Technology has effectively changed every business and the classifieds business too. With traditional and old media, classifieds were restricted to geographies. But the introduction of the internet has brought far-off regions within reach. Today, anyone from anywhere can access a classified and respond to it.
Markets have also expanded. Since Internet is a faster medium to connect with potential buyers, sellers are now posting online ads for sale – which they never did earlier. For instance, low value items like a book were considered prohibitively expensive to sell individually and would never be advertised for. But with internet, it is no longer considered an expensive proposition.
Publishing classified online is much easier and cost-effective for sellers. With many free to use classified services, like ClickIndia.com, a seller can now save costs and go for higher visibility at the same time.
Have you been able to generate sufficient return on investment?
We have built a trustworthy marketplace where people find genuine products. We will truly achieve success the day when ClickIndia.com would be the first name buyers would think of for their requirements. This to be a reality requires a huge and active marketplace. I believe we are on the right track to realize this.
Do you think Online Classifieds would hit Newspaper Revenue or is there space for both?
India is a complex market with sufficiently large sub-markets within itself. For every Internet user, there are probably ten times more users who consume information via other mediums. I believe that both the mediums can be accommodated and can still grow in the coming few years. However, newspapers would have to innovate sooner to fight the growing competition from online classifieds.
Just like Craiglist in USA, Clickindia works on the Horizontal model of online classifieds, how is it better than the vertical one?
I don’t think it is a question of ‘either’ or ‘or’. A horizontal model allows scale, an option of a huge marketplace and cross usage while vertical model allow users to find in-depth information about a product. The real value is in the number, that is, does a site offer enough choices for a buyer or does it have enough buyers for a seller.
Which segment on Click India has the biggest market size and why?
At ClickIndia.com, jobs is the biggest segment. In India, there is a dearth of jobs matching the available skill sets. With an increase in the level of education and growth in towns, the number of people looking for jobs has also gone up. This has led to a gap in the ‘job requirement’ and those that are available. We act as a matchmaking platform for job seekers.
Local language content is still very less in India, what are you doing at Click India to come over this obstacle?
India is probably one of the few countries in the world where people prefer to learn & communicate in a foreign language to their mother tongue. While they are more comfortable with the local language, they generally aspire to learn & use English. In classifieds, we cover the first step of matchmaking, which is allowing one to use an advertisement & call the advertiser. Once they are connected, they use local language to communicate & do business.
Internet as a medium encourages convergence. With an inherent aspiration of learning English, I think we will see a convergence of a common language on Internet in the coming time.
How is Clickindia better than its competition?
As I mentioned earlier, we are focused on building a trustworthy marketplace where people are comfortable dealing with each other. We have very strong mechanisms to find out spam and quickly remove them.
Being 100% free platform, we do not push any advertisement to the buyer for want of money. This also adds to the trust factor.
Also, our search is quick and precise. This allows the users, who are short on time, to seamlessly search for a product and respond to the seller without the need to browse through several categories.
The average response per advertisement on ClickIndia.com is around 20, thereby underlining the value we are able to deliver to the advertisers.
What are your thoughts on generating revenue via online publishing? Is it here to stay?
Online publishing is not just a buzzword today. It has immense potential that is being already tapped by numerous companies that are built on this model (including Craigslist). The scope this model offers is huge and would be explored to the fullest going forward.
There is such a slew of gadgets that people are using to access the internet. Do you think it is an advantage or a disadvantage?
The internet itself has shrunk the world drastically and people now feel the need to be connected with the current happenings and stay updated than ever before. I definitely think it is good for both the industry and the people. The users get to consume information on the go, as and when they want.
With the proliferation of gadgets, smaller towns have also been forthcoming in consuming the internet to stay informed. With several gadgets powered on batteries, people can consume information even in villages with no or erratic power supply. These gadgets are helping everyone including farmers, students, housewives to stay informed & connected.
I think it is great from the viewpoint of a consumer who can now participate more in the overall growth of the economy rather than be a by-stander.