Thursday, April 17, 2014
Classified Avenue FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Classified Avenue?

Classified Avenue is basically the lifeline of LMA. Just about every member service provided by LMA is funded through Classified Avenue. Through participation from LMA member newspapers, Classified Avenue is one of the largest classified advertising networks in North America. In 1996 the LMA Board of directors started this classified advertising network to manage association dues and continue to provide outstanding services to the LMA members.

Who Advertises in Classified Avenue?

Essentially, anyone who wants to inexpensively, efficiently and effectively market their product or service to millions of suburban newspaper classified advertising readers throughout North America can advertise in Classified Avenue. Of course, guidelines have been established to ensure that only legitimate products or services are advertised.

Who Publishes the Ads?

Even if you don't actually sell an ad into Classified Avenue, you are still encouraged to publish in your newspapers (in which case you are considered to be a "Publishing Newspaper") the Classified Avenue ads sold by other LMA members, the LMA staff, and independent sales agents. This entitles you to receive a portion of the gross revenue from the shared dues discount fund as determined by the Classified Avenue Board of Directors. Currently, all LMA-member newspapers publishing Classified Avenue ads on a weekly basis are entitled to a 33% discount on their LMA annual membership dues. Publishing newspapers that publish Classified Avenue ads agree to do so in exchange for receiving this discount only. That is, they cannot bill Classified Avenue for the appropriate cost of the ad space they would normally charge classified advertisers. Classified Avenue will provide each Publishing Newspaper with an average of 35-45 classified liner ads (typically 25 words per ad) weekly over the course of the calendar year (Faxed to these newspapers every Thursday morning along with "To Be Published By" dates).

Where does the Revenue go?

Classified Avenue is set up as a for-profit subsidiary of LMA to ensure that LMA'S non-profit tax-exempt status is not jeopardized. In addition to overhead and administrative costs, Classified Avenue's expenses include:

  • Commissions to Selling Newspapers that sell ads into the network.
  • Dues discounts to Publishing Newspapers that publish Classified Avenue ads.
  • An annual contribution to LMA earmarked to enhance LMA conference programs and other membership benefits such as free member conference calls, research studies, representation at industry conferences, etc.

Who Benefits?

If you participate in Classified Avenue — whether by selling classified ads into the network or simply by publishing the ads Classified Avenue provides to you — you receive financial benefits! If you are a Selling Newspaper and a Publishing Newspaper, you enjoy two levels of financial awards. All revenue is allocated either directly or indirectly to LMA members who participate in Classified Avenue in the form of deeply discounted LMA membership dues and discounted LMA conference registration fees. All LMA members — whether they participate in Classified Avenue or not — benefit because a certain portion of Classified Avenue's revenue is earmarked to improve LMA 's conference programs, contests, and other membership benefits. And, of course, the advertiser benefits from exposure to millions of North American suburban newspaper readers.

Who Can Advertise in Classified Avenue?

Typical advertisers in other similar classified advertising networks like Classified Avenue may include individuals, organizations and companies selling tanning beds, timeshares, campground memberships, collectibles, gift baskets, self-help services, political endorsements, government surplus, etc. All Classified Avenue ads are screened by the Classified Avenue staff to ensure that only legitimate products and services are advertised.

What Does a Classified Avenue Ad Cost?

We recommend that a 25-word Classified Avenue classified ad be sold at a rate of $1,330 for a one-time insertion in Publishing Newspapers. Each additional word above 25 costs $35. The recommended $1,330 rate is subject to change. If the recommended rate is modified, Classified Avenue participants will be notified.

What Does the Ad Rate Include?

This recommended rate of $1,330 covers the cost of a maximum 25-word ad published in over 600 newspapers with a circulation of over 7 million.

Who Can Sell Ads into Classified Avenue?

Any LMA member can sell ads into Classified Avenue. We strongly encourage those members who wish to take part in the selling effort to also publish the Classified Avenue ads, which they receive from Classified Avenue Headquarters. Classified Avenue Selling Newspapers may solicit potential advertisers from their own network of leads, which can be generated from marketing this opportunity through house ads in their own newspapers. If requested, Classified Avenue will provide these house ads, or you can develop your own based on the suggested copy we can provide to you.

How Do Selling Newspapers and Classified Avenue Get Paid?

As a Selling Newspaper, once you verify that an advertiser wants to place an ad in Classified Avenue, it is your responsibility to collect the advertiser's payment; Classified Avenue will not assume this responsibility for you. Classified Avenue will only accept ads that are paid for in advance of the run date (assuming they also pass the screening process). Once you have collected the advertiser's payment (you can accept payment in any form that you use at your own company — credit card, check, etc.), you must then deduct your commission as the Selling Newspaper. Forward the balance (payable by your company in the form of a check or credit card) along with the copy and insertion order to Classified Avenue Headquarters.

Example:
Selling Newspaper sells a Classified Avenue ad for the recommended rate of $1,330. Selling Newspaper collects the advertiser's full $1,330 payment, then deducts the $403 commission and forwards the balance of $927 to Classified Avenue Headquarters in the form of a Selling Newspaper company check or company credit card.

Remember:
Since the Selling Newspaper is responsible for paying Classified Avenue the ad rate less the commission in advance of the run date, we strongly recommend that the Selling Newspaper collects the advertiser's payment up front. Classified Avenue cannot accept responsibility for non-payment by an advertiser. Payments must be payable to "Classified Avenue." Classified Avenue will accept your payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) or by company check or money order. Classified Avenue is unable to invoice Selling Newspapers for any amount due.

The Selling/Payment/Insertion Process at a Glance

  • Selling Newspaper Contacts Potential Advertiser
  • Selling Newspaper Closes the Ad Sale
  • Selling Newspaper Collects Advertiser's Payment
  • Selling Newspaper Deducts Their Commission from the Ad Payment and Forwards $927 Placement Fee to Classified Avenue Headquarters Payable either by Company Credit Card, Company Check or Money Order
  • Selling Newspaper Also Forwards Insertion Order (Including Ad Copy) to Classified Avenue Headquarters with Payment or Payment Information
  • On Thursday Mornings, Classified Avenue Headquarters Faxes All Ads Guaranteed to Run in a Given Week to All Publishing Newspapers
  • Publishing Newspapers Publish the Received Classified Avenue Ads
  • At Year-End, Classified Avenue Makes a Contribution to SNA Earmarked for Enhancing Conference Programs and Other Membership Benefits
  • At Year-End, Classified Avenue Headquarters Disburse Annual Membership Dues Discounts Amongst Publishing Newspapers in Exchange for Publishing Classified Avenue Ads

What If an Ad Doesn't Pass the Screening Process?

If you are unsure as to whether or not an advertiser's copy will be accepted or rejected, you may contact Classified Avenue Headquarters by telephone, e-mail, or FAX with your inquiry before accepting payment or closing the sale. In fact, we encourage you to do this to ensure that there won't be any problems.

How (and How Much) Are Classified Avenue Sales Reps Paid?

As mentioned, each Selling Newspaper receives a commission off the suggested sales rate of $1,330. So, for each sold at that rate the Selling Newspaper receives a commission of $403. Selling Newspapers are encouraged to sell as many ads as they can into Classified Avenue, and therefore can earn a commission from each sold. The Selling Newspaper should verify the advertiser's credit card payment or deposit the advertiser's check (whatever the case may be) to ensure sufficient funds, just as you normally would do for other classified ad payments you receive from your traditional advertisers. Then, deduct your commission before you write a check payable by your company or provide Classified Avenue with credit card payment information payable by your company. This way, the Selling Newspaper receives its commission immediately and Classified Avenue does not have to handle the administrative process of issuing you a commission check. Each Selling Newspaper may determine for itself how much of the commission to pay to the actual sales rep who made the sale. The commission is to be paid from the Selling Newspaper's commission.

How is Classified Avenue Marketed?

Classified Avenue is marketed primarily through participating Selling Newspapers and Publishing Newspapers since your newspapers have the potential to reach millions of readers. Classified Avenue also is marketed on its Web site. Upon request, Classified Avenue will provide you with recommending language for "house ads" which you are encouraged to publish in your classified sections as frequently as possible. Selling Newspapers and Publishing Newspapers should run these ads often since everyone benefits — either directly or indirectly — from the revenue that is generated from ad sales. These house ads should market Classified Avenue's ability to reach millions of suburban households in major markets around North America — guaranteed — at a cost-effective rate through an easy one-order/one-invoice system. You may also design your own house ads which direct potential advertisers to contact a specific classified sales rep at your newspaper and provide them with a designated phone number to call; this way, you can track the success of your marketing program. Please note that the Classified Avenue logo must be included as part of all network promotional ads. Classified Avenue will not reimburse you for publishing these promotional ads; this is done on your part on a voluntary basis in order to generate leads either for your Classified Avenue sales staff (if you're a Selling Newspaper) or for Classified Avenue in general (if you're a Publishing Newspaper only).

How Can I Benefit From Classified Avenue Even If I'm Not Selling Classified Avenue Ads?

Even if you don't sell ads into Classified Avenue, you may still publish Classified Avenue ads as a Publishing Newspaper and receive a 33% discount on your annual membership dues. Publishing Newspapers cannot bill Classified Avenue for the appropriate cost of the space they would normally charge their traditional classified advertisers. Publishing Newspapers agree to publish Classified Avenue ads in exchange for receiving a year-end membership dues credit and conference discounts only.

How Do I Get Involved in Classified Avenue?

If you would like to become involved in Classified Avenue to enjoy the many benefits, then please call Deanna Lewis at Classified Avenue and SNA Headquarters at (888) 486-2466. We'll include your information on the Classified Avenue database and you may begin selling ads immediately. We'll also begin Faxing to you the ads which other Selling Newspapers and independent agents have sold into Classified Avenue.

You may already publish a disclaimer in your classified sections that cautions your readers about ads that appear to be "too good to be true." This disclaimer probably also is intended to protect your newspapers from being liable for any negative consequences as a result of your readers ordering products and services from some of these advertisers. If not, you may want to consider publishing a disclaimer. Here is recommended text for this disclaimer that we have borrowed from another LMA member:

Reader Notice: As a service to you — our valued readers — we offer the following information. This newspaper will never knowingly accept any advertisement that is illegal or considered fraudulent. If you have questions or doubts about any ads on these pages, we advise that before responding or sending money ahead of time, you check with the local Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Line and/or the Better Business Bureau. They may have records or documented complaints that will serve to caution you about doing business with these advertisers. Also be advised that some phone numbers published in these ads may require an extra charge. In all cases of questionable value, such as promises or guaranteed income from work-at-home programs, money to loan, etc., if it sounds too good to be true — it may in fact be exactly that. Again, contact the local and/or national agency that may be able to provide you with some background on these companies. This newspaper cannot be held responsible for any negative consequences that occur as a result of you doing business with these advertisers. Thank you.

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