What are Craigslist's strongest competitors

The newspapers have struggled for a few years now, breaking away from sources of income on the Internet. However, many German publishers have fled to the front and armed themselves against competition from the Internet with their own Internet presence.

In America, Craigslist has long been one of the most popular sites in the country. The platform, which was founded by Craig Newmark in the spring of 1995, plays in a league with sites like Myspace, Google and Youtube. It all started with an email newsletter in which the now 54-year-old Newmark informed his acquaintances about job offers, events and apartment advertisements in the Bay Area. Shortly afterwards, an internet forum was created, which quickly developed into a lively marketplace.

The expansion was not long in coming. In 2000, cities like New York and Chicago were added and acted as a catalyst for the reach of the site. Craigslist is now represented in 450 cities around the world and can book nine billion page impressions per month for itself. The market research institute Classified Intelligence announced in a study that the turnover of the internet company in 2008 will grow by 47 percent to the equivalent of 50 million euros.

Although it is not yet possible to predict how much the platform will be used in this country, the 25-strong Craigslist team can look forward to the reaction of the German market after the triumphant advance through the USA and other countries.

With a view to the local classifieds market, German publishers are likely to be less pleased with the American model of success. "No publisher will be able to afford not to take Craigslist seriously," said the spokesman for the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV), Hans-Joachim Fuhrmann.

The ads that the modern consumer can post for free on sites like Craigslist are a major revenue driver for newspaper publishers. But in recent years the classifieds market has been shifting from the printed newspaper to the Internet. In San Fransisco, where Craigslist was founded more than ten years ago, publishers have to forego $ 50 million in annual sales from unsold job advertisements, according to a study by the market research institute Classified Intelligence. A scenario that could also threaten German newspapers?

"I'm rather relaxed about the development of Craigslist in Germany," says Fuhrmann. "This phenomenon does not come as a surprise to German newspapers. That is why many publishers began to provide free marketplaces themselves three or four years ago." Craigslist isn't the first internet vendor to poach in territory that traditionally belonged to newspapers.

Ebay subsidiary Kijiji has been trying to gain market share in Germany with a similar concept since 2005. Ebay also has a 25 percent stake in Craigslist. However, there would be no competition between the two portals, said Kijiji managing director Heiner Kroke: "I see it very positively that Craigslist is being launched on the German market. The different design of the pages can appeal to different user groups," he said. Craigslist stands out due to its very simple user interface without a lot of optical frills and for this reason is "more accessible to technically experienced users".

For newspapers, a strategy to stand up to competitors from the network is cooperation. Many German publishers are working together to regain the market share that has been lost to the Internet. The drying up of classifieds in the publisher's own newspapers is consciously accepted.

"Markt.de", a cooperation between the Ippen, WAZ and Holtzbrinck publishers, is the online offering of the largest group of German classified ads. Its managing director, Sang-Woo Pai, was hardly impressed by the competition from the USA: "We know the market mechanisms. Just because a portal is successful in America doesn't necessarily work in Germany". Another important platform that arose in this context is called "kalaydo.de". "Kalaydo.de" is a joint advertising portal for the Rhineland media. The newspapers involved include the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger", the "Express", the "Rheinische Post" and the "Westdeutsche Zeitung".

Both "Markt.de" and "kalaydo" are very successful with two and one million visitors a month, respectively, according to the BDZV spokesman. Nevertheless, "Craigslist must be taken seriously as a competitor", after all, identical products are being used to attract the same customers. In the opinion of the spokesman, however, the platforms of the newspaper publishers have the "huge advantage that they enjoy the trust of the citizens in the regions."

The operators of "meinestadt.de" also refer to this advantage. The portal is the market leader among local search services in the German network and offers a local classifieds market for each of the 12,241 German cities. "We do not see our user base threatened by Craigslist," said Thorsten Laumann, press spokesman for allesklar.com AG, which operates the city portal. The site picks up users in their city and enjoys great popularity as a pioneer among comparable offers with six million visitors a month.

In fact, it looks like the German market doesn't yet function according to American laws. The rubrics on the German Craigslist page are so far only sparsely filled and a large part of the entries, mostly written in English, obviously do not come from German citizens.

Jim Buckmaster, CEO and programmer of Craigslist, is uninterested in economic metrics or success stories. When asked what goal the company is pursuing with its presence in Germany, a spokeswoman replied: "Our goal is to meet the wishes of German users. The success of the site in Germany will only depend on them." You neither have a great concept, nor do you worry about the competition.

On its own homepage, which has a peace symbol as a browser icon, Craiglist sells itself as a company that thinks little of one-sided pursuit of profit and acts solely on behalf of the user. Hence Buckmaster’s reluctance to know anything about Craigslist’s economic success. Fees that apply to a small portion of the advertisements, e.g. B. for job offers, are so far the only source of income for the Internet company. Despite sales in the millions, Craigslist can still be reached under the "org" domain. This domain was originally reserved exclusively for non-profit organizations.