Kijiji Rules Online Sales in Canada ; Classified Ads Website, Dud in U.S., Now Dwarfs Craigslist North of Border

By Austen, Ian | International New York Times, May 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

Kijiji Rules Online Sales in Canada ; Classified Ads Website, Dud in U.S., Now Dwarfs Craigslist North of Border


Austen, Ian, International New York Times


More than 12 million people visit Kijiji's site in Canada every month, three times the amount drawn to Craigslist in the country.

If Kijiji is remembered at all in the United States, it is probably as one of eBay's unsuccessful attempts to challenge Craigslist in online classified ads. But in Canada, Kijiji is now practically synonymous with classifieds.

More than 12 million people visit Kijiji's site in Canada every month, three times the amount drawn to Craigslist in the country. The service is used by 42 percent of Canadians, according to comScore, making it one of the country's 10 most popular sites. It has also eclipsed other companies' online businesses, including Cox Automotive's once dominant used-car site, AutoTrader.

That success is a striking counterexample to the globalization of the web, in which services like Facebook and Google offer a single product worldwide. It also represents one of the few online brands that fizzled in the United States but found success elsewhere, as the social media pioneer Friendster has in the Philippines and Malaysia.

How Kijiji managed to achieve its success is partly a story of good timing, with the site arriving in Canada before Craigslist really took off here. The success is also the result of the company tailoring itself to the subtle distinctions of the market, catering in particular to the tendency of Canadians toward thriftiness.

"Canadians are traditionally penny pinchers, which manifests itself in consumer buying differences," said Warren Shiau, consulting director of buyer behavior research at the market analysis firm IDC Canada. "Kijiji has no fees for anything outside of a few specific big-ticket categories, which appeals to the penny pinchers in us."

These days, Kijiji has 6.7 million listings on the site. The operation has expanded to the point that its offices sprawl through two 19th-century former factories in downtown Toronto. While eBay does not separately disclose Kijiji's financial results or the results for eBay Canada, the classifieds site is eBay's largest operation in Canada. Variations of Kijiji now run in 32 other countries. And eBay Classifieds succeeded Kijiji in the United States.

But Kijiji's success in Canada was far from certain -- and it arose less from any master plan by eBay than from the desire by an eBay official, Janet Bannister, and her husband to move back to their native Canada in 2004.

Four years earlier, Ms. Bannister joined eBay in California and became director of category development, working to expand the online auction site beyond its original niche of collectible trinkets. When she returned to Canada, as director of product, she was put in charge of the features in the Canadian version of eBay.

She soon found that the operation had a significant problem. "EBay Canada was doing a very good job of getting people in Canada to the website, but we were doing a terrible job actually getting them to transact on the website," said Ms. Bannister, who is now a general partner at Real Ventures, a seed capital investment fund. "We did some things on the website to try to address it, but it didn't really close the gap."

A fundamental problem for eBay in Canada, Mr. Shiau said, is that Canadians generally do not like auction-based pricing. On top of that, Ms. Bannister found that because Canada's vast geography and low population density make shipping costs high and delivery times long, buyers of secondhand goods preferred to make deals in person.

To Ms. Bannister, the answer for eBay seemed to be online classified ads. At the head office, however, the idea did not appear to be quite so obvious. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Kijiji Rules Online Sales in Canada ; Classified Ads Website, Dud in U.S., Now Dwarfs Craigslist North of Border
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.