A few years ago, if you were looking for a second hand car or a rare breed of pet, where would you look? Undoubtedly the newspaper classified ads. Today, newspapers are facing tough competition from a market that is relatively new- the online classified ads market. An independent report by Mckinsey Quarterly states that online classified sites such as Craigslist have managed to capture about 5 per cent of the $ 34 billion classifieds market. This report only takes into account the large players; local classifieds websites have not been included. If they are to be included, the final figures would be much more. The biggest factor that has led to their popularity is the fact that they are free, unlike newspapers that charge for posting ads. In fact, these classified ads sites are better alternatives to eBay as well.
However leading players in the online classifieds market have one basic flaw- they aren’t buyer focused. Here are some of the flaws commonly found in established online classified websites. There’s also comparison with those websites that are buyer focused.
Most websites have geography-less market. But if I were to look for a used couch to be used in my dorm, I wouldn’t be bothered about it unless the seller is somewhere close to me. Websites that focus on free local classified ads focus on the local market, more than anything else and hence reach the buyer directly.
The general rule today is for sellers to post what they sell or buyers to put up what they want to buy. However, open trading platforms often give importance to the buyer, where he posts wants to buy and how much is he willing to pay for it.