Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 12:50 UK

Classified adverts booming online

Screen shot of Craigslist
Craigslist has recently toppled MySpace as most visited site.

The traditional advertising market may be in decline, but online classifieds are bucking the trend, according to research.

Online monitoring firm Hitwise has found that visits to classified advertising websites are booming.

Visits to such sites in the US are up 84% compared to the same time last year.

According to Hitwise the top search term in the US in March was for US online classified site Craigslist.

Generating income

It ends a long reign for MySpace which had been the most searched for site for the last 16 months.

The recession had played a part in turning people to classifieds, according to Hitwise.

"Consumers have embraced free classifieds as a way to generate income by selling personal items, while others take advantage of the deals available," said Heather Dougherty, Hitwise research director.

America's newspaper industry has been badly hit by the economic downturn with the rise of classified advertising websites held partly to blame.

Online classifieds in the UK were not doing quite as well as in the US but sites such as GumTree had seen a 15% growth in traffic over the last year, according to Hitwise.

The reason for the gap between the US and the UK is down to the power of brand, thinks Robin Goad, research director at Hitwise.

"Craigslist is much bigger in the US than over here and Gumtree doesn't have the same range," he said.

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