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The roadside billboard has been in decline ever since Ladybird Johnson’s 1960s highway beautification campaign.
But entrepreneurs Kevin Keefer and Gerard Flanagan believe such signage has a bright, if virtual, future on the information highway.
Last month, the two men started BizOpNet, an Internet bulletin board they say will rival two formidable real estate advertising behemoths: the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Inc.’s Multiple Listing Service and Gannett Rochester Newspapers’ real estate classifieds.
Unlike often information-poor newspaper classifieds designed to tease readers into calling agents, BizOpNet postings are supposed to be formatted like MLS listings with taxes, square footage and other pertinent details included, Keefer says.
The Realtors association itself is soon to offer a similar service called Homestead Net. But Keefer believes the free- to-users BizOpNet will far outgun the Realtors’ pay-for-view effort.
Meanwhile, he adds, the bulletin board’s rates to advertisers significantly undercut those of competitors like newspapers and classified-ad freebies.
Brokers can buy a $10-per-agent monthly BizOpNet contract with no limit on the number of ads or on space per ad, he says. Non-brokers pay $90 for a three- month listing.
Citing some 100,000 net surfers on-line locally, Keefer claims exposure for BizOpNet ads is comparable to that of the 150,000-circulation Democrat and Chronicle.
BizOpNet ads also go out on Realty Net, a New Jersey-based online real estate service with space on America Online and Prodigy, he says.
So far, 300 to 400 subscribers have signed up to download free software that browsers need to get the full BizOpNet experience.
By May, the real estate bulletin board likely will have its own World Wide Web page.
Then, Keefer says: “Watch out.”


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