Picking the right classified ads platform for Joomla

With the decision to go with Joomla as my CMS, my next hurdle is to figure out what additional components I’ll use with it. As I’m building a jobs site, my first priority is to evaluate and select a classified ads platform. I’m going to want to keep my costs down, so my personal selections will be somewhat biased as a result.

Deciding between home grown or off the shelf

While I can hack around a bit under the hood with HTML, I’m a little leery about trying to put together something as complex as a classified ads platform from scratch. For someone with more time or programming talent than me, this might be a solution to consider. A home grown platform could be completely tailored and customized, allowing it to stand out compared to any competitors. As the existing choices are so feature rich and easily modified, this is not a path I intend to pursue.

The solutions available for classified ads vary in price from free–always a great option–to quite expensive. As I said previously, though, as my budget is limited I’m only going to focus on the free choices that are available.

Choosing between tight and loose integration

While there are a good number of free classified ads choices available, not all of them integrate closely with Joomla. In reviewing my options, I realized that while the tightly integrated ones are easily installed and configured within an existing Joomla site, they seem to be less frequently updated and supported. In contrast, the less integrated ones seem to be far more actively developed with vibrant support communities, but can be a real chore to seamlessly interface with Joomla. It’s a difficult trade off between ease of use and a perhaps fuller features set.

I discovered a few options, such as Jobline and Marketplace, which appear to be tightly integrated with Joomla. It seems that both of these products are no longer being developed, though, and so in the end I decided that selecting one of them would be unwise. Instead, I elected to solely focus on options that were currently and actively supported.

Comparing Noah’s Classifieds and AdsManager

Noah’s Classifieds seems by far to be the grand daddy of classifieds ads platforms, with an immense base of installations and users. The main site doesn’t have a support forum, though, which was troubling at first until I stumbled upon the Noah’s Classifieds Unofficial Support Website which has a great forum. There is a version of Noah’s for Joomla, too, making it appear to be quite attractive. Because it was modified to work with Joomla, though, the development of the Joomla version and the normal version aren’t in synch, and I wasn’t personally comfortable with using it.

The other choice was AdsManager, which was developed specifically for Joomla. It’s website isn’t glamorous, but the software itself is impressive. It was designed from the ground up to be very closely integrated with Joomla, allowing it to share user accounts and permissions, which makes it very easy to setup and configure. It also has a very active support forum. I asked a number of questions, and got responses very quickly, enabling me to quickly move forward with the few configuration issues I experienced.

The best classified ads solution for Joomla

I felt a strong case could be made for either Noah’s Classifieds or AdsManager. In the end, I opted to go with AdsManager, though, due to its seamless integration with Joomla and the strength of its community support. Thus far I’ve been very satisfied with both its features and support, and feel it’s the right choice for the jobs site I’m building.

8 comments

  1. Very nice subject…
    Just curios to know, in which Joomla version did you install ?
    was it version 1 or version 1.5 ?

    I want to install either Noahs or Ad manager in version 1.5 …
    any ideas or suggestions ?

    again, very interesting blog you got here….
    itll grow soon if you keep posting topics like these…

    Good luck…

    visit my blog sometimes- http://www.Theburjalalam.com

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback.

    ESL Jobs World is currently running on Joomla 1.0. Version 1.5 was still in beta as I was developing it. I haven’t yet experimented with Joomla 1.5 yet as the 1.0 release has done a good job with the site thus far, although I’m sure I’ll experiment with it at some point.

  3. Your blog is excellent!

    I’ve am currently working on a new project that will require a CMS and classifieds.

    Over the last week or so I have installed Joomla 1.5 and installed AdManager, however it currently only works in Legacy mode.

    I’ve also taken a look at other platforms such as creating the website myself and incorporating GEOClassifieds and other alternatives however they have been designed to create a complete page and not a section to a page which I would prefer.

    In the coming days I will finally decide on the platform and classifieds package and thank you for your information as I will also consider installing Joomla 1 as AdManager will work fine.

    Thanks for your info.
    John

  4. Very NICE COMPARISON. I was looking for this observation as I too am building a membership site. The only thing with Noah’s Classified is that (from my perspective) it can’t be branded thoroughly. There is the option to change the “look” but it is very limited. I do LUV this program but that would be a major trade-off for me not to be able to “brand” the site properly. I think the price is O.K. and the features have a “logical progression” for Noah but… and there is A BIG BUT (limited “branding” capabilities).

    I come from a corporate Sales and Marketing background and “branding” is SOOOO KEY!!!

    Everything else aside… I will be following your advice as well. THANK YOU 🙂

  5. Thanks for the info! Was just looking for comparisons and I appreciate your feedback. Will install adsmanager and see how it goes (Joomla site).

    Cheryl

  6. What about Almond Classifieds? I was looking for a module that would offer a Craigslist look and feel and Almond does the job really well. Any thoughts? I am still deciding on the paid add-ons….
    Thanks,
    Marco