It’s been about a year since I unveiled my georeferenced online classified site, BuyMyStuff.com.
It’s funny. The first thing people always say to me when I explain the site is, “Looks nice, but doesn’t Craigslist already own that space?”
Despite what some may think, I did perform a bit of research on my competition prior to launch – although not a whole lot :)
What I found was actually quite interesting. Although Craigslist dominates online classifieds in the United States, a site called Kijiji has most of the Canadian market.
Since then, I’ve learned that the international classifieds site market is extremely fragmented. It’s difficult to get exact numbers, but using Google and Compete, you can get a rough idea of market leaders.
For example, here’s the top classifieds sites in Australia: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/tradingpost.com.au+gumtree.com.au+ozfreeonline.com/
After looking at several major countries, I’ve come to believe that the current world leader is probably EBay Classifieds.
“Ebay Classifieds,” you say. “But I’ve never even heard of them!”
Actually, you probably have. Because of their mass number of acquisitions and (in my opinion) a horrible branding decision, their sites have different names and different URLs everywhere.
So they’re known as EBay Classifieds, Gumtree, Kijiji, Slando, Baixing, Dba, Quikr, Marktplaats, and possibly others. The distribution of names is probably based on their acquisitions, but if you put them all on a world map, they look extremely random, especially in Europe.
I think this is a huge strategic mistake on their part. I prefer to take the Facebook route, having one brand name, and one URL world-wide. Whether you’re in Canada, India, or Indonesia, it’s still called BuyMyStuff.com.
As far as multi-language goes, I plan to follow Facebook’s lead and use moderated, user-contributed translations when the time comes.
Furthermore, I’m not competing directly with the entire “online classifieds” space. BuyMyStuff is focused on selling physical, used goods – furniture, electronics, kitchenware, collectibles, video games, etc. – and doesn’t bother with categories like real estate or jobs.
Only time will tell how this strategy works. So far the growth has been steady and encouraging. I clearly don’t have EBay’s marketing budget, but I think people appreciate the single brand, and Google-like simplicity of the interface – especially compared to the busy, dizzying home pages of some of the other sites.
I’m curious to know what you think. Please leave a comment or contact me by email and let me know!