Ad Writing Tips

Frequently Asked Questions
General Advertising Questions
Free Classified Ad Questions
Payment Questions
Technical Questions

How do I place an order?

Placing an order with online is easy and convenient. There is no need to create an account first. The system will prompt you to create an account when you place your first order online.

How many lines does my ad have to be?

These special advertising packages are billed at a minimum of 3 lines or 5 lines, depending upon the classification selected.

What qualifies for these special package rates?

These special package rates apply to non-business, private individuals offering their items for sale. If you're a business, please call (877) 321-7355.

Can I abbreviate words in my ad?

Anything except the first word of your ad can be abbreviated. Please keep in mind that readers may be confused or aggravated by abbreviations. Also remember that abbreviations may make it impossible for a reader to keyword search your ad online. Our advice is to use them sparingly or not at all.

How do I cancel my advertisement?

To cancel your advertisement, call toll free any time, 1-877-321-7355. There are no refunds or credits for cancelled ads.

Can I change the text or publication dates after I've completed my order?

To make any changes after you have purchased your online advertisement, please call toll free 1-877-321-7355, any time.

What if I can't find the classification I need?

At this time, not all classifications are available for online ad placement. Please call our toll free number any time,

What if I want my ad to run for more or fewer days than what's offered?

At this time, we offer only specific advertising packages that publish a set amount of days for a flat rate. If you do not see a package that fits your needs, please call toll free, 1-877-321-7355.

I'm a contract advertiser with the Times. Can I place my ad online?

Any employment customer is welcome to utilize online ad placement. However, contract customers should be aware that any employment ads placed online will not counts towards contract fulfillment at this time.

Can I advertise in just one county?

For maximum results, our special online advertising packages publish in our complete five-county circulation area. For specific product advertising, please call toll-free, 1-877-321-7355.

Will I get a refund for canceling my ad early?

You are welcome to cancel your ad to eliminate future calls by calling 1-877-321-7355. However, our special online advertising packages are billed the same rate whether it runs one day or the full term of the order.

What are your deadlines?

Please see our complete online deadline information, which can also be found in the yellow help boxes on the right side of each page.

Am I able to see the ads I've ordered on the Web as well as those I've ordered by phone, fax or in person?

Yes. Once logged in, click on View Account Manager.

Is your site accessible 24/7?

Yes, with the exception of the last Saturday of the month between 12am-6am EST for server maintenance.

How do I enhance my ad online?

Within minutes of completing your ad, you will receive an email with instructions on how to enhance it. You may do any or all of the following:

  • Upload as many as eight photos.
  • Provide an extensive description.

What payment methods can I use?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

When will my credit card be charged?

Your credit card will be charged the amount quoted at the time you click the BUY NOW button. The charge on your credit card statement will read "Tampa Bay Times." Please be aware that the Tampa Bay Times does not call advertisers to ask for their credit card number after the original ad placement. All billing applications are completed at the time of ad placement.

Why do I have to re-enter my credit card every time I place an order on my existing account?

Even though our site is secure (we use Secure Sockets Layer Software for all credit card processing), some customers are uncomfortable with us storing their credit card information. For convenience, we store all billing information except your credit card.

I've received an error message on the payment page. Did my order go through?

Make sure that you have selected the correct expiration date. Verify that the credit card number was entered correctly. If you are using a new (or recently reissued) credit card, please be sure that you have activated the new card before entering it into the order form.

What if I forgot my password?

If you have an account, but have forgotten your password, click the "forgot password" link directly below your user name. You will be prompted for the e-mail address you gave when your account was created. Your password will be emailed to you as soon as you submit it.

If you no longer use the e-mail address you used to create your account, you can create a new account.

If you experience any trouble retrieving your password,
call 1-877-321-7355 during normal business hours. We do not have access to view customers' passwords

How does enabling cookies on my browser help keep the site secure?

Our site is secure, cookies or not. The reason we use browser cookies is to establish and maintain your unique identity over the course of one session. The cookie we place in your browser contains only an arbitrary ID number, and it expires when you log out.

Why did the site automatically log me out?

Our online site is designed to log off after 20 minutes of inactivity for security purposes.

What do I do if I get a System Error?

These errors usually occur for only a short time. Please return to our web site and try again later.

My page keeps looping back or is not updating.

If you are being looped back to the same page on the order form, or the form is not updating when you make changes, your Web browser may be caching, or storing, an old copy of the page. You can force your browser to update the page by holding down the Shift key on your keyboard and simultaneously clicking the Reload or Refresh button on your browser.

What browsers and systems do you support?

We support all browsers and operating systems.

What qualifies as a free ad?

A three-line advertisement for personal merchandise - excludes guns - (1 item per ad) placed by an individual. Sorry, businesses do not qualify for free ads. Some restrictions apply.

How do you define ‘personal merchandise’?

Your item must fall within one of these categories:

Antiques, Collectibles & Hobbies
Articles for Sale
Auto Accessories, Parts & Salvage
Baby & Kids Stuff
Boat Accessories & Parts
Cameras & Photo Equipment
Canoes & Kayaks
Computer Supplies
Electronic & Home Entertainment
Exercise Equipment
Furniture & Household Goods
Jewelry & Watches
Lawn & Garden
Machinery, Tools & Building Supplies
Medical & Handicapped Supplies
Musical Instruments
Outboard Marine Engines
RV Accessories
Sail, Surf & Skim Boards
Sporting Goods (no guns)
Swimming Pools & Spas
Utility Trailers

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How many free ads may I order?

You may place 15 free ads per month, which include renewal or new ads.

Where can I view the free ads?

These ads will appear in print on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and online for 7 days at under the appropriate classifications (ex. items for sale, outboard/marine engines, RV accessories).

When you submit your ad through our Web site you will have the opportunity to schedule the start date. Your ad will run for three days (within the span of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) beginning on that date. It will appear seven days online.

How do I place a free ad?

You may place your free ad online by going to We’re sorry; free ads are not accepted via telephone, email or fax.

Why do some categories offer free ads and others do not?

Most everyone has a few items collecting dust at home that they can offer for sale through our classifieds. These categories were chosen so most people can take advantage of the free offer, and at the same time maintain a healthy marketplace for our business advertisers.

Can I include an attention-getting graphic or bold text with my free ad?

Yes! For a minimal charge you may include an attention-getting graphic or bold text with the print version of your ad. You will be able to purchase these in Step 4 or 5 of our six-step order process.

What if I need more than three lines to describe my item?

Free ads are limited to three lines of text. If you need more than three lines of text, the cost will increase by $1.00 per line.

How much do paid Classified listings cost?

Different packages vary in price and length or run. They are very reasonably priced with some packages publishing 30 days, keeping you from having to continually renew your ad. The costs will be calculated for you before you confirm your purchase. Also, you may call our Call Center to place a paid ad or get more information about our rates toll free at

How do I renew my free ad?

You may renew your free ad by simply logging in to your ad history on the View Account Manager page and rescheduling it. This must be done online at

How do I edit or cancel my free ad?

You cannot change your free ad within the 3-day run, but you may cancel it by calling 1-877-321-7355.

Troubleshooting For Common Issues

Your business is important to us. If you are receiving an error message or having other difficulties completing our online order form, please read through the suggestions below.

  • Unsure if your order went through? Sometimes an order will be successfully submitted even if you get an error message on the last step. Please click on View Account Manager to see a list of your orders. Please verify your ad is truly not saved before attempting to place the order again
  • You’ll notice that your ad looks different on the STEP 3 - Create Your Ad then on STEP 4 - Customize & Preview Your Ad screens. This is because we format your ad to match our paper measurements on the Preview Your Ad screen so that you can see EXACTLY how your ad will appear in our paper.
  • ZIP code and state do not match. To verify that the ZIP code is correct, visit
  • Refresh the page. If a page loads only halfway or takes a very long time to load, clicking the “STOP” button at the top of your browser and then clicking “Reload” or “Refresh” often solves the problem.

If none of these suggestions solves your problem, please call toll free 1-877-321-7355 or email us at Please include as much information in your message as possible, including:

  1. What point in the ordering process is causing you trouble?
  2. If you are receiving an error message, what does it say?
  3. What items are you trying to order?

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