Contrary to popular belief, newspaper classified advertisements as we know them have existed since the 1600s. However, the evolution of this form of advertising can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian civilisation, where, in around 2000 BC the Egyptians invented outdoor advertising. In around 59 BC, the Romans published the ‘Acta Diurna’, or the “Daily Acts”.
The first evidence of handwritten news sheets dates back to China in 206 BC. These news sheets were produced by the government and called ‘tipao’. However, it wasn’t until the 1600s that public posters stuck to posts and walls for lost property became commonplace.
The first newspaper advertisement was published in the Boston News-Letter in the year 1704, even though the first printing press in the United States arrived in 1638 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Over the centuries, the importance of advertisements has only grown. Newspapers, being publications that contain written information about currently ongoing events, have always been in high demand. Newspapers today offer a rich selection of content for readers, catering to each and every taste. Likewise, newspapers have a dedicated section for classified advertisements with the ads arranged according to their ad category, such as matrimonial, property, education, retail, public notice, lost and found, computers, services, etc.
In recent years, more and more people have chosen to go digital, consuming news online on personal devices such as mobile phones and tablets. This has cast doubt on the future of newspapers, especially considering more and more newspapers are now available online, either offering a truncated version of the print publication online, or offering online subscriptions by blocking articles with a paywall.
Even though there is no doubt that digital is indeed the way forward, newspapers aren’t going extinct anytime soon. Definitely not in India, at least.
For Indians, newspapers have always been an integral part of the household. Elders in many Indian families cannot imagine their breakfast without poring over the latest headlines or doing the daily crossword. Newspapers in India have been treated as a lot more than just a bunch of sheets of paper. They are regarded as reliable and authentic sources of the latest news and a host of other information on a variety of topics. It is no doubt that classified ads are still among the most popular forms of advertising today.
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