Saturday, November 25, 2006

Meet 'true believers' of classified advertising

Classified advertising touches the lives of so many people it must be bigger than any of the world’s political or religious movements.
This statement is not just hyperbole. Here’s a story that shows how the marvellous community crosses national borders:

THE boy who played beside one of the mighty rivers of regional Australia is now working beside the Thames.
That’s Tristan Greenacre in the picture, front row second from left, with his workmates.
Half a world away from the Bellinger River on the New South Wales north coast, where Perth-born Tristan grew up, he still keeps a keen interest in his Aussie homeland through his work with .
Gumtree is part of the rapidly growing online sector of the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Tristan, 26, has a key role in the London-based online community’s down-under push as Gumtree Australia market developer.
He found his way into my address book after I placed a link to on Gumtree’s Brisbane site.
Tristan sent an email bulletin seeking testimonials from users of the free classified ads, I replied and we are now like old mates with a common interest in the power of classified advertising.
All this aside, Tristan’s pathway to the leading edge of the field should be an inspiration for the Aussie kids of today.

HE’S usually a hardworking defender at soccer but Tristan Greenacre is delighted to be part of the Gumtree attack force and get his kicks in another fashion.
The right back and midfielder, who played for Southern Cross University (2000-01) and Coogee United in Sydney (02-05), still serves the sport, with Wembley Park in London.
In fact, Tristan’s involvement with Wembley Park FC started through classified advertising.
Here’s how the saga has unfolded:
"After finishing School at Bellingen High School in 1998 I moved to Lismore, NSW, and studied information technology at Southern Cross University between 1999 and 2001.
"In 2002, I moved to Sydney and worked in business development/sales for almost four years until deciding to 'see the world' and brave the cold winters of England.
"However, after a slight detour I found myself living in Venezia, Italy, for seven months, working on business development/SEO (search engine optimisation) for an online hostel booking website.
"When I finally moved to England I was happy to get myself involved with Gumtree, a company that I felt offered a fantastic free product to the community.
"I actually used in London to find a place to live, find a football team to play for and also to get my job here.
"So for the past five months I have been busily putting my skills to use in getting the word out in Australia about the free sites that are so popular here in England.
"Australians are a suspicious lot so it’s great to hear when people are finding the site a great help and it's also great to see the growth both in traffic and listings, I get a surge of excitement when a new milestone is reached – how I get my thrills :)"

TRISTAN’S recent thrills have included the lodging of a record 543 notices in one day on Gumtree Sydney. The milestone has come late this month.
He says Gumtree hopes to open its Australian headquarters next year in Sydney.
"Since the introduction of the Australian Gumtree sites two years ago growth has been quite consistent but has exploded recently as more and more people are discovering this free tool to find flatmates, sell their unwanted goods, find work or even advertise community events," Tristan says.
" was founded by two English guys who worked in the Banking Industry for many years.
"Their jobs took them to many different cities around the world (including both spending many years in Australia) and the one thing they found was that it was always difficult to locate and get in touch with like-minded people in a foreign city.
"They returned to London and launched as ‘an online community website for Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans’.
"Since then the site has grown to become ‘London's online community’ for all nationalities, as well as launch many local regional sites around the UK and abroad.
"The five Australian Gumtree sites – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – were launched in 2004.
"All of the Gumtree sites are run from our London Gumtree office by the Gumtree team (see pic) and three of us work on the Aussie sites."

THE Australian Gumtree sites claim a daily total of more than 1,100,000 page views and 24,000 unique visitors.
Early in November they logged more than 700 new ads a day, up from 350 in August.
It is easy to understand why the mainstream publishers, some belatedly, have been scratching their clawholds into this sort of market.
Gumtree is just one significant players in a momentous market battle. The Goliaths stood aside at first to watch small independent operators do all the hard yards in development.
Then, the big boys shouldered their way through the herd to gulp around the trough.
Competition and diversity undoubtedly brings benefits of choice but, if the technology and drive eventually concentrate into fewer hands, people with ideas and commitments to their communities of interest may shrug and say, "We are up against big money here, what’s the use?"
In any discussion of classified advertising, respect must be paid to the publishers who started it all on paper and keep the presses rolling, despite the overhead costs being higher than those online.
Even the keenest online devotee must recognise that a big chunk of readership still likes to get its classified advertising on paper, but the world is changing.
It also must be said that the success stories in the new order will come from the user-friendliness of the sites.
Consumers, accustomed to generations of "voting with their feet" and turning the page, are already voting with their fingers and clicking through the options.

The entire Gumtree team features in the picture. From left, back row:
Andrew Hunter (Aussie Gumtree), Sophy Silver, David Edwards, Doug Monro, Mark Gibson (Aussie Gumtree), Phil Chambers and Mark Riley. Front: Emma Lovell, Tristan Greenacre (Aussie Gumtree), David Walsh, Magdalena Marczak, Laura Caldecott, Sonia Dhamrait, Angela Moore and Jennifer O'Connor.

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