According to an article published this week in the online version of The New York Times, EBay, the leader in Internet auctions, has quietly introduced a new online classifieds service in the US.
The new service, called Kijiji, makes eBay, based in San Jose, California, compete with a company that it partly owns: Craigslist, a company based in San Francisco that runs classified ad sites from 300 cities and attracts 12 million new ad listings every month. EBay bought 25% of the shares of Craigslist in 2004.
Kijiji, which means “town” in Swahili, is one of eBay's several classified advertising initiatives outside of the US. And it is the market leader in Canada,
Germany, Italy and Taiwan.
EBay introduced the Kijiji site to the US without much hype last Friday, a move that was posted on The Wall Street Journal website yesterday. The new site includes different classified ad pages for 220 cities and allows users to buy and sell items from a wide variety of categories such as antiques, cars, motorcycles and pets.
"This is going to be our classified ad trump card in the US," says eBay spokesman Hani Durzy. “We see it as competition for Craigslist and other platforms. But we believe that there is room for competition ”. According to Durzy, eBay plans to keep its shares on Craigslist.
EBay aims to attract users to its new site by purchasing search engine advertising and ensuring that the listings appear among the free search results (the naturakes) of the search engines. There are no plans to drive eBay traffic to the new site, Durzy said.
Craigslist President Jim Buckmaster noted, "Many companies offer classifieds, but since we don't care about things like market share or maximizing revenue, we don't see them as competition or a challenge for Craigslist."
Source: New York Times