Competition for Craigslist

Craigslist has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the free online classified ad industry. However, Time magazine reports that there are now two competitors–Kijiji (the Swahili word for “village”) and Oodle. Both are trying to steal share from Craigslist by making their sites easier to navigate. Oodle puts a Google map next to each listing so you can pinpoint where the item is available. It also provides information on how the price of an item compares to similar items offered on the site over the past few months, and mobile alerts are available to buyers that let them know when an item they’re looking for becomes available. Kijiji, which is owned by eBay, has focused on making it easier to refine searches.

I have bought and sold several items through Craigslist and am a fan of the service. While the Time article made a good point in stating that there has been “a stunning lack of innovation in classifieds,” for now Craigslist appears to have a big advantage over these upstarts–a lot more cities, a lot more listings, and even more accuracy. For example, when I searched for a “drafting table” in the Chicago area on all three services, Craigslist generated 25 listings, Oodle oddly offered up a job posting for a paralegal, and Kijiji came up with one listing. When I entered “Radio Flyer,” Craigslist showed 47 listings, Oodle had two, and Kijiji came up with just one. But stay tuned–the new sites are likely to improve and grow.

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