Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where's the lucrative classifieds market in Singapore?

Craigslist has shown that classifieds can still be the name of the game. Aside from proving to the world that classifieds brings home the bacon, Craigslist also proves the might of a small and nimble team.

Singapore Roundup

In Singapore, the picture isn't as rosy. There have been, and are, many attempts to build a Singapore online classifieds. Back in the last 90s, the telcos ruled. Pacific Internet led the way, then SingTel joined in. Like all things in the dot com boom, classifieds sites sprung up.

Names like Adpost are still around. Yahoo! classifieds is still pretty well-used in Singapore. Vertical classifieds like SingaporeBikes are frequented by the community. New players like eFair have joined the fray.

Trophy's still up for grabs

Despite these many attempts, there is no clear winner. Is our population of 4 million people just too small to create any serious marketplace? Or are we so resistant to charging that we leave the moment a site attempts to collect some money from us? Or perhaps it's just that the revenue pie has been chomped up by the likes of jobsdb.

2.0 Singapore Style

I am not sure if the 2.0 wave has just hit us (delayed). Singapore's leading media company, SPH, has just announced a partnership that could change the local scene (or at least attempt to). SPH has partnered with a Norwegian company to:
"identify potential investments in online classifieds, search and directories across South-east Asia and Greater China."
What does that mean? Will they buy up the defragmented market? Or will they stomp on these smaller efforts? Whatever the outcome, SPH has a good chance of doing this right (better than before under AsiaOne).

One big change is the attitude of SPH. They are willing to partner -- they no longer have a desire (or vanity) to build all the technology themselves. They recognise their strength is the mass media. Mixing their marketing prowess with partner technologies might just be the right formula.


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