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Their humor and advice bring added value to newspaper-classified sections

It was in August 2000 when a dynamic duo, known as The Classified Guys, burst onto the classified scene. Going by the nicknames "Cash" and "Carry", these guys have a knack for uncovering the deals that most others miss. Their one-of-a-kind classified enthusiasm led them to write a syndicated column called what else but, The Classified Guys.

Their self-syndicated feature came on the heels of the successful 1999 release of their book, 50% OFF! How to Find Great Deals." The goal of the brothers, Duane "Cash" Holze and Todd "Carry" Holze was to provide newspapers with a solution to drive classified readership - particularly younger readers.

Their feature grew quickly and in January 2002 they teamed up with Universal Press Syndicate for assistance in sales and distribution. Today, an estimated 10 million readers throughout the United States and Canada enjoy their weekly column.

In March of this year, "The Guys", as they are commonly called, broke away from Universal Press Syndicate to launch The Classified Guys Syndication Company, a syndicate tailored to newspaper-classified sections.

In May, Cash and Carry spent some time with David Williams of MacDonald Advertising Services and explained their recent decision, detailed their latest product- The Ultimate Car Selling Kit - and gave us a preview of what's in store for the future.

Q: You published a book in 1999, self syndicated your feature in 2000, teamed up with Universal Press Syndicate in 2002 and now left UPS to launch your own syndication company. What led to your decision to leave Universal?

Carry: When you say it like that, it sounds like we've been busy. You know, Universal Press Syndicate is a quality company for editorial or cartoon content. And we were proud to be a part of their creator family. But to be honest, we found that we know the classified industry better. It's a different animal than the news section and needs different kinds of features and promotions.

Cash: Our goal was to start a company that makes the classified manager's job easier. When we teamed up with Universal, we thought we'd have time to develop more features. But we found that we had less day-to-day contact with those in the classified industry. After two years, we knew it was time to launch a syndicate that offered better features, better customer service and more options for newspaper classifieds.

Carry: Now with our Syndication Company launched this past March, we can take an idea, get it through development and get feedback from classified managers - all in less than three months.

Cash: We often get phone calls from CAM's who want to bounce ideas around, even if they are not using our feature. And we encourage them to contact us.

Q: Tell me about your new product, The Ultimate Car Selling Kit. How does it fit with your goal of helping newspapers?

Carry: This is a great product. We are so proud of this kit. It includes everything a reader needs to sell their car - to the first buyer. We've spent years gathering information for the book "Getting Top Dollar" included in the kit.

Cash: Newspapers have used incentives to drive their readership for years. But their promotions are typically short lived. The downfall is that short-term incentives don't teach readers how to get results with their classified ad, a key to driving readership.

Carry: When a reader places an ad, it's up to them to sell the car. Some of these people barely know how to drive, let alone sell a vehicle. So when their 1992 Subaru is still in the driveway two weeks later, they blame the newspaper. But if that paper informed the reader on how to prep the car for sale, advertise it right and close the deal, the reader would have better success. And so would the newspaper.

Cash: I have to say the best part of putting this kit together was developing Readers' Favorite Car Comedy, a bonus book we included in the kit. We sifted through the archives and pulled out some of the best anecdotes sent to us over the years. Some have never even been published in our feature.

Q: You don't come across two brothers who are classified advocates everyday. How did you gets get started in classified advertising?

Cash: Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. We were born with the classified section in our hands. I don't think a week goes buy where we don't browse the section looking for deals. Whether it's a boat, car, scuba gear, whatever - we enjoy buying things to have fun and sell them later to try something new.

Carry: I once bought a motorcycle, drove it around for the day and sold it the next morning when someone offered me a good deal. I found the model up in the classifieds a week later and bought it.

Cash: Believe it or not, it's about more than just having fun. The classifieds are a powerful savings. To date, we've never lost money on any car, motorcycle or boat. When you know how to buy that car correctly, you can drive it for a few years and sell it for the same price you paid, if not more.

Carry: It's so true. The average person will own something like 15 cars in the course of their lifetime. If you paid the average new cost of $24,000 every time you bought a car, it would add up to the cost of a house. Imagine the savings when you can buy the same car at a great price and sell it years later without a loss.

Q: So you've written your column for four years now. Do you ever run out of material?. How do you keep it fresh?

Cash: Just like lettuce, we try to keep it crisp. This year we streamlined the column topics down to eight including Automotive, Employment, Real Estate and Business Services. Over the years, we found readers responded best to these topics.

Carry: We also redesigned the feature to a Q&A format because readers were constantly writing to us with questions. Some are quite funny, like the guy who had a swearing parrot and needed to give him away before he moved. He wanted to know how to teach him some manners.

Cash: My favorite was the woman who left us a voicemail with a very important question. It seemed her boyfriend proposed to her with a cubic zirconium ring he bought through the classifieds. She called to ask us if it was OK to say "yes".

Q: Sounds like you guys are having a fun time. Tell me what's next for you two, any new features on the horizon?

Carry: We're currently working on several features and services to make classifieds better around the country. Early next year we'll be releasing The Ultimate Garage Sale Kit. Much like the Car Selling Kit, this one goes steps beyond anything on the market today.

Cash: We've had such a response to recent yard sale columns that were trying to include a section on proper yard sale etiquette. Or as we like to call it, "Stupid things people shouldn't do!"

For a free media kit on the Ultimate Car Selling Kit or The Classified Guys' other features, contact Duane or Todd at 888-712-7070 or request information online at ClassifiedGuys.com.

Q&A With
The Classified Guys

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