Hard-hit consumers looking to raise quick cash by selling their belongings are driving big increases in traffic to classified-ad sites, according to Hitwise. The firm reports that traffic to the sites jumped 84 percent in February, compared to a year ago. Most of the new traffic is going to Craigslist, which even in the face of competition from classified-ad networks, like Oodle, continues to boost its market share. One reason Craigslist is benefiting disproportionately: Hitwise says that it has made inroads among lower-income people. The research firm says that 97 of the top 100 classified-ad sites in the U.S. are now owned by Craigslist. A year ago, Craigslist ran 88 of the top 100. Another sign of Craigslist's growth: "Craigslist" was the most searched term last week, surpassing "MySpace," which had been the most searched term in the U.S. for three years running.
By Joseph Tartakoff