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Salt Lake TV station brings local classified ad site to Idaho

Idaho's Biggest Toy Drive
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Kind summer love?

When the team at KSL Classifieds began doing market research in Boise, they asked folks if they knew what KSL meant.

“A gentleman said ‘I don’t know… Kind Summer Love?'”

That’s Eric Bright with Desert Digital Media, which owns KSL.com and its sister brand KSL-TV recounting one conversation. The “SL” stands for Salt Lake, with the “K” designated by the FCC.

The station, a subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, started a classifieds marketplace in Utah in 2000. Now, it plans to expand to the Boise valley.

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[Want to cut the cable cord? New options for “over the top” TV in Boise area]

Something less ‘creepy’

KSL Classifieds Boise
KSL Classifieds app screenshot

With Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as the dominant players for people looking to buy and sell cars, homes and personal items online, Bright and his teammates see an opportunity.

“Boise is a lot like Salt Lake City,” Bright said. “We aren’t markets that those large heavily funded businesses are looking at out of the gate.”

Those user discovery sessions included asking users to spend time with the KSL Classifieds app. Bright said they were excited by the results. They asked users to compare KSL Classifieds Boise against Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and emerging players like Let Go and Offer Up

“Our app was showing up as the number preference in terms of feature set, so we saw a real opportunity,” he said. “One of the primary benefits is user experience… we sift fraud out of the classifieds marketplace.”

KSL works with a fraud management company out of the Silicon Valley, as well as utilizing a team of human screeners to tamp down on bad actors.

“It’s very different from Craigslist,” Justin Schroepfer, KSL Classifieds’ marketing director said. “Our user research showed it was known as creepy, scandalous and salacious. We are trying to do something different.”

SLC, E. Idaho success

In Salt Lake City, KSL has long been the most visited TV site – not just in Utah, but the entire US. The massive traffic is driven by its classified product, which outdoes larger national players.

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A few years ago, they pushed into Eastern Idaho after seeing natural traction without promotion. Now the KSL team is looking at what it calls “concentric markets” from Salt Lake that are often overlooked by the national players for expansion.

The model

Right now, most listings are free on KSL Classifieds Boise – and will remain so for most individual users.

“The long term vision for the model is there is a freemium component,” Bright said. “Where we have a high revenue volume in Utah is autos, RVs, homes and recruitment.”

Schroepfer said they are also working to help build community with the product.

“In St. George, Utah a few weeks ago, we helped to fund teacher grants down at the local school,” he said. “It’s not exclusively a revenue engine but we want to build the communities and partner with them and engage them.”

Currently the product is advertising on billboards and with digital ads.

Soon, they will begin a larger PR campaign in the market. The timing is set for this summer — and if that user has any influence, it might revolve around Kind Summer Love.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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