What Are the Hidden Costs Of Advertising on Free Listing Sites

Jason Leonard, October 19th 2010

Hidden CostsKijiji and Craigslist are just two examples of free listing websites.    But my question is, are they really free?

What value do you place on your time or the time of your employees?  The one drawback to these types of sites is that to remain at the top of the listings you need to update your ad frequently. Let’s say for example you are placing 2 ads each day for your one and two bedroom apartments. For argument sake let’s say updating these ads took on average five minutes to do. That means either you or your employee would be spending about 2.5 hours a month updating these ads. Now for a small property manager that might make sense but what if you own three or more buildings? All of a sudden your cost to update these ads is much the same as paying a specialized, paid listings site.  

But I argue there is still another hidden cost. Most larger, paid listing sites are focused on servicing just the rental industry. Because of this, they also support many industry initiatives, association meetings and provide sponsorship to the industry magazines and events such as golf tournaments. So, advertising exclusively on these “ free” listing sites can also have a negative impact on the health of your industry.

It’s something that each of us must think about. As someone once said, “nothing is ever really free”.

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