The community-based free listings site is expected to provide advertising later this year.
EBay has quietly brought its classifieds site Kijiji to the United States, where when and if it gains its footing, it could compete with free classifieds site Craigslist. Kijiji, which has had an international presence since it launched in February of 2005, will offer advertising opportunities later this year.
The service allows users to post free ads in a variety of standard classifieds categories such as jobs, personals and autos, and also features events postings and community features like forums and chats. As of yet everything is free, but paid advertising is on its way, according to Jose Mallabo, an eBay spokesperson.
"There is no advertising on the site today. We'll be turning that on before the end of summer," he said.
While eBay has operated the classifieds site in countries including Canada, Taiwan, Italy, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, and more than 20 other markets, it decided the user interface was finally good enough to expand to the U.S., according to Mallabo.
"We're using the same UI that we used internationally. Cost-effectively being able to leverage that is sort of why we came to the U.S., in addition to the fact that it's still the largest e-commerce business in the globe," said Mallabo.
Although Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, now covers 200-plus communities in the U.S., eBay decided against promotion and has relied on word-of-mouth to bring it to users' attention so far. That will change once eBay chooses an advertising partner sometime within the next four to six weeks, and starts "keywords and advertising online, as well as direct marketing campaigns," said Mallabo.
The move into the U.S. market with a community-based classifieds site does put eBay in competition with the predominant free listings site, Craigslist, Mallabo admitted. Still, he said the firm is competing with all listings services, and noted there is a lot of growth potential in the overall market.
Three years ago, eBay bought a 25 percent stake in Craigslist. However, since then "[eBay] is being held at arms-length by the Craigslist management, and there [are] no direct ties with the Craigslist management, so they might as well go off and do their own thing," said Peter Krasilovsky, associate with the Kelsey Group, an analyst firm.
EBay has no plans to link Kijiji to its auction service, or to its PayPal online transaction system. As for a connection between Kijiji and Craigslist, Krasilovsky believes there will be no merger of the two anytime in the future, adding the two sites do not compete on the most heavily-used online classifieds segments of real estate, automotive and recruitment.
"Everybody is watching eBay for what its next steps are going to be. We've all been watching eBay for how it's going to grow into the local space. My takeaway from this is eBay is taking more of a baby step in this direction, and this is not a major launch of something new that is going to transform the company over the next year or so," he said.
Kijiji runs other international classifieds sites, including Marktplaats.nl in The Netherlands, Spain's Loquo and Gumtree in England, Australia and New Zealand.
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
June 10, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT