Archive for the ‘Classifieds’ Category

Kijiji Becomes ‘eBay Classifieds’

March 30, 2010

Having stalled in the US, eBay renames and rebrands Kijiji as “eBay Classifieds“:

Arguably eBay should have done this from the start but I suppose the thought was that the company needed an entirely new brand. Outside the US eBay operates multiple classifieds sites, some of which it acquired. Kijiji launched in the US in July 2007, sewing the seeds of discord with Craigslist that turned into litigation.

The new eBay Classifieds is “family friendly” (read: no Craigslist escorts and “casual encounters”) and has a “trusted brand.” One question is whether that brand will renew the site’s momentum.

Advertisements

Survey: Local NP Sites ‘Most Trusted’

February 26, 2010

Newspaper sites are valuable and credible goddamit! A November 2009 survey among 3,050 US adults, sponsored by the Newspaper Assn of America (fielded by comScore), found the following:

Local newspaper Web sites ranked first among all sources for trustworthiness, credibility and being the most informative place to find local content of all types – including news, information, entertainment, sports and classified advertising. When respondents were asked what sources were most trustworthy or reliable, local newspaper Web sites bested local television sites by twelve percentage points for local information (34 percent vs. 22 percent), by six points for local sports (30 percent vs. 24 percent), by 10 points for local entertainment (30 percent vs. 20 percent) and by 29 points for local classifieds (42 percent vs. 13 percent).

Let’s look at some of the data from the associated report, Site Matters: The Value of Local Newspaper Web Sites, which asked consumers a range of questions about their sources for local information and how trustworthy and credible they perceived those sources to be . . .

Noticeably absent from the list above are yellow pages directories, search engines and city guides and other types of local sites such as Yelp — although they might fall into “other type of Web site” perhaps.

These are not all the findings but what they assert is the following:

  • People care about local information
  • Newspaper websites are the go-to sources for local news and other content
  • Newspaper websites are more trusted and credible for local information
  • Newspaper sites make the ads that appear on them more effective (for 40% of consumer-respondents)

These data echo a 2008 OPA study about newspaper and other local content sites, whose findings are somewhat more varied but generally consistent.

There’s no question that people value local content and newspaper sites are well regarded. Yet here’s TMP-comScore data (mirrored by other studies) that show something different in response to a slightly different question:

Oodle Makes Classifieds More Social, Zillow Grows

January 6, 2010

Oodle should probably be on someone’s acquisition short list. The site is the largest independent “horizontal” player after Craigslist in the classifieds space. The company has deals with Facebook, MySpace, AOL and many other large Internet brands.

Today the company announced deeper integration of Twitter and Facebook as distribution tools. According to CEO Craig Donato’s blog post:

When you post a listing through Oodle, they not only appear in over 200 Oodle powered marketplaces (including Oodle.com and Facebook Marketplace) – they are published in your social streams on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter giving your friends and followers the scoop on what you’re selling or what you’re looking for.

As users “connect” with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, your identity on Oodle also evolves. Your public identity on these social networks becomes tied to your listings. People get to see the person behind the listings before choosing to meet them, providing a cleaner-well-lit environment to make a handshake.

This latter statement, about getting to “see the person behind the listings” is a point that Craig Donato has been making for some time.

I would upload a screenshot, but WordPress doesn’t seem to be letting me right now. Here’s my post on Facebook Marketplace (powered by Oodle).

Meanwhile Zillow announced some growth milestones amid the uncertainty of 2009:

  • 37 percent year-over-year growth in page views in 2009.
  • 3.9 million for-sale, rental and Make Me Move listings are posted on Zillow today, up 43 percent year-over-year, as the result of more listings feed partnerships with brokerages and Multiple Listings Services.
  • In December 2009 Zillow launched Rental Listings and Search, enabling anyone to post a home for rent on Zillow, and giving home shoppers the option to search both homes for sale and homes for rent. Nearly one million of Zillow’s monthly visitors are exclusively renters, with countless others searching both types of homes simultaneously.
  • The Zillow iPhone App has been downloaded more than 870,000 times since its launch in April 2009, quickly making it the most popular real estate app on the iPhone. Over 2 million homes are viewed on the app each month. Additionally, O’Reilly Media named the Zillow iPhone App “Best App for Real Estate” and a “top pick.”
  • Consumers submitted 550,000 loan requests on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace in 2009. Of those requests, 46 percent, or 253,300 were for refinance loans as mortgage rates reached record lows in 2009. Lenders responded with more than 10 million custom loan quotes during this same period. To date, more than 7,000 lender ratings and reviews have been submitted by borrowers.
  • 171 U.S. newspapers began using Zillow’s search and listings technology to power their real estate Web sites in 2009, including The Tampa TribuneSeattle Post-Intelligencer and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Hitwise Top Sites and Search Terms

December 16, 2009

Here are Hitwise’s top sites and search terms for the year, with a comparison to 2008. Facebook gains on both counts, reflecting the rise of social media and Facebook in particular.

Another striking thing is the strength of Craigslist. Finally look at how Yahoo! mail outranks Yahoo! itself in terms of search queries (navigation).

The pattern revealed above is: People start on Google and then navigate to Facebook.

What will next year’s list look like? Will Twitter be there? Will Facebook still be as strong? I predict that eBay will be entirely gone from the queries and sites list.

eBay-CL: Smoking Gun?

December 10, 2009

I’ve long said that eBay’s presence on the Craiglist (CL) board, given the auction giant’s ownership of Kijiji was a breach of fiduciary duty in every sense — ethical and legal.

Indeed, eBay’s motivation to buy the stake may have been two-fold: buy CL or if not possible then “go to school” and use inside information to better compete with CL both in and out of the US market. As I said in mid 2007, having a seat on the board of a company you’re directly competing with would seem to be a significant violation of eBay’s fiduciary obligations to Craigslist (even if the board member had nothing to do with Kijiji, etc.). 

The latter is consistent with what Bloomberg appears to be reporting:

An EBay Inc. lawyer said confidential information the online-auction company gleaned from its part ownership of Craigslist Inc. was used to help start up a competing classified-advertising Web site.

Brian Levey, an EBay vice president and one of its in-house lawyers, said today that EBay received the information because of its minority stake in Craigslist and used it to develop the rival Kijiji site in 2007. Levey testified in a trial over EBay’s claims that Craigslist unfairly devalued EBay’s 28 percent stake in the company.

CL may have acted improperly in diluting eBay’s ownership interest but eBay pretty clearly has “unclean hands,” which will compromise their ultimate position in the litigation.

Craisglist v. eBay: What’s at Stake?

December 7, 2009

The Craigslist vs. eBay trial going on over the alleged dilution of eBay’s ownership interest in the site is happening this week. There’s a provocative BusinessWeek article that spins out various scenarios and potential outcomes:

  • Craigslist wins, nothing changes
  • eBay wins and 1) forces Craigslist to charge money for listings across categories making eBay’s Kijiji, eBay itself and other classifieds purveyors more competitive with CL and/or 2) paving the way for an eventual acquisition by eBay

Here’s the most provocative nugget of the piece:

From the time eBay purchased a 28.4% stake in 2004, the larger company has considered fuller ownership, court documents indicate. The idea was “to take out the free player,” says Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Here’s what I wrote in July, 2007 when eBay’s Kijiji entered the US market:

Having a board seat on a company you’re directly competing with would seem to be a direct violation of eBay’s fiduciary obligations to Craigslist. In one sense the ultimate expression of Kijiji’s success would be to take Craigslist’s business — which by the way I don’t think it will be able to do. Google Base didn’t kill Craigslist or eBay, Kijiji won’t kill Craigslist.

My belief is that eBay bought a stake in Craigslist so it could “go to school” on the site. From the beginning I think eBay’s motives were to secure an acquisition or to glean enough “learnings” so that it could more effectively compete with CL. eBay, a “Web 1.0 company,” is under pressure to find new sources of growth, which are not coming from its core business; PayPal is one of those potential areas as an aside.

I was never a securities lawyer and so I don’t know the nuances of the law here. It may be that CL acted improperly and in violation of eBay’s rights as a director and part owner of CL in diluting the auction site’s interest. However there are some major “unclean hands” on eBay’s part. I suspect we’ll see some sort of settlement before the trial concludes. But maybe not . . . in which case there could be appeals, etc.

But unlike the BusinessWeek piece suggests I don’t think we’re going to see some major change in the competitive landscape or pricing of online classifieds regardless of the outcome.

Google’s New (Local) Comparison Ads

October 30, 2009

Google tried a mortgage marketplace in the UK last year as a test drive for a range of things (Merchant Search). The theory at the time was that Google was trying to develop a separate marketplace for SMB advertisers. It then introduced (only in two markets so far) Local Listing Ads for SMBs (using call tracking with Google Voice). And now it’s launching AdWords Comparison Ads, starting with mortgages.

This is very interesting on several levels and it may appeal to both large and small advertisers. According to the Google AdWords Blog:

Comparison Ads is part of our continuing effort to make ads more relevant and useful to our users and to help you, our advertisers, reach the people who are most interested in your products and services.

AdWords uses a host of targeting and relevancy signals to determine the best ads for each query. However, sometimes a user’s query doesn’t provide enough information for us to confidently predict what they want. Take, for example, users who search for “mortgage.” Do they want a new home loan or a refinance? Do they want a fixed rate or an adjustable rate loan? Comparison Ads improves the ad experience on Google.com by letting users specify exactly what they are looking for and helping them quickly compare relevant offers side by side.

With Comparison Ads, you can also target your offers at a more granular level, leading to more valuable, qualified leads. To see how it works, let’s use our mortgage example. Users searching for “mortgage” on Google.com may see a promotion from Comparison Ads prompting them to select the type of loan they are looking for and to compare various rates.

So a search for “mortgage” triggers the ad at the top of search results. Users then click into a marketplace or screen of side-by-side offers, in this case mortgage rates and lenders:

Picture 17

Picture 18

You fill out the fields in the left column and the data adjust according to the values (the lenders are locally relevant). If you click on one of the buttons to “request a quote” you see this form:

Picture 19

You plug in your information and, viola, you receive this confirmation:

Picture 20

Danny Sullivan has an explanation of how the lead delivery works:

Ads are sold on a cost-per-lead basis. When someone clicks to receive a quote, the advertiser is forwarded the information and billed. The advertiser also receives no personal information about the person. In fact, they don’t even get the person’s real phone number. Google provides a temporary bridging number that connects the advertiser to the customer. After that, it’s up to the customer to provide their own “real” number if they want follow-up, Fox said.

Indeed, the model is cost-per-action or cost-per-lead. Google has had CPA ads for some time but these ads are slightly different in that they’re delivering one-to-one leads. Certainly I can contact multiple lenders but Google isn’t selling leads to multiple lenders as some CPA marketplaces do. And the bids/prices that sellers will pay will be significantly more than what they’d pay for a click. 

As mentioned this begins with mortgages but will grow and extend to other verticals and segments. Think ServiceMagic advertisers, auto dealers and so on. The lead-gen businesses based verticals out there might have reason for concern. 

What do you think? How do you think this will play out and what categories do you think Google will move into?

Is a Newspaper Turnaround Afoot?

August 10, 2009

There were a number of separate items about newspapers from the past few days. First, on the bad news front, comes a kind of early eulogy for print newspapers in Philadelphia, the first “big city” in the US that may not have a daily (stay tuned).

On a more upbeat note, the Seattle Times is back in the black and apparently growing after the demise of the print edition of the Seattle PI, although that website appears to be holding its own as well. According to the NY Times:

But less than five months later, a nearly forgotten word has crept back into Times executives’ vocabulary: profit. “On a month-to-month basis, we are starting to operate in the black,” Mr. Blethen, who is also chief executive of The Seattle Times Company, said in an interview last week.

How much black ink and by what measure, the privately held company will not say, and amid a sharp advertising downturn, no one denies that its situation remains precarious. But The Times has improved its prospects by picking up most P-I subscribers and managing to keep them so far. It says its daily circulation rose more than 30 percent, to more than 260,000 in June, from about 200,000.

Oddly enough, what remains of The P-I is also faring better than expected. The Hearst Corporation kept the paper’s Web site alive as a news operation with a small staff, heavily reliant on more than 200 unpaid bloggers who write on things as diverse as their neighborhoods, cooking and marathon running.

Last week News Corp. announced a $203 million loss and a move toward requiring users to pay for all content online, the Financial Times is toying with several pay models but the centerpiece appears to be a pay per article system:

FT.com currently offers three tiers of access to its digital content. For users who register an amount of personal information, such as their email address, 10 articles a month are accessible free of charge. There are about 1.4 million registered users of FT.com for this limited access.

An online subscription costs £150 a year, or £199 for a premium-level service that includes added content such as the Lex column . . .

“We are looking at pay per view and we do want to offer users the broadest range of options for accessing FT content on the website,” said the FT.com managing director, Rob Grimshaw. “We will progress with pay-per-view sometime over the next 12 months” . . .

However, speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Grimshaw said that it was of paramount importance to have a simple, easy payment system as had been successfully introduced by Amazon, with its “one-click” service, and iTunes.

In addition, last week, Borrell Associates said that it foresaw a modest recovery in newspaper ad revenues:

Picture 69

Despite their loss of favor among techies, newspapers remain a highly trusted advertising medium among most consumers (per Nielsen, 4/09)

Picture 70

Finally, here are some new metrics from the NAA (based on data collected by MORI research and Nielsen):

  • Newspaper Readers Seek Out Advertising Content: Nearly six in 10 adults (59 percent) identify newspapers as the medium they use to help plan shopping or make purchase decisions.
  • Newspaper Readers are Involved: 41 percent of U.S. adults say newspapers are the medium used most to check out ads – more than radio TV, Internet, magazines and catalogs combined.
  • Newspaper Readers Take Action: 82 percent of U.S. adults took some action as a result of a print newspaper ad in the past 30 days: 61 percent clipped a coupon, 50 percent bought something advertised and 52 percent visited a store.
  • Newspaper Readers Value Insert Advertising: 73 percent of adults regularly or occasionally read newspaper inserts, and 82 percent have been spurred to action by a newspaper insert in the past month.

GM-eBay: Buy Online, Pick Up at Dealer

August 10, 2009

eBay Motors is expanding to include new cars from GM in a trial to start in California tomorrow:

The trial is part of Detroit-based GM’s turnaround plan, making more official a practice some of its dealers had already participated in on their own. It expands an existing partnership covering GM certified used vehicles sold through eBay . . .

Starting Tuesday, eBay visitors will be able to visit Web pages like gm.ebay.com and chevy.ebay.com, where they can browse new 2008 and 2009 vehicles, ask dealers questions and figure out financing . . .

Car buyers will be able to choose between the two standard options currently offered on eBay Motors: Negotiating a price with a dealer through the site or purchasing right then at a fixed price. Cars will be picked up at the dealerships.

Picture 6

This will likely work because cars are a commodity (literally) with only a few variables to select (sunroof, trim, etc). A test drive will probably still be required, but a buyer can do that anywhere and then buy the car online.

This scenario creates an interesting categorization challenge: Is this e-commerce or still a local purchase?

Pennysaver’s Viral Campaign Boosts Print

July 17, 2009

Pennysaver, the print classifieds and coupons publisher, produced a parody of the MC Hammer “U can’t touch this” video (“Savertime“) to promote itself. It hopes the video will go viral and it’s also part of a contest the company is doing.

In addition Pennysaver is using Twitter and Facebook — and using Twitter to build its Facebook fans:

Picture 52

You may find the video corny, but I think it’s pretty effective and will go viral for the company. Some people will clearly like it if not everyone does.

Pennysaver has a site but is largely a traditional media/ads publisher. These viral/social media efforts are creative and, to some degree, help “sexify” the print publication and invigorate/reinvigorate the brand as a whole.

Oodle Integrates Twitter Distribution (and Search)

July 9, 2009

Picture 32Oodle has integrated Twitter distribution into its network. According to the Oodle Blog:

Now you can post your listing on Oodle and automatically share it with friends on Twitter (as well as your friends on Facebook and MySpace). Listings are tweeted into your Twitter stream where your followers see it immediately.

Picture 34

Users can also follow or search for Oodle listings on Twitter.

Picture 33

I spoke with Oodle CEO Craig Donato yesterday briefly. He told me the Facebook integration was going well and that traffic was growing. He said Oodle’s social media integrations, including Twitter, are about trying to “enable conversations” around listings. Donato means lots of things by that, including sharing, investigation of listings and those associated with them, among other things.

Oodle has built a pretty massive network of publishers and “powered by” sites including Wal-Mart, Facebook, MySpace, AOL and many others.

Others are using Twitter as a distribution vehicle or traffic driver as well, including MerchantCircle (for coupons and deals), Scoot in the UK and a range of others. Soon it will be mandatory to have some kind of “Twitter strategy.”

___

But wait there’s more: Oodle’s success will likely not hurt Craigslist. I characterized the Oodle-Facebook integration as the first bona fide Craigslist challenger. But CL is the 18th most popular site on the US Internet with somewhere around 40 million uniques. It now appears to be the “Google of classifieds” in the sense that its market position seems unassailable.

Google ‘Real Estate’ Not New

July 7, 2009

Picture 24There was a great deal of coverage yesterday about Google adding new capabilities to enable users to search for properties on Google Maps. Matt McGee wrote it up on SEL and Om Malik offers something of a cautionary note on GigaOM.

This was triggered by the launch of real-estate search on Maps in Australia. While the capability may be new in OZ, real-estate search on Google Maps (or Google.com itself) and the use of Google Base to upload listings have been around for at least a couple of years — at least. See, for example:

Matt correctly points out: “What you’re seeing is an updated and more comprehensive version of the real estate listings that Google Maps has shown before, along with a new search tool.” Google’s LatLong Blog explains:

Previously, you had to specify “real estate” from the search options menu, but now we’re making it easier to find available listings

You’ll notice that we’ve made some other enhancements that will improve your real estate searching experience. We’ve added lots of markers that will show not only the ten most relevant listings with pins on the map, but also show a small circle on every other listing in that area using the search results layer, so you can get a really good idea of the distribution of properties for sale. You can click on each marker and each small circle to get more detailed information about the property.

This feature means you can now conduct a real estate search around a specific neighborhood, or see at a glance all the properties close to a BART stop. You can also pan the map to another area entirely to see listings there if you decide that another part of town is more your speed.

This is a set of refinements of existing capabilities that have been present for at least two years. Nobody should be surprised or not expect Google to try and refine its user experience. (Street View has always been a great real estate search tool and is incorporated into Trulia for that reason.)

Just as with behavior in the Travel category, people are going to rely on more than a single site for information about real estate. Google’s refinements and improvements may help move it up the list and improve its “curb appeal,” but it’s not going to dominate online real estate. And Google is never going to devote the attention to a single vertical that a dedicated site like Trulia or Zillow would. With a couple of possible exceptions Google always looks for scalable “horizontal-vertical” approaches.

Here’s Hitwise data on the traffic hierarchy in the real estate category:

Picture 25

LocalPeople an Interesting Hybrid Local Concept

July 3, 2009

Picture 25London-based social directory TrustedPlaces has teamed up with Associated Northcliffe Digital (owned by newspaper and classifieds publisher Daily Mail) to create LocalPeople. The site is an interesting hybrid; it mixes a local newspaper model with a directory site (with reviews) and social features including Twitter-like Q&A and individual profiles.

Picture 24

Picture 23

According to the press release the LocalPeople sites, which are conceived of as a network will target smaller cities and towns:

This week the first phase has gone live with the launch of the initial twenty-three local community websites in the South-West of England, these cover areas with between 10,000 and 50,000 inhabitants that typically do not have a dedicated local online proposition today. The sites are designed to encourage the local community to interact with each other, report on what’s important in their specific neighbourhood. A further twenty plus sites are due to launch in the South-West of England throughout the summer of 2009.

The social features, including Twitter-like comments stream, are front and center, making this different than a conventional local news or directory site:

Picture 26

The local news and dynamic Twitter-like/Q&A element will keep people coming back to the site throughout the day potentially — creating  much greater usage frequency than a comparable directory site. I kept suggesting that Yell buy TrustedPlaces, but now that ship has probably sailed.

For more background on LocalPeople see PaidContent.

Twitter and Retail: No Traction Yet?

June 24, 2009

Hitwise UK’s Robin Goad says that Twitter is driving lots of traffic to news sites but not (so far) to retailers:

Twitter has proven to be a fantastic source of traffic for content driven sites, and the media companies with a strong presence on the service are using it to great effect. However, with one or two exceptions (most notably Dell, which claims to generated $3m via Twitter), very few transactional websites have yet used Twitter to drive sales. During May, Google UK sent 365 times more traffic to transactional websites than Twitter.

In contrast to that bit (courtesy of Matt McGee) here’s a new site CheapTweet that seeks to aggregate and publicize retailer deals on Twitter with a Digg-like presentation:

Picture 21

Coupons, sales and deals will be a central reason for following among many consumers in the future I predict.

___

Related: ShopLocal is doing some interesting things with its retailers and Twitter (and viral promotion). Also see this Bloomberg article on B2B fees for corporate marketer-users on Twitter.

Google to Show ‘Product Ads’ (Local Inventory?)

June 20, 2009

Picture 3Google is testing a new type of “product ad” that will appear in Google.com results. Here’s an overview from the WSJ, Google Blogoscoped and SEL. As the Journal describes them:

Unlike text ads, product ads will “feature product specific information directly in the ad such as price and product image,” according to the email Google sent some advertisers inviting them to try out the ads this week. Google said that it would continue to work on the most effective format for the ads and that the ads would “complement standard text ads on Google.com” . . .

With the new ads, Google is mixing up its pricing model as well. Unlike Google’s standard search ads, where advertisers generally pay every time users click on their ads, Google will charge advertisers for product ads only when a user makes a purchase. Advertisers set the commission they are willing to pay, and Google decides which products ads to display based on the commission, how well the ad matches a query, and how often people click on the ads, among other things.

The pricing then is CPA (based on a purchase or perhaps other definition of “conversion”) and the submission process involves Google Base. In the same way that Android Market’s requirement that consumers use Google Checkout to buy paid apps, this program potentially gives new vitality to a service that has underperformed for Google: Google Base.

Google has experimented with display, video and product images in ads in Google.com search results in the past. So this isn’t as much of a departure as it might appear out of context. The CPA pricing is interesting and perhaps designed to generate more participation and enthusiasm from e-commerce sellers. (The WSJ speculates that “product ads” are partly a response to Bing and the “cashback” program.)

The question I have is will local inventory data from Krillion, NearbyNow or others be included? If so that would make the CPA billing problematic unless conversions can be defined in more than one way here. But consumers would certainly respond to the program.

As you may recall Google had “local shopping” in Maps early on, allowing users to find products in their area by filtering search results with a check box. The data then came from StepUp and ShopLocal. StepUp is now part of Intuit. The program was discontinued as far as I know. But now with more inventory data available others (e.g., TheFind and YP publishers) are offering it. Google can’t/shouldn’t be far behind.

Here’s some additional information from MediaPost.

Can a Wikipedia for Cities Succeed?

June 19, 2009

I would never have predicted the success of Wikipedia itself so I certainly won’t dismiss WikiCity a new Wiki site for 22,000 US cities and towns that formally launched yesterday. According to the press release:

WikiCity is a project designed to make communities accessible, defining each not just as a dot on a map or a collection of statistics, but as a chorus of raucous, opinionated citizens falling in love with their hometown all over again. Much like Wikipedia, WikiCity is a free wiki, and anyone can contribute. However, WikiCity is different because it is designed to promote local community, commerce, tourism, and everyday life within the towns it serves – thus welcoming content that it typically not suited for Wikipedia.

Picture 10

Given that there are two people behind this, it won’t take much revenue to make it sustainable. The real question is whether people will become as engaged with WikiCity as with Wikipedia in terms of content creation. Probably so, as people take “ownership” of their communities.

Smaller towns is probably where this will see traction first.

TheYard: Amazon Meets Craigslist

June 12, 2009

Thanks to David Mihm for pointing out The Yard, a new e-commerce/local marketplace from the Tribune Company:

Picture 10

Not much there yet, but it’s a creative move for the publisher.

Craigslist Revs Estimated to Exceed $100M

June 10, 2009

Craig and company are doing pretty well these days, according to Classified Intelligence, which projects its revenues to reach more than $100 million this year. According to a discussion in the NY Times:

That is a 23 percent jump over the revenue the firm estimated for 2008 and a huge increase since 2004, when the site was projected to bring in just $9 million. “This is a down-market for just about everyone else but Craigslist,” said Jim Townsend, editorial director of AIM Group. The firm counted the number of paid ads on the site for a month and extrapolated an annual figure. It said its projections were conservative.

In February this year, Hitwise showed Craigslist’s traffic in the US outstripping all other classifieds sites combined:

Picture 8

Also in February, comScore revealed the top gaining online categories of 2008. Classifieds was number 10:

Picture 9

Insert discussion of the loss of classifieds revenues at traditional newspapers, which has been going on for almost a decade. Craigslist remains an amazing story, far far behind the state of the art  in UX but tried and true, with a brand and critical mass (usage and inventory). As far as I know, Craigslist still has fewer than 30 employees.

Craigslist also exemplifies the notion/cliche that one often hears: when ads are truly relevant they’re cease to be ads and are simply received as “content.” We’ll that’s actually true here — in Jobs and Real Estate, where listing fees drive all the revenue at Craigslist.

Classifieds News: Oodle, Kijiji, OLX, CL

May 16, 2009

The big “news” in the classifieds space has been about Craigslist and the site coming under pressure to make changes in its erotic services ads. But there’s a bunch of other stuff going on. . .

eBay owned Kijiji (whose growth has stalled somewhat) is reportedly considering a name change to “eBay Classifieds.” (Recall that eBay owns a significant minority stake in Craigslist and the two companies are in litigation. I’m unaware of its status.) In the meantime, Kijiji has been busy adding features, including Twitter and Facebook integration (@KijijiUS). Not long ago the site also added a bunch of new functionality:

  • Category icons
  • Watch Ad function
  • Résumés Category
  • Swap/Trade Category
  • Foreclosure & REOs section in Housing Category
  • Enhanced Ad Reporting

New York-based classifieds purveyor, OLX, which operates in the US but has greater strength in non-US markets, raised more money $18 million over two recent rounds, for a total of roughly $29 million in VC funding to date.

Earlier this month MySpace launched classifieds in Canada, powered by Oodle:

Picture 17

Even with all the negative publicity, the primitive functionality and the competition from a number of powerful companies, Craigslist continues to dominate the segment and has arguably been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the recession. (Don’t take the traffic data comparing CL, Kijiji and OLX below as actual, but rather directional.)

Picture 18

Source: Compete (CL is the blue line)

Brownbook Intros Video in the UK

April 8, 2009

picture-18Open directory Brownbook has introduced a video offering in the UK. Here are the details:

You can now get 30 second, 1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute ads from as little as £12 a week, all professionally filmed, edited and produced, PLUS we distribute your video ad on Friday Ad, Brownbook, and over FIFTY other online video and media websites driving you up the search engine results.

At current exchange rates £12 a week is roughly $18 or just under $1000 on an annualized basis. The video creation is obviously of value but the distribution is equally important. Partner Friday-Ad  is one of the leading traditional and online classifieds publishers in the UK. 

Here’s an example ad: 

The lack of polish, in a way, of the SMBs in the advert (as one would say in the UK) is part of the appeal here.