eBay Blindsides Craigslist and Sneaks Into The Online Classified Market with Kijiji

Just like Navy Seals landing on a beach at night, eBay snuck into the online classified market now dominated by Craigslist.
No press release. Nothing on the eBay announcement board. One day Kijiji, the successful overseas classified web site, showed up in the US.  Kijiji owned by eBay does the same thing that Craigslist does –and many think it does it better.
The fact that eBay owns a 25 percent interest in online classified leader Craigslist has many wondering about eBay’s long-term plans for Kijiji.
Kijiji, first launched two years ago in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, China, Japan and Taiwan, was made available last year in Austria, Switzerland and India.
Kijiji, (pronounced KeeGeeGee) means “village” in Swahili, Kijiji adds some new features  that are not found on Craigslist. For example, Kijiji’s pages have a gallery, Flash animation and an RSS feed button. Kijiji takes the simplicity of Craigslist one step better. It’s  simple and easy to use but the ads are more attractive, with a thumbnail photograph displayed next to the text like it is in eBay search results.
Let me say right up I am a huge fan of Craigslist.  Right now, Kijiji although larger than Craigslist on a world wide basis is much smaller than Craigslist in the US.  Kijiji is easier to use, more attractive and looks more up to date than Craigslist and I think it will give Craigslist a run for its money.
It is too early to tell if Kijiji will be successful in the US.  I don’t understand why eBay isn’t using its market power to promote it. I also wonder what eBay’s strategy is and how they plan to make money from Kijiji, but so far I think they are off to a good start and it is going to be interesting to watch.  So what’s my strategy for using Kijiji?  If I have something to sell, I am simply going to list it on both sites.  I mean why not?  Both sites are free and I just might find that one buyer on Kijiji who isn’t looking at Craigslist.

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