Free Advertising Platforms for Online Entrepreneurs

02 September 2011
stunned kitty
Blog shops are not fly-by-night businesses. You need to tend to them with care and consistency as you would any  regular blog site.

If you feel that you're not yet ready to set up your own web store and blog site in one, then one of the easiest ways to begin selling and making money online is to take advantage of free advertising platforms. 

Unlike blog shops which require some commitment to writing and updating, typical online advertisements are easier to craft, are not text-intensive and normally expire within 30 to 60 days' time. A lot of them resemble brief landing pages where you are expected to post all the necessary details that:

- would convert readers to buyers 
- gain the trust of prospective customers
- tell the audience how to contact you and how to make a purchase
- inspire buyer confidence in the product that you are trying to market (e.g., posting actual photos)

Ebay aside (since it deserves a blog post of its own), here are some conventional blog shop alternatives where you can list your online ads for free:

"Sulit" is a Tagalog term that means "value for money" or "good buy." The site is fairly easy to navigate and is monitored by administrators who are quick to take action on complaints against bogus sellers and suspicious members. There is also a forum where buyers, sellers and moderators can interact.

You are assigned points for any of your activities within the advertising platform: commenting on an ad, leaving seller-buyer feedback or simply logging on to the site. To advertise for free however, you need to reach a certain benchmark of points. You can upgrade your membership for a fee, which rewards you with points that you can use to post and renew ads.

- good feedback system
- active forum
- responsive moderators
- clear rules and penalties
- preview of member's activity stream within the site 
- targeted traffic (most who visit the site are seriously planning to buy or sell stuff)

- the lowest price almost always wins
- no buyer protection although reported bogus sellers can be booted from the site
- membership upgrade is necessary if you plan to advertise many products

Resembling Craigslist a lot, On Line Exchange or is a typical virtual classifieds site where "For sale" and "Looking for" ads may be placed and categorized according to type, geographical location and price.

The registration process is pretty painless, and once you've verified your account, you can immediately post an ad. You cannot expect to see the ad go "live" right away though. By default, your ad stays active for only 30 days. You will then need to enter your credit card information in order to "promote" and "feature" your ad. Doing otherwise basically means that the ad might sit at the bottom of the search results.

- easy registration process
- some buyer protection offered if you link your PayPal address to the payment section of the ad
- you can upload your XML feed and this makes sense when you have many ads to post
- the site lets you sponsor links through Google adwords

- no feedback system
- no clear rules or published penalties for reported offenders, spammers and scammers
- the search button is unwieldy and does not return extensive or helpful results 
- site traffic, member activity and conversions are not that impressive when compared to
- payment needed to "feature" your ad

In English, "Ayos dito" stands for "It's cool here" or "It's all good here." True to its name, the site is uncluttered and indeed easy on the eyes. Buyers get to select the geographic location where they can view "For sale" ads. The catch: The ads are displayed on a last-published, first-to-appear-on-the-listing basis.

The sort by price option is your only redeeming factor to get noticed. This means that if you want to sell something, your price needs to be competitive enough to catch the prospective customer's attention. Considering that some items sell for only P1 or P15, it does appear very remote that you can pull off some sales for merchandise in the P1,000 price tag.

What makes AyosDito slightly different from and is that the registration process has been combined with the ad placement procedure. You must write your ad first. To confirm the ad as fit for publication, you will need to tick a box that authorizes AyosDito to own the contents of your ad placement. The final step is to click on the verification link sent by the staff to your e-mail. The waiting time required for your ad to show up is approximately 3 hours.

- easy layout
- your ad stays active for 60 days
- posting an ad is absolutely free, no top-ups whatsoever

- the site owns the contents that you post: pictures, advertising copy, basically everything
- your ad is easily displaced by newer posts; you rarely get to enjoy page 1 exposure for long
- no feedback system
- search listing function allows only posts to be sorted by date or price
- site traffic, member activity and conversions are not that impressive when compared to

Have you tried any of the three? Which one do you find most effective: Sulit, AyosDito or OLX? We'll discuss more advertising platforms soon, so stay tuned! *
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