NAA Task Force to Develop Standards for Online Classified Ads

Debra Gersh Hernandez
NAA Director of Public Relations
Tel: +1 (703) 902-1737

June 1, 1998

Boston, Mass. -- The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has formed a task force to develop standards for collecting newspaper classified advertising information in order to facilitate its electronic exchange and enhance its online searchability. The task force will be discussed during the 1998 NAA Classified Conference in Boston May 31 - June 3, 1998.

Print newspaper classified advertising tends to vary in length and detail from ad to ad -- even within the same newspaper. In the era of online newspaper classified advertising, however, there is great value in the amount of data available and the user's ability to search by key words. NAA's Classified Ad Standards Task Force will create a standard 'data set' to collect information in a similar format for automotive, real estate and recruitment classifieds.

"The value of online classifieds in the future will largely be dependent on both the depth of the data and the power of the database," said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm. "By establishing these standards now, the task force is helping newspapers leverage the power and strength of online classified advertising in the future."

Once the standards have been established, a format for collecting the information will be developed in XML, a special tagging language designed to facilitate the exchange of data on the World Wide Web and other computer-based languages.

The task force, which already has begun to identify information that should be included, has planned a series of meetings and expects to be completed with its mission by the end of the [1998] year. It is made up of forty (40) representatives from newspaper classified, technical and new media operations, as well as new media technology providers, traditional newspaper classified system suppliers and large classified advertisers. The standardized format is part of an industry-wide initiative to establish newspaper classified advertising online as the marketplace of choice for motivated buyers and sellers to meet.

NAA is a nonprofit organization representing the $51-billion newspaper industry and more than 1,700 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Most NAA members are daily newspapers, accounting for 87 percent of the U.S. daily circulation. Headquartered in Tysons Corner (Vienna, VA.), the Association focuses on five key strategic priorities that affect the newspaper industry collectively: marketing, public policy, diversity, industry development and newspaper operations. Information about NAA and the industry may also be found at the Association's World Wide Web site on the Internet at

[Note: See the main database entry in the XML page: Newspaper Association of America (NAA) - Classified Ads Format, and the entry for the NAA/IPTC News Industry Text Format (NITF).]

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