A new stat says that in March, visits to online classified ads represented almost 3 percent of web traffic, up 84 percent than the year-earlier figure. More than half of that growth occurred between January and March, and the company that tracked the stat credits people turning to the sites to sell their stuff to scrape together some cash for the growth. So if the growth of classified sites is booming, shouldn't that be good news for newspapers? It would be if they hadn't lost a lot of the online classified market to sites like Craigslist, whose simplicity, effectiveness and business model have attracted users in droves. So while newspaper execs lay the blame for their business' demise on Google, Craigslist might be a more worthy target. Except, of course, for the fact that Craigslist's success has been built on filling a space that the earlier leaders in classifieds -- the newspapers -- couldn't or wouldn't fill online.
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