear feedback on what folks think of our site!