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Paying for Ads When Craigslist Is Free

Craigslist offers listings for everything from apartments to lawyers to dates. It is free for users to search and in most cases, free for posters to put up their ads.

Patricia Nakache, a general partner at the venture capital firm, Trinity, is backing start-ups that figure people would be willing to pay for higher-quality, screened listings.

Because Craigslist does not much care about making money, it can be hard for a profit-driven business to compete. Just ask newspapers, which have seen their classified ads virtually disappear. But Ms. Nakache argues that “people are willing to pay for a better experience.”


Web 2.0 Gets Big – and Corporate

As the economy totters, it’s easy to make fun of the concept of “Web 2.0” — the rallying cry of a generation of chipper start-ups spawned over the last few years with an unusual aversion to vowels.

Certainly, most of the venture capitalists I’ve talked to at the Web 2.0 Summit have said they are shying away from companies that are based on the idea of growing an audience now and figuring out how to make money later. However, after listening to the presentations here over the past three days, it is clear that some of the key concepts of the Web 2.0 movement are, in fact, taking root in deep ways.

One of the most significant trends is how the big companies that make very complicated systems are reworking them using the principles of Web 2.0 companies, particularly the notion of programs that talk to other programs. They are breaking up their technologies into discrete modules that can work alongside data and applications from others.

Facebook can be credited with taking the first step to open up large parts of its service to third parties. Last year, it let their applications on its site. Now, through its upcoming Facebook Connect service, it will let other companies build applications that use its list of people and who their friends are to deliver new services.


Search Ads Come To YouTube

Quiz: What’s the No. 2 search site?

Answer: If you guessed “Yahoo,” you’re wrong. Internet users now conduct more searches on YouTube (2.5 billion in August) than they do on Yahoo (2.4 billion), according to comScore’s expanded search query report.

So it is not surprising that YouTube’s parent, Google, is thinking of turning those searches into dollars. The company has begun testing video ads that are targeted to specific YouTube searches. The system works a lot like the hugely profitable AdWords system for search ads on Google. Type “Tina Fey” into YouTube’s search box and, along with the search results, you may find a somewhat relevant ad for the movie “W” as well as a significantly less relevant ad for the University of Phoenix. (This is a test, after all.) The “W” ad links to a trailer on YouTube for the Oliver Stone movie and the University of Phoenix ad links to that school’s YouTube channel.

“We are constantly testing a wide range of options to find the right advertising format, for the right content, for the right video experience on YouTube — whether you’re watching short videos or long videos, uploading videos, or even searching for videos on our site,” said Aaron Zamost, a YouTube spokesman. “We do not believe there is one advertising solution for YouTube, but lots of valuable ways for advertisers to engage with our audience.”


Politics Never Smelled So Tweet

If Senators John McCain and Barack Obama actually do debate Friday night, you will be able to watch what thousands of viewers think of their verbal sparring almost as they talk. Twitter, the service that lets techno-hipsters broadcast their thoughts in 140-character bursts, is setting up a special politics page to make it easy to tune into the chatter.

At midnight Thursday, the company is launching, the first specialized section of its site. Like Twitter’s main service, it is dominated by a big white box. But instead of typing an answer to What are you doing? the election site asks, What do you think?


What’s Next? A Site For People Who Love to Make S’mores?

There’s a social network for everybody — and that’s not an exaggeration.


Advice for Mobile Marketers, Courtesy of Obama

The tizzy over the Obama campaign’s plan to text-message supporters with his running mate decision offers lessons for mobile advertisers.


Gartner Tech Forecast: Cloudy and Getting Cloudier

In its latest report on information technology spending, Gartner projects a massive switch by companies to cloud computing.