Monetizing Social Media

A team from edgeio – including myself – will be attending the “Econonomics of Social Media” conference in LA tomorrow put on by . There will be around 600 attendees and given that it is only a 1 day event we have written a short overview of edgeio’s revenue platform for web site owners.


I am attaching it here. Please let us have feedback.

Six Weeks of Classified Boards

We launched edgeio classified boards in early March. Since then more than 700 web sites have started boards. Of those about 580 are free boards with no listing fee. More than 120 are paid boards with a listing fee.

Classified boards

The most prominent is clearly TechCrunch’s “CrunchBoard” but there are many more. Check out some of them:

Web 2.0 for sale – – a stand alone classified board for welling Web 2.0 related items, domains, companies even.

ContentSutra – – Rafat Ali’s Indian site focusing on the sub-continent’s technology news. Jobs Board.

Infoworld’s IT Exchange – – IDG’s Infoworld publication. B2B Services board.

InsideCG – – Inside Computer Graphics Job Board.

OpenCoffeeClub – – Saul Klein’s Open Coffee Club Social Network for Entreprenuers. Jobs Board.

It seems pretty clear that classifieds are a wonderful advertising complement to social media. Highly focused readerships are very valuable to listers. A classified board gives an advertiser a wonderful way to influence those readers. The eCPM’s on Crunchboard during the first month of it’s life with edgeio have been very significant.

Now that Goolge has acquired DoubleClick we believe that classified advertising – as a platform for delivering revenue to web site owners – is the next big revenue driver on the Internet. Our first six weeks make us even more sure than previously that this is true.

TechCrunch chooses edgeio to power CrunchBoard

Classified boardsMy edgeio co-founder Mike Arrington has chosen the edgeio classified boards product to power his Crunchboard listings marketplace.

Crunchboard is focused on job listings and charged $200 per month for a listing. previously it was a home grown solution that was expensive to build and to run. Now Mike gets the service for free and we handle running it. His cost is a 20% share of revenue.

The phenomenon of sites launching listings boards is interesting. It is kinda strange that content owners in the print world have made significant revenues from listings ($17bn in 2006) yet online listings are typically separated from content in vertically focussed listings silos like Monster, or CareerBuilder. edgeio’s bet is that it makes sense for listings to be a source of revenue for a publisher alongside subscriptions (where appropriate) and ads. Indeed, if you look at crunchboard’s listings based revenue and compare it to its AdSense revenue, there is reason to believe that listings can be a bigger than AdSense opportunity for many publishers.

Mike’s post is here

Of course Mike and I may be biased but by addressing the need for a self-service classifieds board platform, enabling any publisher to make revenue from listings, we have made the world a better place 🙂 .

AdStar and edgeio Partner to Broaden Classified Advertising Opportunities for Advertisers and Newspapers


Adstar announced today that they are partnering with edgeio to extend our marketplaces platform to address more than 100 of the largest newspapers in the US.

The partnership will go live during Q2 2007.

The impact of the deal will be that anybody listing in an edgeio classified board anywhere on the Internet will be able additionally list on a print newspaper in their area.

Adstar will provide all of the billing and pricing management for the listings.

We hope this is the start of a significant partnership with the team at Adstar.

edgeio launches Classified Boards

We released today:

To try it out click here:

Scobleshow coverage

Dan Farber has covered it here.

Techmeme conversation here

Press Release

edgeio launches Classified Boards, the first application of its new marketplaces platform and a major partnership with AdStar.
Palo Alto, CA February 20, 2007

edgeio, the company that brings together, searches and distributes the world’s listings, today launched edgeio Classified Boards ( a service enabling bloggers and website owners to add their own classified section to their site.

With edgeio Classified Boards, owners can create any type of classified listing board from jobs to autos to housing, anything they can think of. Through user generated listings, site owners can increase their value and maximize their revenue. edgeio provides payment processing, affiliate management, hosting, customization tools and tools for enabling networks of classified boards to emerge.

Keith Teare, CEO and co-founder of edgeio said:

“The edgeio marketplaces platform, and its first application – Classified Boards, enables any web site to create a free classifieds board, and to take listings into it – either in return for a fee or for free. This should make it possible for web sites to do what newspapers and magazines have done for hundreds of years – make revenue from classified listings alongside their revenue for advertising.”

An edgeio classified board is free to set up for any web site owner. The board can accept free listings or fee based listings. In the case of fee based listings the owner sets the price, and also defines a revenue share percentage for affiliates. edgeio takes 20% of any revenues produced by the fee based boards.

As well as announcing the launch of the marketplaces platform and classified listings boards, edgeio also announced a partnership with AdStar (NASDAQ: ADST). AdStar’s transaction infrastructure powers online classified ad sales for more than 100 of the largest newspapers in the United States, and a growing number of other online and print media companies. edgeio’s partnership with AdStar enables these newspapers as well as newspapers who do not currently work with AdStar to have the option to become part of the edgeio Classified Boards network. A person wishing to list on a blog in say San Francisco can also decide whether to list in local participating newspapers. This partnership will ultimately make newspapers and web sites part of a common classifieds ecosystem. This service is expected to be available to newspapers early in the second quarter of 2007.

“Our partnership demonstrates one more way in which we can implement our Web-based ad transaction technology to further extend advertising opportunities for advertisers around the world, while also providing newspaper publishers with a new source of classified ad revenue. Advertisers still recognize the power of advertising in their local newspapers, and newspapers continue to search for ways to further extend their online reach and generate online revenues. Together, edgeio and AdStar can help both advertisers and newspapers meet their objectives,”

says Leslie Bernhard, president and chief executive officer of AdStar, Inc.

About edgeio
edgeio is a leader in online listings. The company’s vision is to bring together, search and distribute the world’s listings. Products include edge-direct, (and its Chinese sister site and edgeio marketplaces. edgeio is based in Palo Alto, Calif. and was founded in 2005 by Keith Teare, the company’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and Michael Arrington, a member of edgeio’s board of directors. For more information see

About AdStar, Inc.
AdStar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADST – News) is the leading provider of e-commerce transaction software and services for the advertising and publishing industries. AdStar’s proprietary suite of e-commerce services includes remote ad entry software and web-based ad transaction services, as well as payment processing and content processing solutions that are provided through its Edgil Associates subsidiary, the industry’s largest supplier of automated payment processing services. AdStar’s ad transaction infrastructure powers classified ad sales for more than 100 of the largest newspapers in the United States, and a growing number of other online and print media companies. EdgCapture, Edgil’s automated payment process solution, is currently employed by call centers at more than 100 of the nation’s leading newspaper and magazines. AdStar is headquartered in Marina del Rey, Calif., and its Edgil office is located in Billerica, Mass. For additional information on AdStar, Inc., visit

Announcing “Marketplaces” and “Listings Boards”.

A few short weeks from now – in early February – edgeio will launch a comprehensive commerce platform for your blog or web site. We are calling it edgeio marketplaces. At the same time, we will be launching a beta of the first product built on that platform – Listings Boards.

marketplaces – What it is?
In a nutshell, edgeio marketplaces provides a number of services that can be used to create commerce applications. The key services are:

1. Content creation services.
2. Content management services.
3. Content distribution and sharing services.
4. Marketplace association and collaboration services.
5. Billing and revenue sharing services.
6. Reporting services.

This list may be a little abstract to conjure up the full implications of the platform but together they make it possible to implement certain forms of commerce in the webosphere/blogosphere, for free, and with ease, that were previously expensive and difficult.

Our first marketplaces product

Built on the marketplaces platform, Listings Boards is going to be its first product offering. We have seen a proliferation of jobs boards emerge on the web during the past six months. TechCrunch has one, GigaOm has one, ReadWriteWeb has one as do many others. Speaking with those who built these boards it was clear that it took great effort on the part of the publishers to pull the required resources together to launch those boards, sometimes their own effort and sometimes that of 3rd parties. It also costs significant amounts of money to build and maintain them. Listings Boards will be an easy and free way for any web site owner to create a listings board on their site, and if they wish, to make money by taking payment in return for accepting listings onto their board.

Listings Boards – Key Features

Here are the key features of our Listings Board product:

1. Create any type of listings board (homes for sale; jobs offered; cars for sale; general classifieds; events; indeed anything).
2. Decide whether to charge a fee to list on your board and how much.
3. Design the look and feel of your board.
4. Decide whether to allow affiliates to sell into your board, and if so how much (%) to share with them of the fees collected.
5. Decide whether to add other boards to your sales interface, allowing a network of similar boards to be formed. Listings Board owners can freely associate with each other to create networks, and can share revenues between themselves. edgeio keeps track of who owes whom what, and makes the relevant payments.
6. All boards will be able to create widgets to place on their home page or elsewhere. They will also be able to distribute those widgets amongst friends.
7. All listings will automatically be placed on the boards requested and will also be submitted to the search engine for free.

Why start with listings boards?

Two reasons, one tactical one strategic.

The tactical reason is that these boards are appearing spontaneously and are doing quite well as they address the needs of the lister to target a specific audience that reads a vertical, sometimes even niche publication. Not unlike the magazine world, where there are now many titles focused on ever more specific content, the web has produced its own targeted content as writers emerge focusing on areas of intense interest to themselves and their readers. By making it easy for these writer/publishers to create listings boards, we help give them the tools that previously only the big players could afford. There is clearly a ready audience for the service.

The strategic reason is all about what I described in an earlier post as the “emergence of the foothills“. There are now thousands of publishers around the world who have built significant audiences for their writing, podcasting or vlogging. An increasing proportion of internet traffic is visiting these foothill publishers. Yet these publishers – who are highly competent and fiercely independent – are often forced to rely on generic advertising platforms for revenue. The more farsighted have gone beyond that and have taken control of their advertising space, and with great impact on their revenues. We want to help generalize that, and make it possible for all publishers to do the same. The marketplaces platform is where edgeio will develop products and services to do just that. To reinforce the control over revenues that leading publishers are now seeking. By giving them the tools to allow their imaginations and business instincts to be realized.

Why pre-announce?

February is not very far away. And edgeio has traditionally not pre-announced products. However in this case we need beta partners for our listings boards product and we want to introduce the marketplaces platform to an external audience. So we are pre-announcing the platform, and the product today in order to get the first publishers to help us test and stabilize the system, seed the networks, and provide feedback prior to launch. We will maintain the beta status of the product as long as we need to after launch also. You can go to and sign up for the beta today. John Dowd, product manager of marketplaces, will be in touch asap.

What is our model for this business?

We are providing the marketplaces platform and the listings board products for free. We do not intend to charge startup or hosting fees. So our model will be to take 20% of all money that flows through each product as our fee. In the case of listings boards, if the board is a free board, and makes no revenue, it will be free. If it is a paid listings board, we will take 20%.

I’m pretty excited to be able to follow up the “Mountains and Foothills” post from last year with something practical we are doing to help the new and growing publishers develop unique models for making revenue from their projects. Listings Boards is just the beginning of several social commerce products we have planned this year. Let us know what you think.