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Oct 04, 2015
Posted by Bruno

I recently had the opportunities to do a benchmark for a prospect who wanted to run a Classified Ads website. Although it has now became a popular solution for generating recurring revenue, finding the best classified script is not an easy task amongst the plethoric offer. On this article I will focus on only few solutions, all open-source (meaning you can access the source code and tweak them if you're good at PHP). You as the end user, or as a developper can have lots of different criteria than the ones I had myself to pick the right one so please read the following article with discernment. If I have the time, I may add other criteria down the road to this article.

Please keep in mind that everything is technically doable with a bit (or a lot) of PHP customization. The ads scripts features I am showcasing below are the default features of each solution that does not require any code customization.

For now, my client basically wanted the following features for his classified ads website:

  1. Homepage Gallery Ads: This will feature Premium Ads on top of the homepage on a slideshow/carousel.
  2. Top Ad:  This Paid feature will place Ads on top of each Subcategories before the rest of other Ads at the bottom.
  3. Bump Up Ad:  This paid feature will bump up ads from whatever pages to the first page of each categories and sub categories.
  4. Highlight Ad: This paid feature will make an Ad to be bold or highlighted in order to catch buyers attention.
  5. Urgent Ad: This paid feature will have an "Urgent" inscription may be in red besides an Ad on the website.
  6. Banner Ad: This will allow the Admin to feature or post unlimited Banner Ads from advertisers to anywhere on the website for more income.
  7. Google Banner Ads - This would have Google Adsense Banner Ads on the homepage and inside the Category and Subcategory pages of the website.
  8. Add URL Link: This will be an optional paid feature to allow posters like companies to add their company URL and make it visible besides their Ads.

Based on this I've analyzed the following solutions:

  DJ Classifieds (based on Joomla CMS) - OpenClassifieds - AjClassifieds - ClassiPress (based on Wordpress) -
1. Homepage Gallery Ads (no category-specific fees) Used within the “Special Ads” module – couldn’t test it as the test site is crashing when displaying the module. I'm not sure you can have a “slider” on this module.

Yes (

Can’t test it Yes (featured ads)
2. Top Ad (no category-specific fees) Yes, it’s called “First” No Can’t test it

Yes but same promotion as featured ads (FEATURED ULTIMATE PLUGIN) - no disctinction between Featured and Top Ad promotion.

3. Bump Up Ad No

Yes (

No Yes (bump ad plugin)
4. Highlight Ad (no category-specific fees) Yes, the ad will be published with a different background Yes but same promotion as featured ads Can’t test it

Yes but same promotion as featured ads FEATURED ULTIMATE PLUGIN)  - no disctinction between Featured and Highlight promotion.

5. Urgent Ad (no category-specific fees) Kind of – we can use the “Border Ad” for Urgent Ad No No No
6. Banner Ad/Google Banner Ads Yes, anywhere - default Joomla behaviour very convenient for this feature. Yes at a designated location Yes at a designated location Yes, at designated location
7. Add URL Link No custom paid field No custom paid field No custom paid field No custom paid field
8. Paid Ad - Specific price per category Yes Yes No, one price for all categories Yes

There are three main keypoints that we can get from looking at this chart:

None of the solution offers a "per category" promotion fee. Let say you have a "car" category and a "pet" category, highlighting an ad will cost the same price for a Lamborghini or for a cat ...

None of the solution offers a "paid custom field" for the ad. Let say you want to offer the visitor to post ads for free but you want to charge them for posting their website URL (it is a common feature on big classified ads website), well you can't.

AJ Classifieds demo site is not powerful enough and does not work well enough to test it thoroughly so basically this would be this first solution I'd get rid off as I can't test it as I want. The three other ones offer various pros and cons that you might want to consider depending on your objectives. Please feel free to leave me some comments if you have any input on this.

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Jun 17, 2015
Posted by Bruno

First of all thanks to Viktor which helped me a lot defining the final solution. You can find his post here.

Now his tricks works well if you have only one column that shows your articles. Now what if your category view shows 3 or 4 columns? You need to tell Joomla to have a line break when you switch to a new subcategory and that's the tricky part.

We still need to tweak the following files:

Blog view


Category view


Of course you shoud not edit directly those files but create overrides in your theme folder:

Blog view


Category View


On the following examples we'll work with the file category.php on Joomla 3.4.1. The tweak should be very similar though on Joomla 2.5 or 3.3. This tweak works only if you don't have any leading items. The following example is based on a 4 columns page.

Look for this line

</div><!-- end items-leading -->

This is the end of the leading items section and therefore the beginning of the standard articles section.

Just after 

$counter = 0;

Add the following lines:

$rowcount = 0;

$firstiteration = true;

This will be used instead of the regular $rowcount iteration.

Now comment out the line

$rowcount = (((int) $key) % (int) $this->columns) + 1;

and replace it with


After the row 

$row = $counter / $this->columns;

Add this:

$this->item = &$item;
$subcat = $this->item->category_title;
if ($subcat != $psubcat) :
$rowcount = 1;
$rowcountbeingreset = true;
endif; if ($subcat != $psubcat) :
if ($firstiteration == false){
</div><!-- end row custom -->
echo "<div style=\"width:100%\"><h2>" . $subcat . "</h2></div>";
$psubcat = $subcat;

That will basically replace the automatic row counting system and instead create Title for subcategories and line break before each title.

And that's it! Trick's done. You'll find a zip copy of this php file here if that can be of any help. Happy tweaking!

Recent comments

  • Lina

    Hello, thanks for this solution! i've been searching a lot about this. Quick question, how can i use this if my blog layout doesn't have columns ? Thanks a lot.
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