Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Don't be a donkey, use classified advertising

THE echoing cheers from the spring racing carnival's focus on stayers are merging into the murmurs of the Golden Slipper lead-up and a focus on two-year-old first campaigners.
But punters may throw away their form guides and look to the classified advertising of their local paper to come up the real winners.
At least, that seems to be the tip from racing writer Phillip Bate, whose column, Down the Straight, appears in Queensland Country Life, a member of the Rural Press group and a cousin to the Redland Times.
"Next time you read your local paper, don't forget to read the classified ads," Phillip has told his followers.
"Samford racing enthusiast Joyce Ziesmer did just that and ended up a winner when her horse Bold Benny won his second race at the Clifton Cup race day."
Joyce paid only $1500 for the gelding as an unbroken three-year-old after he featured in a classified ad, Phil wrote.
This ad appeared on another "track" but that doesn't affect the message that members of the marvellous community of classified advertising may always be winners.
Even "window shopping" for bargains is like perusing the horseflesh in the saddling yard.

THE marvellous community also gets people talking. The Classie Corner report last week about "Mary Poppins of Birkdale" finding an umbrella blowing in the wind certainly whipped up a mini tornado.
Mary's phone rang hot. A friend from Victoria Point called before the ink had dried, after she identified Mary, whose real name was not published.
"I know what you have been up to; I read it in the Times," the friend crowed.
An Alexandra Hills woman noted the reference to Meniere's disease and was quick to suggest an alternative treatment that had worked for her.
Then, Mary's daughter, Beverley de Silva, chipped in, saying she would email the report to family members around the nation and as far as Bangkok.
The octogenarian Mary Poppins who met Bob Dylan on a windy Redlands day may now hover with her brolly over technocrats the stature of Bill Gates, if Beverley has her way.
"If all goes to plan, I'll be going to Kuwait to work next year, so I want Mum to learn how to communicate online," Beverley said.
The email campaign with Classie Corner "might also help me convince Mum to learn to use the internet and email so she can surf the net (she's a voracious reader/researcher) and keep in touch with her 'spread across the globe' clan", Beverley said.
(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

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
www.Gumtree.com .
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 classiecorner.blogspot.com 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 Gumtree.com 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.
"Gumtree.com 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 Gumtree.com 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.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mary Poppins meets Bob Dylan on windy day

IT is more than 40 years, my friends, since musical poet Bob Dylan found his answer blowin’ in the wind.
But the gusts at Birkdale on a recent spring day actually posed a question for a local woman, 81, during her daily walk.
Who owns the umbrella that she found caught on a post?
The brolly could not have fallen into better hands as it blew around the Mary Pleasant Drive area.
The finder placed a free notice in our classifieds, saying simply, "Found, blowing in the wind, 1 lovely umbrella …"
Knowing the value of a good umbrella, not only for protection against the rain and sun but also for support, she is disappointed no one called.
She says the brolly is more like a parasol than a traditional umbrella but, like her own umbrella, it has a sturdy construction and wooden handle so it can serve as a walking stick.
"They call me ‘Mary Poppins’ around here because I always carry an umbrella," she says. "I walk 3km a day and I think my muscles, rather than my bones, are holding me together.
"I must have looked pretty eccentric that day carrying two umbrellas."
The Rockhampton-born octogenarian, who has lived on the bayside for about three decades, has Meniere’s disease, which affects her balance, and she recently learned she has "the bones of a 90-year-old" because of osteoporosis.
A widow since her marine engineer husband died in 1980, she appreciates her privacy but likes to talk about the shipboard romance that blossomed on the Shaw Savill cruise liner Largs Bay in 1950 and the 1951 marriage that produced six children.
"I am a bit disappointed that they have given me only six grandchildren," she says.
"I have a younger friend who is a great-great-grandmother but I haven’t even reached the ‘great’ stage yet."
But back to the umbrella or parasol: I will be happy to take messages from anyone wanting to contact this lovely lady. Call 3409 1275 or email
THIS week is the first anniversary of Classie Corner in the Redlands after a history in regional papers in two states.
The "season" started in the Bayside Bulletin but we soon swapped to the Times, believing stories from the community of classified advertising would better suit the Redland Times magazine format.
On this birthday, I thank the Rural Press decision makers who trusted that the column would help emphasise the reader value of classified advertising, the dozens of Redlanders who have trusted me to document aspects of their lives and the readers who join us each week in "a marvellous community".
See you next week. More stories on classiecorner.blogspot.com.
(This column appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Design engineer takes star role

THE high level of community interest in the new Victoria Point cinema complex, now under contruction, put Sheldon resident John House in the limelight after a weekly church meeting.
Members of the group asked when the cinemas would open.
A member of John’s family pointed to the quietly spoken design engineer, who soon became the centre of attention and under siege for a "please explain".
"It was a bit amusing really," John says.
"They didn’t know I was involved in the project and when they did, the message was, ‘Come on, put your back into it and get the job done. We want those cinemas before Christmas’."

THE partner in the Cleveland consultancy Hendriks/House, after receiving a message that apparently came all the way from the top, could happily report that the job was now progressing well and the opening was expected about March.
John said this week the project had required a lot of the expertise he has acquired in 30 years as a design engineer.
"The site was difficult,’ he said.
"It had a history of various types of uses, for instance, for sand extraction as a type of quarry and also, we think, as a concrete-batching plant.
"There was stuff in the ground all over the place, various obstructions, pretty much lumps of concrete, which were broken up and used as fill."

A TEAM comprising John, two structural designers and a civil designer, worked on the nine-cinema complex as part of the Victoria Point Lakeside development of Redlands company Fox and Bell.
Hendriks/House has operated in civil and structural engineering in the Redlands for 13 years, after both partners left another company to start their own business.
The consultancy, with John based at Cleveland and partner Mat Hendriks at Morayfield, has had a long association with Fox and Bell.
The two firms have worked together on projects including the Redlands Bay village about four years ago and, in the late 1990s, the commercial development at Wellington and Shore Streets, Cleveland.

HENDRIKS/House advertised twice this year in our Classifieds for a design engineer to join its team.
The recruitment effort found a qualified engineer almost in the consultancy’s own backyard. Paul De Weger, of Alexandra Hills, joined the Cleveland office in September.

(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)