Classified ad websites are a one-stop shop for everything the internet user needs.  These users, for the most part, are not buying anything directly on these websites.  Instead, they use the classified websites as a research tool to gather information and setup meetings so they can conduct business in person or by mail.

In 2005, only 22% of adult internet users said they’ve used online classified websites.  In April 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a survey and learned that 49% (almost half) of adult internet users have used online classified websites.   So in four years that number has more than doubled.  What will it be like in another 4 years or even 2 years?

On any given day about 9% of the internet users are on classified websites, up from 4% in 2005.   They also discovered the growing popularity and importance of online classifieds have devastated a key revenue source for traditional newspapers.

Craigslist is the most used classified website in the United States with 53.8 million unique visitors in March 2009.  Craigslist is established in over 500 cities across 50 different countries and includes everything from houses, jobs and pets to personals and everything in between.

I’m surprised the numbers are not higher actually.  In my circle of friends and relatives, I would say at least 80% of them have used classified websites.  It’s becoming a “reflex” for everyone, from my teenagers to grandma and grandpa.  When we are looking to buy something, we look on the internet first for product research, general pricing info, where to buy, see what others have to say, etc.

This survey really puts things in perspective.  Congratulations to those of you who have your products and services posted on the internet via your website and online classified websites.  For everyone else, unless you have a monopoly in your specific market, you’re missing the boat. 

You must recognize that you have to put your company, products and services out there, in front of your target audience and they are on the Internet.  

I checked the amount of Internet users in North America vs. the population and it’s right at 75% – here’s the numbers provided by Internet World Stats.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

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