I've received a few pings
on the news that Google may be launching a classifieds product as well as
entering the "classifieds search" game. Here are a couple
of quick comments…
I'm clearly concerned. As an entrepreneur, it pays to be paranoid about a lot of things. Google making a move into classifieds is something we need to watch closely. Moreover, I have tremendous respect for Google. They build great products.
Google’s entry into classifieds search is also not surprising. Google is attempting to index all of the world’s information. Online classifieds, with close to a $20B market, should be on their roadmap.
Google directly taking and publishing classified listings would be much more disquieting. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think this is a dangerous line to cross. Classifieds search can be a win/win, where publishers get free traffic and buyers have a better experience (also helpful to those selling classifieds). Once a search site begins to sell/publish listings, however, they hurt the partners in their index by attempting to steal their business.
At the end of the day, I believe Google and Oodle are on different paths. I strongly suspect that Google is approaching classifieds from a platform perspective. Google is a search company; online classifieds are another content source they can integrate into their search platform. Oodle is a classifieds company – search being one element of our value proposition. Our success rests on our ability to better focus on the whole online classifieds problem.