Google reportedly has asked classified advertising sites, including Adicio and CareerBuilder, to give the search engine direct feeds of listings, according to the PaidContent.org Web site, which cited an alert from newsletter Classified Intelligence Report. So far, the report says, the sites have not agreed to cooperate. "Analysts, including us, predict that advertisers will move to free sites if they become convinced that they will reach an audience as large--or larger--on a search engine than on a paid advertising site," CIR wrote.
The report comes on the heels of an article last week in the London Sunday Times that Google and Yahoo had approached Amsterdam's Trader Classified Media about a buyout.
Classified sites have to weigh the benefits of gaining a larger audience against the potential negative impact of losing control, wrote Nathan Weinberg in a blog on the InsideGoogle Web site. "If Google has a feed of all the major listing sites, and grabs more traffic than they do, then it can start its own listing service and cut off the rest of them at the knees," he writes. "Google can't compete with established, massive classified sites, unless those sites are shooting themselves in the foot every day with a crappy user experience."
Weinberg goes on to predict that Google will release a travel search engine that will put the established airline ticket and hotel search sites out of business within a year. "Those sites are all terribly designed, and a Google-style site would be like a flesh-eating virus to those sites."
A Google spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.