September 12, 2017 Last Updated 10:52 am

The New York Times set to offer New York City-based real estate listings free for brokers

The offer applies to the paper’s Real Estate Section on NYTimes.com, and to listings in which a broker has an ‘exclusive’ deal with the property’s seller to represent that listing

The New York Times is doing something pretty interesting: they are about to offer New York City-based real estate listings free for brokers. It is a scheme that I once recommended to a colleague who asked how I thought he could build the classified section of his NYC construction newspaper — I told him to give away some of the ads.

Sadly, there are not many of us left who have had experience managing a thriving classified ad section, and as time goes on it looks like there will be even fewer such sections, and such managers, left around. But any CAM who has managed a thriving section will tell you that the key to success is dominating a classification (or category). It takes time to build up the ads and clients, and to attract readers to the section. Readers will come to your classified section to, say, buy a used car, if there are plenty of cars to browse. Nothing kills off a section faster than declining inventory.

The NYT here wants real estate listings back, and is apparently willing to spend a website space to do so (not print, of course).

The press release below seems to play around with the word “exclusive” using in an odd way. It says the paper will “soon feature exclusive New York City residential listings nin its Real Estate Section on NYTimes.com. By exclusive the Times means the listings are exclusive to the broker, not the NYT. A better way to have put this would be to say that if the broker is the one who has signed the seller, they can advertise this property for free on NYTimes.com, but not their office or another broker. This eliminates the possibility of some brokers listed lots of properties they do not have the contract on, or offices duplicating ads.

Why is the NYT doing this? Because classified ads are content. As much content as editorial.

That thought always drives journalists crazy, but it has been a fact of life for newspapers since the first newspaper appeared in print. In fact, I’d go further: for many readers, the ads were the most important part of the paper. You can go all the way back to the very beginning of broadsheets and their listings for ships coming into port to see that notices and classified ads have always attracted readers.

The NYT is not going to try to get these ads back into print, that probably is counterproductive due to costs. But since they are aggressively pushing digital subscriptions, the more readers willing to pay to see those real estates ads the better. It’s a good idea, and if the NYT or other papers would hire more former CAMs they might find there are more good ideas out there still be implemented.

Here is the NYT’s announcement for their real estate initiative:


NEW YORK, NY — September 11, 2017 – The New York Times announced today that it will soon feature exclusive New York City residential listings in its Real Estate Section on NYTimes.com. The Times Company will also make exclusive New York City-based real estate listings free for brokers, a major shift in its traditional approach in which brokers paid to list properties on NYTimes.com’s Real Estate section.

The Times will utilize the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) Residential Listing Service listing syndication program, which will allow for exclusive listings to be displayed on NYTimes.com. An exclusive listing is one in which a broker has an exclusive deal with the property’s seller to represent that listing.

Andy Wright, senior vice president, advertising, The New York Times Company, said, “New York City is home to the most lucrative, fast-paced and unpredictable real estate market in the world. For decades, buyers, brokers, developers and curious readers have turned to The Times to keep up with industry news, seek guidance on how to choose the best property and discover more about living here. Adopting REBNY’s syndication feed means that our listings will be as comprehensive as our coverage, making The Times’s Real Estate section the definitive source for everything you need to know about New York real estate.”

Vivian Toy, editor, real estate news, The New York Times, added, “These expanded listings will be a service to our readers that perfectly complements the newsroom’s goal of providing comprehensive coverage and guidance on how to navigate an often bewildering real estate landscape.”

“The Real Estate Board of New York and the New York Times have both served the City since the 19th century. Today’s New York City renters and home buyers will benefit from expanded access to the most accurate listing information powered by this natural and significant partnership,” said John Banks, REBNY President. “This agreement supports our commitment to meet the ever-evolving needs of the real estate consumer as well as our industry.”

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