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The Spring 2009 GM will take place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, one of the EU’s smallest and yet most wired and web-savvy members. So it makes sense that the conference theme is “Shaping the Future of Classifieds” when so much of the classified sector has been completely transformed by the impact of the internet and digital media in its broadest sense over recent years. But rather than simply describing these changes, the conference programme will feature speakers and sessions to show how publishers are embracing these new trends and technologies and turning them to their advantage.

As in Miami, the conference will run for a full 3-and-a-half days, from the Wednesday Meet-and-Greet Lunch, through three full days of sessions and networking, and finishing with the Gala Party on Saturday. The draft programme is published below and will be updated as speakers are confirmed in the next few weeks.

Registration opens on Monday 9th February for Early Birds (EUR 549 for members or EUR 1199 for non-members) until Friday 3 April when the Standard rate (EUR 699/EUR 1399) will apply.

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Wednesday 13 May

GM Tallin

Hansa Merchants’ Activity – trade your way to the top!
Welcome Reception and Dinner

Thursday 14 May

GM Tallin

Session 1
Chairperson’s Welcome and Opening
Keynote Address

The world’s biggest online auction house is now into classifieds in a big way and will kick off the Tallinn GM with an overview of the principal trends in today’s market, describing how they have “ridden the dragon” to establish dominant positions in major markets, driving both significant community value as well as market share and revenues. A great setting of scene for the sessions to come..

Jacob Aqraou – General Manager and Vice President, eBay Classifieds Group, USA
The double whammy – what the credit crunch means for classifieds

2009 opened with many commercial advertisers cutting or eliminating their budgets altogether, and a swift collapse in private party advertising. With credit hard to come by, what does the current economic crisis hold for media publishers, both in print and online channels? And what strategies can publishers adopt to weather the storm?

Larry Kilman, – Director of Communications and Public Affairs WAN, France
Session 2
Spotlight on innovation

A new session designed to showcase some of the excellent ideas that ICMA members have developed and implemented in recent months on their online products and services. Real stories from real publishers, which you can learn from, and adapt for your own market. We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A…

Ania Podkowinska – General Manager, Trader.com, Poland
Iwona Polog – Online Business Manager, Trader.com, Poland
Marc Lyne – Co-Founder, BrownBook.net, UK
Sessions 3&4

(NEW! separate sessions for publishers and sales managers)
A repeat and extension of the immensely successful sessions from recent conferences with some new, ever-more relevant areas to discuss and a re-visiting of the fundamentals to check on progress. We have re-structured this into two 60-minute sessions so that publishers can mix with different groups of participants in an informal and relaxed forum to discuss some pre-researched metrics. And we have included a parallel session focusing on sales so the sales managers don’t miss out.

The aim is to ‘get behind’ the numbers and really understand what business decisions and strategies can impact these key markers. Participants will be asked to submit in advance 9-12 easily-established business metrics (see below for full list) relating to the principal areas of their business. These will be shared with the session attendees, and then discussed in small groups, so that participants can quiz the star performers on how they have achieved their results, and in turn share their best practices with the group. A fantastic opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve always wanted to!


  • print vs online revenue
  • paid vs free-ad count
  • private vs commercial ads
  • online revenue growth
  • online-only ads
  • unique monthly visitors
  • page views
  • organic traffic from search engines
  • paid-for traffic from SEM
  • split between revenue streams
  • verticals vs horizontals revenue growth
  • print vs online staffing ratios

  • revenues per rep
  • call targets per rep
  • territory size and value per rep
  • commission/bonuses paid
  • new business
  • contract retention/renewal rate
  • staff turnover and length of service
  • salary
  • staff split between channels/print and telesales/products/services

Participation in this session is included in the registration fee, please indicate when registering that you wish to participate so that Head Office can send you the short questionnaire to complete.

Late afternoon:
PHOENIX Meeting / time to visit the exhibitors and sponsors
Medieval Grand Feast

Friday 15 May

GM Tallin

Session 1
Looking into the future

In line with the conference theme of “Shaping the Future of Classifieds”, we are delighted to present ICMA’s first ever futurologist speaker to help us all identify and understand what tomorrow’s trends mean for us and our businesses. Magnus Lindqvist will:

identify and analyse the hard-to-spot mindset shifts which underpin the “hardware changes” that affect our industry

describe how our brains process change and why it is always unexpected

demonstrate that the web is not just for the young

explain why we should decide whether we are “fast” media (attempting to compete with lightning-quick computing algorithms) or “slow” media (delivering a value that takes time to realize)

share some incisive thoughts on the trend towards hyper-locality and the opportunities that this offers to re-define our target market and engage them through one-to-one marketing

All of the above to be presented as a series of 10 key points with thought-provoking examples from relevant sectors. Magnus will inspire and provoke you into better future-thinking, not necessarily more optimistic, but more useful, enabling you to make more effective plans, become happier as a person, and providing you with valuable advice on preparing for change.

Magnus Lindqvist – Futurologist, Sweden
Session 2
Google on classifieds

Much of internet usage starts from the Google homepage, and in the company’s quest to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, they have turned their attention to the classifieds sector. Here, a Google classified specialist shares some of their thoughts on classifieds during the economic slow-down, the growing importance of the user, the role of maps, mobile and video in classifieds, and the trend towards hyperlocal products.

Russ Cohn – Industry Leader – Careers, Classifieds and Local Markets, Google, UK
Homing in on the user – the pros and cons of behaviourally-targeted advertising online

Another day, another way to tweak the advertising model to generate better response for advertisers… Or is behaviourally-targeted advertising too creepy and Big Brother, and just not relevant for classifieds? This session will debunk the myths and show delegates just what’s possible and practical from this new approach.

Kieron Matthews – Marketing Director, Internet Advertising Bureau, UK
Millennials Panel

“Millennials” are people born after 1982, i.e. 27 or younger, who have very different beliefs and expectations from previous generations as well as being more tech-savvy than we could ever dream of. These are our customers for the foreseeable future and we need to understand what drives them so that we can create desirable products and services. This moderated panel will bring together millennials from 4 different cultures and countries to discuss how they live their lives, access information, and interact with their network and world at large. Much more than just a one-sided conversation with a monosyllabic teenager, be prepared to have your eyes opened to the opportunities that they represent…

Ciler Yildiz – Vice President, Trader Media East, Turkey
Oscar Coniel – Finland
Martin Saar – Estonia
Kristen Gilden – Estonia
Laura Paterson – UK
Session 3&4

As at the Miami GM, in Tallinn we will be offering 3 workshops which will run for 90 minutes and which will be repeated twice. These interactive sessions allow 15-20 participants to work closely with an expert facilitator to guide their discussions and answer questions as they share experiences and ideas.


2009 will truly be the year of mobile with smartphones and 3G really starting to deliver on their promises and many online services, not least the social networks, starting to benefit from the increased traffic. What do classified publishers need to be aware of as they adapt and execute their mobile strategy, and what pitfalls must they work to avoid?

Pekka Ketonen – Manager, Service and Business Development, Sanoma Digital Marketplaces, Finland

“You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it” and judging by the attendance at the first Google Analytics Workshop in Miami last November, there’s a definite thirst for information out there! As well as covering the latest software developments, there will be a review of the key tracking metrics, and an analysis of several classified sites to identify areas ripe for improvement.

Tõnis Hinnosaar – Partner and Member of the Board, Altex Internet Marketing, Estonia

Just a few seconds of frustration at poor navigation or bad design can lead a user to quit your site for ever. They represent valuable potential customers for your advertisers, and you owe it to them to attend this workshop to understand the principles of good usability, and how you can increase time spent on your site by users.

Carol Tikerperi – Usability Specialist & Project Manager, Altex Internet Marketing, Estonia
Hegle Sarapuu – Interaction Designer, Trinidad Consulting, Estonia
Evening: Free time

Saturday 16 May

GM Tallin

Sessions 1-3
Publishers’ Meeting

This top-level closed meeting for senior executives only will challenge attendees with thought-provoking questions, strongly-held opinions and the open exchange of information and ideas that has come to characterise ICMA Publishers’ Meetings. Guided by Helmar Hipp, attendees will discuss how to manage the dual challenge in the current market conditions: Continuous restructuring and cost-management in print and aggressive growth and innovation in online. Effective approaches and experiences how to strip out costs, develop new products and/or services with low incremental investment will be shared. Best practice in the relevant online markets as well as methods how to successfully compete with online pure plays are important elements for every classified player´s strategy. And the results of the discussion on key questions will be documented to reflect the opinions of the delegates. A perfect opportunity to share your concepts and ideas and learn from your peers…

Helmar Hipp – Managing Director, VM Group, Austria
Sessions 1&2
Sales Managers’ Workshop

This dedicated sales session will focus on two essential aspects affecting today’s classified sales operation: up selling of online products to generate additional revenue and improve profitability, and increasing sales efficiency (“doing more with less”). Working with some of the key metrics from Thursday’s “Sharing Best Practice” session, participants will share their experiences and challenges from their online sales operations and discuss together how to increase turnover and improve margins. And because we need to make every Euro count in these straitened times, there’ll be a dedicated focus on how you can save money by working smarter.

Peter Lamb – President, Lamb Consulting, USA
Gabriela Martin del Campo – Strategic Ops Manager, El Clasificado, USA
Session 4
Business Meeting

The 2008 audit, Head Office updates, report on 2009 projects and Committee elections – come and get involved in your Association!

Evening: Sanoma Digital Gala Party