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The “big daddy” publisher of free online classified ads in the U.K.,, announced last week that it has gone live with the AdMission rich-media platform. This implementation comes on the heels of a deal with Microsoft, announced in mid-September, for AdMission to power the Featured Ads Program in the Windows Live Expo online classified marketplace (as reported in Local Media Journal Sept. 28 (Vol. III, Issue 18) “AdMission 'Spotlights' Microsoft's Online Classifieds”).

Loot, launched in 1985 as a print publisher, is part of Associated Newspapers in the U.K. The Loot print papers are now integrated with the Web site, which carries more than 60,000 ads daily in hundreds of categories. Most ads are posted at no charge (for the first 48 hours). The AdMission implementation is part of a series of recent enhancements and upgrades to the site.

To an American viewer, the site makes one think of a Craigslist on steroids and LSD. It's bold, bright, colorful and easy to navigate. The listings are also now peppered with clickable thumbnail photos, courtesy of the AdMission platform. The newly pumped up is yet another example of the shift to visual search and browsing that is a hallmark of “Web 2.0.”

AdMission's platform is designed to integrate rich-media (mostly photos so far) into publishers' legacy database systems and processes, to generate a more visual, rewarding experience for the end user. The AdMission platform is provided to publishers as a hosted service, which is perhaps a commentary on the challenges of making major changes to legacy systems. (The inner workings are of course transparent to the end user.)

The upgraded site ratchets up the heat on its main U.K. rival, Gumtree, which became part of eBay's Kijiji group in May 2005. Kijiji now has local classifieds sites in more than 70 markets worldwide. Gumtree looks more like the steroid-free Craigslist (25 percent owned by eBay, of course), and has much more social content and dialog than (Kijiji is Swahili for “village,” in case you were wondering.)

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