Classified advertising is a form of advertising that is particularly common in newspapers and other periodicals. A classified is usually textually based and can consist of as little as the type of item being sold, and a contact number to call for more information. It can also have much more detail, such as name to contact, address to contact or visit, a detailed description of the product or products. There are generally no pictures or other graphics within the advertisement, although sometimes a logo may be used.
Classified advertising is generally grouped within the publication under headings classifying the product or service being offered, for example: Accounting, Automobiles, Clothing, Farm Produce, For Sale, For Rent, etc. Classified advertising is different from display advertising that often contains graphics or other art work and which is more typically distributed throughout a publication adjacent to editorial content.
The free classifieds are part of free classified advertising. The free classified advertising is the advertising free of cost.
In recent times classified advertising or classified ads are not merely confined to print media, rather expanded to internet network. The free classifieds and free classified advertising have become hot online catchwords. Craigslist was one of the first online classified sites.
The free Internet classified advertising is rapidly growing trend of recent times. There are numerous companies and websites that offer the free online classified ads. These websites receives free classifieds ads and advertise them free of cost.
There are also country specific classified online sites like usfreeads.com for United States. There are a number of agencies throughout the world that have made a business out of the classified advertising industry. For example: Wide Area Classifieds has created their own classified networks in which businesses and individuals can place ads in hundreds of different papers across the country.
According to market researcher Classified Intelligence, in 2003, the market for classified ads in the United States was $15.9 billion (newspapers), $14.1 billion (online). The worldwide market for classified ads in 2003 was estimated at over $100 billion.