Newspaper publishers are about to confront yet another competitor for their dwindling classified advertising revenues.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is reported hoping soon to offer a preliminary version of an online classified service, code named "Fremont." That's a neighborhood in Seattle which hosts Sunday open air markets.

"We realized the classified marketplace was really starting to heat up," Garry Wiseman, a product unit manager working on the project, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The service will be free to users, generating revenue for Microsoft through ads placed next to listings, the newspaper added.

"Fremont" is expected to be a stand-alone service as well as available throughout MSN's either features such as Spaces Web logs and Messenger buddy lists.

The online classifieds project is now being tested internally at Microsoft, the report said. It also appears a live beta test is underway.

IAB says no to fast forward

The Internet Advertising Bureau is recommending that streaming video ads be no longer than 30 seconds and viewers have some control over the playback, but not the ability to skip the ads. "Giving end-users the ability to fast forward is an anomaly," said Larry Allen, a general manager of the industry trade group's broadband committee. "Advertisers draw the line (there); they insist on some kind of a 'tax' for content," he told MediaPost. The IAB said streaming ad players should, at a minimum, support on/off and volume control. About 20 members of the group have indicated they will observe the guidelines.

Hop scotching the Net for headlines

The Webcast of "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" is finding an audience. LostRemote.com reports just under 200,000 unique visitors and it was streamed about 500,000 times during the four weeks it's been available.

Domain sellers are still in business. The classifieds section of the Wall Street Journal, under "Business Opportunities," yesterday listed more than a dozen domains for sale by BigTicketDomains. StockMarket.com is priced at $10 million.