A new national classified ad site where consumers and business owners can post classified ads for free, or pay for display banner ads, launched Monday.

ClassifiedChannel.com, a national Web-based classified advertising platform, was launched by MultiChannel Ventures of Orlando, Fla.

ClassifiedChannel.com offers two levels of ad service. The free classified ad insertion capability enables local consumers or business owners to post any classified item they want to the site to help them sell it for free. The paid display banner ad service will provide local businesses the ability to reach a targeted local online audience with prominent banner ad placements in category specific areas of the site.

A 2004 report by Borrell Associates found newspapers had a 2 percent loss in real estate advertising market share between 2003 and 2004, while online venues gained 2 percent. The firm’s 2005 report found that this trend is continuing, with Web advertising predicted to reach 34 percent of all annual real estate ad spend by 2009. The Newspaper Association of America also found in a recent study that classified advertising market share is increasingly moving from print newspapers to online venues. ClassifiedChannel appears to designed to capture a portion of the mass migration of local ad spend from newsprint to web based venues.

“Since most people prefer to buy and sell locally, we decided to build a business model and ad site with that focus in mind,” said Michael Gerrity, President and Founder of MultiChannel Ventures. “ClassifiedChannel.com will allow local advertisers to select from two types of local ad insertion services: free and paid. With the efficiencies of the web, it’s all about reducing their customer acquisition costs.”

Visitors to the simple, easy-to-navigate site, whose homepage currently features an ad for the Home Improvement Channel, have two main options. They can enter their ZIP code, category such as auto or mortgage, and maximum distance from their ZIP code to search for what they want to buy. Or they can post whatever they want to sell by first creating their own free account and then listing their item.

MultiChannel Ventures is a developer, owner and operator of a broad range of video programming, broadband distribution, interactive, subscription, paid search, advertising and transaction-based Internet businesses. MCV primarily develops or acquires early-stage Internet assets through which it can create and realize significant shareholder value over a five- to seven-year horizon.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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