Much to the dismay of traditional newspapers--whose “want ad” sections had been a significant revenue source for decades--Americans are taking to the Internet at a furious pace to buy and sell belongings. Ditto offering and contracting services. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans who’ve used online classified ads has more than doubled in the past four years. “On any given day,” the public-opinion researcher reports, “about a tenth of Internet users (9 per cent) visit online classified sites, up from 4 per cent in 2005.” To boot, many of these sites are free to both buyers and sellers. Here are the four most popular such services, each of which boasts more than 1 million visitors per month, according to Compete.com.
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Talk about needing no introduction. Ask anyone who has ever looked online for apartments, roommates, concert tickets, used furniture, hardly used baby clothes, guitar lessons, astrology readings or any one of thousands of other goods and services, Craigslist is synonymous with classifieds. The San Francisco-based site enjoys 20 billion monthly page views from more than 50 million users. Since its founding in 1995 by software engineer (and self-professed nerd) Craig Newmark, the populist porthole has expanded to more than 700 local sites throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to English, Craigslist is available in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
With apparent swipes at industry leaders Craigslist and eBay, Oodle bills itself as “a smarter classifieds site.” The service, based in San Mateo, California, as The Wall Street Journal has written, “aggregates classified ads from more than 80,000 websites,” adding that sellers “prefer to list items on classified-ad sites [rather than on eBay] because their items, like secondhand mattresses or strollers, can be picked up in person by local buyers.” Oodle, which powers the classifieds sections of portholes like AOL, social-media platforms like Facebook and media properties like British tabloid The Sun, also focuses on safety and fraud prevention. Founded in 2005, the site currently has more than 2.7 million monthly users and 17 million active listings in the U.S. and U.K.<p>Oodle.com http://www.oodle.com/>
When it comes to showing the competition no mercy, Kijiji takes the cake. “Life is too busy to deal with iffy classifieds sites. Sites that are not completely free, remarkably simple and safe enough for your kids to look at--they’re not worth your time,” says the eBay-owned company, which was founded in 2007. Its 1.6 million monthly users come for an extensive listing of some 400,000 goods and services that run the gamut from antiques and animal services to video games and vacation rentals. What’s more, Kijiji (which means “village” in Swahili) has been lauded by The New York Times for sporting “a high-quality image capability, so products, particularly high-end ones, can be shown more attractively.”<p>Kijiji.com http://www.kijiji.com/>
If it’s efficiency and security you’re looking for, Backpage may be just the ticket. Owned by Village Voice Media (the 55-year-old publisher of such major-market alternative newspapers as The Village Voice and San Francisco Weekly), the service prides itself on speed of functionality, particularly when browsing ads that feature images. “You’ll find Backpage as easy to use as sending an e-mail, and probably more fun,” the company, which also features fraud protection, crows. Currently available in 250 U.S. markets, Backpage will soon be launching in an additional 200 cities, and is used by 1.65 million Americans each month.<p>Backpage.com http://www.backpage.com/>
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