NAA Task Force to Develop Standards for Online Classifieds

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) formed a task force to develop standards for collecting newspaper classified advertising information to facilitate electronic exchange and enhance online searchability.

The task force will be discussed during the 1998 NAA Classified Conference in Boston this week.

Print newspaper classified advertising tends to vary in length and detail from ad to ad–even within the same newspaper, the NAA said. In the era of online newspaper classified advertising, however, there is great value in the user’s ability to search by key words. NAA’s Classified Ad Standards Task Force will create a standard data set to collect information in a similar format for automotive, real estate and recruitment classifieds.

“The value of online classifieds in the future will largely be dependent on both the depth of the data and the power of the database,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm. “By establishing these standards now, the task force is helping newspapers leverage the power and strength of online classified advertising in the future.”

Once the standards have been established, a format for collecting the information will be developed in XML.

The task force, which already has begun to identify information that should be included, has planned a series of meetings and expects to be completed with its mission by the end of the year. It is made up of 40 representatives from newspaper classified, technical and new media operations, as well as new media technology providers, traditional newspaper classified system suppliers and large classified advertisers.

NAA is a nonprofit organization representing the $51-billion newspaper industry and more than 1,700 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

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