Classifieds is another buzz word in the market today and the latest entrant, in my knowledge, is click.in. We saw some heavy advertising during the month of October for the site which has been started off by the same guys running Oneindia.com.
But has it as a category really taken off? I strongly believe that this is a pretty touch category to make a mark in. I am a regular user, both as a buyer and sometimes as a seller, of such sites and a few things come to mind:-
1.A visitor might never have loyalty towards one. From the perspective of the seller: – the more sites which he can cover the better. As a buyer research by you would be carried out on multiple sites as well, hence loyalty might not be something to strive for at all here
2.The primary distinguishing factor will be the variety and extensiveness of the listings. Rediff was pretty smart in this regard and tied up with Infomedia Yellow Pages and pretty much brought the whole directory online to its P4C platform…but the problem in that is having a huge bunch of sellers never replying, updating products, services, contact details etc because they don’t have the relevant knowledge to do so and never did so to begin with.
3.A strong search feature is another important consideration. Be it within product categories or geographically – the ability for a site to get a visitor in touch with the products he wants as fast as possible is necessary
4.I believe visibility is essential and hence advertising of some description required. Kijiji is present on Ebay India as a “specialty site”. Click.in and Olx advertise regularly. Yolist , the site from the Times of India group dies before it was launched ( also because it failed on possibly every measurement metric). Having said that Olx’s strategy on advertising is dubious. Their last campaign was focused around a ‘meet singles’ message. While they might have such a section, I personally don’t agree with generating a buzz for classified site by positioning it along the lines of a Social Networking or an “Adult Friend-Finder” site.
5.One of the biggest pain areas for any classifieds site, and something which needs to be resolved, is multiple listings. Sellers , it being a free service, more often than not go overboard and use the common tactic of listing 20 of their items one after the other to cover as much of the page as possible. A visitor hence sees a page which contains 25 identical listings, sometimes even upto the 3rd , 4th page. Olx is the worst here.
6.Fraud is coming up on the radar as well as another “need to solve” problem. I have noticed this problem more with Olx than anyone else. Chinese sellers advertising products far cheaper than available in India but giving their location as within India. Buyers believe the location to be within India and thus feel slightly secure and place the order only to never get their products. There is a need to educate people, buyers and sellers and a good starting point would be simply to pick up policies and initiatives from Ebay.
7.The site also needs to facilitate product listings while at the same time maintaining the quality of the postings and ensuring nothing “against policy” is put up. Now this is a catch22 in my opinion as a seller
Rediff does this by reviewing listings before they go up and it can take upto 2 days for the approval and the listing to go live. Olx and Kijiji on the other hand don’t and the listings go up in real time. While Rediff ends up having a higher quality grade, the other 2 get a 1-2 day head start on Rediff.. and if the product was to sell before it goes live on Rediff, then it’s a feather in the cap for Olx or Kijiji and a massive punch to Rediff.. the user might never list again because he or she has tasted success with another site.
What Olx and Kijiji do, and is more viable in my opinion, is allow the visitors to report items instead. Post receiving a minimum number of objections the item is taken off. This relies on user participation, and the inherent weakness is that offending items get on the site reducing the “quality” of the site for the user.
So which one would I give the most credibility? It would have to be Kijiji for me. On a scale of 1 -10 (considering sales success as well) I would rate them
Kijiji.com : 7
Rediff P4C : 6
Olx : 3
Yolist : 0