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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Online Classifieds Heating up back now. Now all acquired!

Enough said. This is my industry so my comments back in 2007 almost all came through. I just feel short of mentioning that many acquisitions and investments will happen for the winners.

To update :

Real estate - Great guys at Propertyguru are SG #1. in MY it is iprop. Valuations in excess of 100M even though no total exits yet.

Jobs space - Only jobstreet left still independent. JobsCentral and JobsDB all acquired in 2010/2011. Jobs classifieds revenue probably 40-50M this year in SG alone.

Cars - Sgcarmart acquired by SPH in 2013 Buy/Sell - Mocca died due to execution issues, Ebay going strong. New ecommerce wave has commenced!

======================================================================= (Article first posted Aug 2007)

There has been a lot written on new internet businesses based on concepts like social networking, aggregation, mash ups etc. Singapore too has seen its fair share of such businesses but I think I am right to say that they are still very nascent and I do not know of any local ones with meaningful revenues. Except maybe xiaxue which is an excellent spunky site!

However, I do see a large battle coming up in the online classifieds space. See the number of online classifieds mass media ads running – ST701, Mocca, JobsDB, Jobstreet, JobsCentral, Monster etc. I predict much more to come. I have always felt this space warrants attention but so far few players have come in to do it. Online classifieds can be very profitable even in a small city like Singapore. I estimate the whole cars, jobs, real estate, buy/sell market is worth at least S$40M this year in online classifieds alone and it is poised to grow dramatically once someones figures out how to handle more than 1 vertical at a time.

Who are the players?

Real Estate – No clear player yet. So this space is wide open for someone to come in and make good$$. Jobs – 5 main players. Combined at about 15M revenue by my estimate. (monster, jobscentral, jobsdb, jobstreet, 701)

Cars – sgcarmart, onemotoring Buy/sell – Mocca, Yahoo!, EBay Personals – Fridae, Trevvy (all Gay sites though)… where is the local large personals for straight population? I think in the next 3 years, you will see lots more ads, lots more competition and the winner will start to emerge.

Ultimately, I feel newspaper classifieds should shrink as more people see the benefits of online classifieds with its unlimited space, search engines and transactional capability. So to all the readers who are keen on internet businesses, i think online classifieds will grow at about 30% per year min. With margins of 20+%, to me it is a very attractive business.

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