Komli get’s eBay – one too many blogs were buzzing with the signing of the deal which allows Komli to serve ad’s exclusively on the Ebay India website for a year. Congratulations and wishes were pouring in from everywhere and people referring to it as a deal which will shake up the Indian internet scene and a move which was long overdue. One would have easily missed the few comments posted which spoke about having apprehensions on the tie-up.
What do i think? …..simply..what’s the big deal?
The fact that ad networks would be looking at signing exclusive rights to publisher inventory in this market is not an insight, its common logic. The problem has always been on the projections and the deliverables.
From Komli’s point of view they get a big brand to boast about in the market. Their transaction category gets a face lift and seemingly the ability to negotiate higher rates within that. ..at least that’s what they think. But i don’t see it happening that way. Ebay India is a very very poor cousin of its parent company or other regional specific sites , anyone who knows the domain would know this. The transaction volumes going through ebay here would be nothing compared to those in the US or the UK, and hence that many less unique visitors / registered members on the site. Ebay India quotes its community size in India at 2 million. I think it would be safe to assume that a good 20% or so would be inactive members , one time transaction type of members which would then leave it with around 1.5 million.
1.5 million is not big , its in fact pretty small and Komli would probably have sites within their kitty which exceed this size. 1.5 million visitors in turn does not translate into a huge number with respect to impressions. Couple this with the fact that the Indian side is not a very strong brand and what is one left with ?
A good medium sized site in the Komli network, but nothing more major than that and thus comparable with many other B2C sites in the domain and from a media planner’s point of view nothing worth paying a premium for. In addition a substantial percentage of this 1.5 million is going to be sellers…people trying to sell and not looking at buying.
Ebay India presents an excellent opportunity , no doubt, for targeted advertising on a lot of fronts. One can target down to a particular product level and throw the right ad’s i.e Category-consumer durables -Airconditoners -window -1ton , but do we have enough advertisers in the market available to go this deep? Sure the industry is growing, but how much of the percentage jump that we see year on year is coming through new advertisers?
I visit Ebay everyday and i am yet to see anything unique with respect to the ad serving taking place, in fact my thoughts above seem to be playing out right now. The two screenshots below show the same advertiser on the same page on 2 different sizes , where’s the inventory, this would in fact indicate that there is not even enough currently to ensure that 2 ad’s are not repeated on the same page. The category is car electronics the advertiser real estate (where’s the logic) , u can defend the serving through demographics but then would it not be better to go to a news site and then target the same rather than through Ebay.
Ebay is probably happy thinking its money in the bank. Maybe it is and i hope Komli meets the deliverables it would have on its head (though i dont think so) but i think they have a headache with Ebay. The account will require too much servicing, a new advertiser acquisition approach which will not be easy.
Ebay on the other hand seems to have taken the easy way out. They have either not tried to sell their inventory themselves, which is illogical, or they have tried but failed in which case they would have fallen back on a network anyhow, the difference being that with Komli , out of lack of insight, got into an exclusive deal, if it had waited they might have got the same without the headaches.
And one point which i failed to see being mentioned anywhere , what about the Ebay community? How will they react to all this? If i was a power seller on Ebay i might be quite miffed at Ebay allowing companies to advertise directly, with possibly and usually lower prices than what the sellers are offering and thus exposing the seller base to further competition. This is not an immediate concern of course and will only crop up if the category-relevancy ration is achieved.
There’s a lot of work involved and there might not be enough time or resources to do it. Ebay should have tried a category-sponsorship approach which in the long run would have been more revenue yielding than online advertising OR alternatively also gone in for setting up a platform for its seller base to advertise within the site through banners etc.
So all in all its not a bed of roses as far as i am concerned. Ebay and Komli might be sleeping together but it does not mean that the sex will be great!