Google Automat Says Sayonara To Craigslist

    November 9, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

An analyst with Classified Intelligence has found a Google patent application for Automat, a system where users can develop and post classified ads.

A report from details the findings of John Zappe, a CI analyst. He has uncovered Google patent application, along with screenshots for Google Purchases and

The search engine company called the initiative Google Automat’ in its filings, and one part of the filing describes a mechanism for uploading classified ads to the system. Zappe noted how a variety of payment options, including Google Purchases, would eventually be available through the system.

In the report, CI’s Peter Zollman discussed how the revenue model comes into play for Google with classifieds:

A key component would be Google’s ability to upsell classified ads, according to Peter Zollman, executive editor of the Classified Intelligence Report. “The way you make money with free classifieds is through add-on services,” he told “Google will be able to offer contextual advertising next to the classifieds but also, they could give you the option of paying more to have it displayed at the top of the list or with pictures or something like that.”

Zollman emphasized that his company’s analysis is speculative. “A patent application doesn’t mean they’re going to get a patent, or that anyone will release what’s covered in the application,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added, “They’re certainly planning for an all-out assault on classified advertising. They have made that clear with the URL, among other things.” noted an enthusiastic “buy” rating from UBS Investment Research, whose analyst sees a $430 target for Google shares.

The report listed the description of the first diagram in Google’s patent application: “Advertise Your Items for Sale on Google in Under 1 Minute with Google Automat.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.