Classifieds are a lot more fun when they are clickable

The London Review of Books is famous for its small ads, its personals. They are witty, elusive and often double-edged. One is never quite sure whether the advertisers are completely having us on, or not.

They are just as amusing on the web, and possibly more effective: but somebody should find an interactive alternative to the Box Number system. This is just too retro. Do the missives accumulate in the “Box” for a week or so, to be forwarded some days later to the box’s owner? This is a very 19th Century modus operandi.

Although the personal ads make us laugh, it is the holiday properties that seem particularly compelling. Try clicking on the Muskokaprovence link, or the gite-french link, we did and now are sorely tempted to book next summer’s holiday on the spot. Those properties with a web site, an email address and a clickable phone number will win in the popularity stakes. The callable phone number is particularly enticing.

I suppose there is a message here for the publisher planning the next generation of personal ads. Naughty Lola, in the next decade, is going to need a web site, an email box (replacing the numbered box) and a pseudonomised Skype account.