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?