In a bid to lift classified ad revenue, News Ltd used Google App Engine to develop the Traderoo classifieds website.
The platform as a service (PaaS) option lets users run Web applications on Google’s cloud infrastructure. Google App Engine was selected by the media giant because it would be easy to build, maintain and scale as the user base and data storage grew.
News Ltd head of commercial platforms and products Joshua Lowcock told Techworld Australia that the return on investment from the website development has been speed to market.
“This has given us the ability to focus on customers first, rather than technology,” he said.
For example, customers place classifieds online themselves and have the option of the ad appearing in their local newspaper at the same time.
“One of the benefits of being in your local paper is guaranteed reach into the local community. We also deliver more local newspapers than any other company in the country,” he said.
When customers book ads using the Traderoo website, they get automatic email notification from the platform that tells them how their advertisement is performing.
The site also has a Facebook portal, allowing consumers to login using their existing Facebook details. Behind the scenes, secure functionality helps protect consumers when they are communicating or organising transactions with each other.
Traderoo is also optimised for PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet so the browser and ad placement remains consistent, no matter what device the consumer is using.
According to Lowcock, the amount of money News Ltd needed to spend on the Traderoo development was “significantly lower” than typical IT projects.
“We haven’t had to focus on solution architects or engineers because all of that is effectively taken care for us,” he said.
News Ltd worked with Sydney-based website developer 3wks to create the prototype Traderoo and then rolled it out in early 2013.
While Lowcock considered other cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, he said that its PaaS was only in beta form.
“There were some functionalities within the Google App Engine environment that were really appealing such as BigQuery, the Google prediction application programming interface,” he said.
According to Lowcock, the project will “never really end” due to ongoing product development work and Traderoo website tweaks.
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