Monday, July 16, 2007

Global Classified Ads - Kijiji

eBay recently took the final step with their Kijiji classified advertising brand of launching it in the USA. There has been quite a lot of commentary, most of it fails to point out what matters about Kijiji. eBay also holds a small stake in Craigslist, which also has sites around the world, but there is one very significant difference that no-one seems to have commented on:

Go to http://rome.craigslist.org - there are a handful of entries, but the most important thing is that the site is still in English. Check out http://paris.craigslist.org - same thing.

Now try http://roma.kijiji.it and http://paris.kijiji.fr - notice the difference? Its localized and there are a decent number of items listed. Now see how many times you can figure out http://[city].kijiji.[country] (remember to use the local name) and see just how many cities and languages there are. Remember to try http://shanghai.kijiji.cn too... There are also a few countries where eBay bought a local brand - http://www.gumtree.com for the UK, and http://www.loquo.com for Spain.

So its clear that eBay has spent the last few years building up a global localized classified advertising business that has wide coverage and a lot of listings. They have had English-speaking Canada for a while (they also have French Canadian), so adding the USA must have been a small amount of extra work and cost, and there was a well crafted and debugged product ready to roll.

It may take a while to catch on in the USA, but its not likely to go away. Its free for the users, and can generate revenue by using services like banner ads and Google Adsense to monetize the page views. Kijiji is already doing quite nicely in my opinion....

[Disclosure: I used to work for eBay, I know some of the people who created Kijiji, but I have had nothing to do with Kijiji since it launched in 2005, and this is all public information]

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