Wal-Mart example reflects potential conflicts of interest in online classifieds

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Despite the fact that they’ve been around for what seems like forever in the world of Internet marketing, online classifieds are having a moment, as DMNews reports in this week’s news analysis.

However, the quick syndication of content enabled by Web 2.0 that’s driving many of the new deals in this space has the potential to also produce some conflicts of interest. This could become more apparent as the number of deals proliferate, lessening the control some publishers have over where their ads wind up.

For example, last week the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Wal-Mart Stores has removed links between the paper and the retailer’s classified advertising listings on its Web site. The newspaper’s management decided the unique content of the paper's classified advertisements would be compromised by allowing Wal-Mart to use it.

Wal-Mart’s classifieds listings is powered by Oodle.com, which the article says uses a standard programming protocol to seek permission rights for searches and indexing of classified advertisements.

-Chantal Todé

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