Innovative, quality journalism takes money to produce. In the past, one of the largest revenue streams for news organizations has traditionally come from the classified ad market – a revenue stream that has all but dried up in today's era of Craigslist and eBay. As an online editor, developer, manager and digital strategist for Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com, a midsized news organization owned by Morris Publishing Group, I've sat through countless digital strategy meetings discussing how we as a company can win back a sliver of the online classified ad market, if for no other reason than audience growth, and with the longterm goal of driving revenue to support our company's journalistic efforts.

After brainstorming the issue with our V.P. of Audience Steve Yelvington, I identified a few key competitive advantages news organizations may still possess in the classified market:

The following weekend, I built SavSwap, a prototype for the sort of product I believe could harness local news organizations' competitive advantages while at the same time creating a cleaner, more visual, simpler and more secure user experience than the national competitors have to offer. While still very much in beta state, SavSwap is now being proposed as a model for all Morris properties to adopt, and is slated for a local launch in the Savannah market this quarter.

[launch_button text="Launch beta version of project" url="http://dev-savswap.gotpantheon.com/"]

A few of the key features that make SavSwap stand apart from other classified ad attempts include:

Features that we plan to implement include:

For a brief presentation outlining the SavSwap model, see my slideshare presentation here. To see SavSwap in its current development state, see here.