Posted by: Rob Hof on March 8, 2005
Following scattered rumors, AuctionBytes.com offers a bit of detail on Kijiji.com, which is a new network of classified ads that eBay quietly launched in six countries. The stated goal: to “bring back more of the ‘village’ feeling in our own communities.” Although none of the country sites, from Japan to Germany, is in English, it looks like there are few listings so far. But eBay has been steadily moving into classifieds with the purchase of Netherlands’ Marketplaats, Germany’s Mobile.de, the housing rental site Rent.com, and a 25% stake in Craigslist.
UPDATE: eBay fills in the holes…
eBay tells me that the site, which went live Feb. 28, is the first project to come out of a six-month-old New Ventures Group inside eBay. Spokesman Hani Durzy says Kijiji focused on the six countries--specifically 50 cities in Japan, Germany, Canada, Italy, China, and France--because eBay thought Craiglist has pretty much nailed the U.S. market. The special sauce that eBay hopes to bring, he says, is a sense of community that may be lacking in other local classifieds sites. (Kijiji means "village" in Swahili.)
Why bother with classifieds when eBay already has a global site for trading stuff? Because classifieds work better for services, such as finding housing and jobs, and exchange of large items like furniture that aren't shipped easily. Just don't expect much revenue anytime soon--especially since Kijiji isn't charging anything right now and Durzy won't say if and when it will. Durzy says Kijiji is planning to build each city's site by word-of-mouth, so they'll take awhile to build momentum. Even eBay wasn't built in a day.