Los Angeles, CA -April 28, 2010- In the search for the “Treasure in Tucson,” editorial representatives of free community papers from around the country met in Tucson, Arizona, from April 22 to 24 for the annual AFCP (Association of Free Community Papers) conference, an organization that includes more than 3,000 free community publications reaching more than 45 million readers in the United States.

The free community papers’ combined circulation is greater than all the newspapers published in the United States, but they are not impervious to the many economic challenges, emerging technology, and changing customs that affect their future and traditional business models in a hostile economic environment. However, the organization’s entrepreneurs and employees are driven by their optimism to work in synergy with the community and assure the success of many other small businesses that rely on the advertisement in these community publications to move forward with their business. In order to build optimism in the midst of a broken economy, this year’s guest speaker was writer and motivator Dan Clarke, author of the best-selling series called “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” who delivered a speech titled “Chicken Soup for the Free Paper Industry,” that was dedicated particularly to those who work hard day to day for free publications.

Martha de la Torre, El Clasificado’s Publisher and CEO, praised the Leadership Institute, the organization’s continuous training initiative, and AFCP’s effort to train leaders with the support and guidance of experts. “We like to send our employees to be part of this excellent conference where they can take part in workshops and seminars, find out what other organizations are doing successfully, and return with new skills to share with the rest of the team. It is an event that provides a valuable experience at an economic price adjusted to the budgets and challenges the current crisis has set for the industry,” she explains.

During the 2010 conference program, El Clasificado’s employees had access to training sessions with employees from other companies that face similar challenges and received valuable information such as “How to succeed in a tight economy,” “Advertising in the 21st century,” “Promoting and prospecting through social media,” and other leadership, sales, tools, and motivation seminars presented by experts from the Leadership Institute. While energizing, attendees were motivated to develop leadership skills in an industry that works shoulder to shoulder with communities throughout the country to inform and provide advertising services that are one of the most important tools for small businesses and economic exchange. Gabriela Martin del Campo, who was nominated by the AFCP’s Leadership Institute as a “Rising Star,” explained the importance of the knowledge gained at these conferences as a way to prepare future generations to assume the new emerging roles. “I am proud to belong to the ‘Rising Stars,’ this privilege inspires me to move forward not only as part of El Clasificado’s success but promoting leadership within the industry as well,” says the young Director of Strategic Operations at El Clasificado.

El Clasificado has been awarded First Place by the AFCP for “Best Presentation of Classified Advertising on the Internet” for the second consecutive time, which exemplifies its leadership role not only in print, but digital media as well. “We make an effort to provide our readers with a web page that is easy to browse and allows users to quickly find the product or service they seek through well-structured categories not only at a local level, but throughout the country and major cities in Latin America. Our visitors can choose from more than 55 cities and over 300 categories in a webpage that is user-friendly,” assures Martha de la Torre, founder of El Clasificado.

The awards obtained by El Clasificado in this year’s conference include Second Place for “Best Agency Ad (Color),” Second Place for “Best Sales Presentation” thanks to its latest digital product, Paco’s List, which allows small business owners to create their own micro-site listed in a Spanish-language directory in order to generate better Google and other search engine results and have first-page placement at a minimal fee. In addition, El Clasificado’s Community Services were awarded Third Place for their illustrative work.

AlBorde.com, a multiplatform company and part of El Clasificado’s network of media products, was awarded First Place for “Best Original Artwork,” a sixth time and for the fifth consecutive year as a result of a design created to promote the “Al Borde Día de los Muertos Arts and Music Festival,” a yearly cultural and musical event that takes place in November. Al Borde’s outstanding editorial content and graphic design was also awarded Second Place for “Best Internet Home Page.”

In total, El Clasificado received six awards at the 2010 AFCP Conference. These awards, achieved at an event in which more than 138 companies with 2,000 nominations in about 60 categories participated in, represent the company’s commitment to quality through print and digital media as well as live events for almost 22 years serving the Hispanic community with editorial content and marketing services that are valuable for both the readers and advertisers.

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