Reynolds Fellow taps social media to aggregate and distribute classified ads

Newspaper website tests new revenue platform

Columbia, Mo. — Buyers and sellers can now place and view ads through a new socially integrated classified ad system on the Columbia Missourian’s newspaper website.

The adFreeq, LLC development team is working with the daily newspaper as its initial public test site and will be expanding to other online newspaper and media publishers soon, said Peter Meng, adFreeq co-founder and chief executive officer.

Meng created adFreeq during his 2011-2012 fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) because of a potential market he saw for classified advertising platforms after seeing a drop in classified ad revenues. The new system provides live streaming classified ads from the Missourian, third-party sources and popular social Internet sites to create a new revenue opportunity for online news organizations, publishers and blogs — at no cost to the publishers.

How to use adFreeq

The adFreeq “adPortals” can be found on the right hand side of the News, Sports and Classified Ad pages of the newspaper’s website. Clicking on the adBoard icon, in the upper right hand corner of the adPortal, allows people to scroll through hundreds of ads at the same time. Meng says adBoards are like the “Pinterest for classifieds.” Users can save, search for, share (via social media) and organize ads into collections using adBoards.

Double clicking on the ads will allow buyers to view all posted photos of the sale item. Users can also view a map of the item location by clicking on the “map” button.

View the adFreeq demo video

The mobile version of adFreeq will be available at the end of the month.

Feedback wanted

The initial version of adFreeq will be monitored to test the usability for socially based classifieds. The development team will seek comments, suggestions and critique from users of the system.

“User feedback will help us develop the next set of features for the system based on what the customers want,” said Meng.

For more information, contact the team at

Jennifer Nelson

Senior Information Specialist

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute


About the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.