By Pilar Montes
HAVANA TIMES — Over the last decade, classified ads have been the pioneers in the rebirth of publicity in Cuba.
The increasing number of websites dedicated to classifieds or “Lists” of offers and demands in dozens of service and product categories is advertising’s most popular appearance.
For now we’re going to have a look at the most popular sites, describing each one of them and their establishment, in the cases where dates are given, objectives and other details.
“Revolico” organisers accept this synonym for chaos, however, they maintain that it is indeed an organised initiative. They embarked on this project in December 2007.
Although the address is the one that appears in the heading, the site cannot be directly accessed from within Cuba because it has been blacklisted as a “not trusted” site.
As a result, many alternative ways of accessing Revolico have circulated. Its organisers write up a weekly update and they suggest that users follow them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/revolico and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/revolico
This is a new service which has been lauched from the founders of Revolico. It is still in its beta phase, but we are all trying it out. Essentially, it is your own address to access and surf Revolico, which nobody but you will know, which means that nobody will be ably to block it or redirect it to another webpage. It is your own private, secret access.
You can sign up to receive your private address by following this link http://revolico.com/mi or by sending us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying that you want to take part. The time it takes for us to process your request varies but we will always try our best to respond within 24 hours. We will send you a message with your private information so that you can surf tu Revolico. If you have any problems at this time or in the future accessing the website with your private address, please write us an email to the same email address, stating what your problem is. The address we provide is private; if it becomes public, it will most likely cease to function.
Those who manage Revolico.com say that they aimed to create a space where people could advertise almost anything in the most organised and affordable way. Email mailing lists were created initially to satisfy the need to find or offer hardware and other I.T. products, necessary for their work.
An active and cooperative community was formed and naturally evolved, which works as a single organism to protect both individual and collective interests alike. This has worked, they claim, without statutes nor stipulated rules because they believe that everybody knows what they can and can’t do.
Managed categories in mailing lists do not only include I.T. products, but also electrical appliances, apartments, jobs, repair services, construction, buying and selling cars, clothes, beauty products and many more.
However, like children, they believe that the original framework has become too small for them and they are moving the community to a new platform, in the most transparent manner.
Last but not least, Revolico defines itself as a small team of professionals who are just trying to make the life of “revoliqueros” (Revolico users) more simple and it is distributed between Cuba and Spain.
Cubísima states that it is a private website created to facilitate the encounter and help of Cubans. It belongs to the Cubísima.com AC company (in association with a group of freelance Cuban workers), living in Zurich, Switzerland. Its server is hosted in Montreal, Canada.
Cubísima is made up of a team of professionals and experts from different fields, including programmers, designers, economists and lawyers, and even public relations.
Its administrators highlight the fact that this project arose from the idea of a Swiss citizen and a group of young Cubans, with the objective of helping the website’s users to switch their apartments. It grew and grew to then include a wide range of services, their priority being to facilitate the search for and publication of classified ads for free.
They also offer paid services such as certificates for houses on sale or for exchange, web design and programming, commercial publicity to promote private businesses, to name but a few.
Cubísima has not published their start date, but it most likely predates Revolico.com. Under the heading “Who we are?” they warn users not to violate any law held by the Cuban state and one of its main objectives is to guarantee the quality of information on the website, urging their users to comply wih the website’s detailed “Terms and Conditions of Use”.
However, this website is one of the few that you can find which reveals the location of its offices: one on Ave.84 No.712 between 7th and 3rd in Playa, another in Marianao, Ave.51 No.11207 between 112 and 114 and in Vedado, on Ave. 23, between E and F. Mail email@example.com
This website claims to be the leader in classified ads in Cuba, even though it is less well-known and used than Revolico and even Cubísima.
It says it was createdin order to respond to a new set of needs which arose from the period when the Cuban economic model was updated, namely: strengthening and boosting private enterprise, the legalisation of trading apartments and trading cars.
The wording of why this website was created reveals that it was created by or authorised by the Cuban government. Accordingly, it adds that Porlalivre was created as a public and formal space which rejects current tendencies to virtualise the black market and tolerance towards non-authorised activities in the country.
If its profile is as wide as it states, Porlalivre could beat the rest of its kind and also because it provides these services in every province, thereby giving users the opportunity to consult adverts from across the country.
It does however have the special feature of advertising events and parties, competitions and call for exams and even a Lost and Found section.
This website advertises itself as the one with the most free classified ads, and the most popular, in the Spanish speaking world. On 20th August, it had over half a million adverts.
Categories include business contacts, trade, rentals and much more.
It has users in 20 different countries.
Cuba ComprayVenta. org
This website advertises free classifieds in Spain, trading second-hand goods. The copyright dates from 2008-2009.
On the day I checked, the website had 19,272 classified ads in Spain and had users from Spain’s main regions and cities, as well as in Latin America.
A website which states it has classified ads of second hand and used goods, jobs, services and trading ads in Cuba.
You can generally search, publish adverts and classifieds in Cuba; including, amongst other pieces of furniture, flats (apartments), mobile phones, consoles, clothers, computers, electrical appliances, cars, services and jobs.
The contact given: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahora.cu/classifieds/list of ads
This website is a branch off of Ahora.cu which provides news about Cuba. It advertises classifieds relating to the trading of apartments, cars, exhanges, general trading of items, jobs, apartment rents and car parts and accessories.
This is quite probably the Benjamin of classified websites, with a copyright from 2015. It is used in 48 countries spanning five continents. It is the first one I’ve seen that offers courses and long-distance learning, postgraduate opportunities.
Cuban classified ad website. It includes the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa, La Habana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Las Villas, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Isla de la Juventud. Categories of classified items are similar to those aforementioned. Its copyright is from 2009-2015 and it counts on users from 50 different countries in eight of the world’s regions.
This is a must-see website for any habanero or visitor looking for somewhere to eat, drink or enjoy a place or for a snack. Havana Times readers will enjoy this website, which not only give us a pretty comprehensive list of all the paladares (private restaurants), traditional restaurants, cafes and bars in the capital, but it also gives us access to an evaluation or ranking which the website gives to each of these establishments, along with recipes and accounts of food critics.
In another article, we’ll tell you a little bit about the opening of publicity options in Cuban television and radio.