eBay to test eBayClassifieds.com in target U.S. markets

Richard Brewer-Hay

eBay is no stranger to running tests across its platforms. In the Classifieds Group, for example, they opened up Spanish language sites in Texas and Florida last year to see if the bilingual communities in those States would find it useful. They also tested Gumtree –known very well in the UK – in Boston, Chicago and New York for the expatriates living in those cities.

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This week sees another localized test directed at the eBay Classified’s market. We’re getting ready to test “eBay Classifieds” in place of “Kijiji” in two U.S. cities, San Antonio and Pittsburgh, starting later this week. The U.S. team distributed emails to users in both markets over the weekend:

Dear Kijiji San Antonio user,

Starting in early March, Kijiji San Antonio is going to be trying out a new name, “eBay Classifieds San Antonio.” We here at Kijiji thought it made a lot of sense to start using the eBay brand name. After all, we are part of the eBay family and we are a classifieds site…so “eBay Classifieds” just seemed like a good idea. Of course, we’re very curious to hear what you think so let us know once you see the change.

Also, please rest assured that nothing will change other than the name and the domain! Everything else stays the same. That means your ad will stay posted on the site, but instead of finding it at Kijiji San Antonio you will now find it at eBay Classifieds San Antonio. And, as always, we will continue to be your FREE local classifieds site!

Warm regards,

The Kijiji team

P.S. If you happen to browse to one of our sister sites, you may notice that they’re still called Kijiji. So consider yourself special! We chose only San Antonio and one other city to try out this new name for now.

You can read some initial takes on this news on both TechCrunch and TameBay.

Two obvious themes will come up I’m sure:

1. What was up with the name Kijiji to begin with? (Although, it has been stated that this is a test and that Kijiji will remain the primary online classifieds offering in the U.S. and internationally) The easy comment on the blog in the past has been regarding the name specifically.

2. Kijiji vs Craigslist (you can see this already over on TechCrunch). It’s widely accepted that Craigslist is the name folks think of in the US when one thinks of online classifieds but a) Kijiji has continued to grow steadily in the North American market and, more importantly, when you take the eBay Classifieds Group as a whole – it’s clearly the leader in online classifieds with 80 million unique visitors and close to 19 million live ads. It should also be pointed out that the comScore graph used in the TechCrunch article addresses Kijiji globally (including LoQUo) but does not address the other Classifieds brands around the world like Mobile.de, Marktplaats, Gumtree, Den Bla Avis and Bilbasen.

It seems like a no-brainer to tie the eBay brand to its classifieds business in my opinion, particularly when one looks back at John Donahoe’s recent remarks at both the Stanford Accel Digital Symposium and the Goldman Sachs Tech Conference (listen to John Donahoe and CFO Bob Swan speak at that conference here) last week. Some key themes that came out of those discussions:

1. eBay is a company that has always emphasized the ability to leverage the synergies of its different business units and technologies (eBay, PayPal, etc.) but we’re also acknowledging that we’re not going to force synergies that quite simply aren’t there. (Referencing Skype as a great standalone business for example).
2. Further mobile and broadband adoption will help accelerate online consumer spending in the near future.
3. eBay Inc. is focused on connecting buyers and sellers across any format.

That third point seems the most fitting here. Although user experience, search and listings between eBay.com and eBayClassifieds.com will be completely separate during these tests, one would think that a cross-platform consumer experience would only benefit both buyers and sellers (and eBay for that matter) in the long run. Buy and sell what you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.

I’m interested to hear from folks in San Antonio and Pittsburgh on their user experience once this test kicks off later this week.