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Google Base vs. Ebay vs. Craigslist


By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

ZDNet's Google Blog has posted an entry about a new Classifieds director job opening at Google. The inference is obvious - Google will be taking Google Base and trying to take away market share from such places as Craigslist and Ebay. I know, I know, most of you are thinking - market share, first to market, ease of use, etc. and I would agree with you that Craigslist and Ebay are the market leaders in the classified and auction arenas.

But, where both of them fail, Google has the chance to succeed. Let's start with Ebay. Ebay, although easily the leader in auction sites, requires that it's auctioners pay fees for posting their items. In Google's case, they would eliminate posting fees and base their business model strictly on ad revenue. If the same number of "buyers" exist at both sites, then auctioners would make more money using the Google system and hence be drawn to post their items using their system. If buyers can find the products they need with Google's system easier than they can with Ebay, then the buyers will migrate towards Google and away from Ebay.

Now, when comparing to Craigslist, there are no seller fees and offers a similar business model without the mass advertising resources that Google will use to profit from their efforts. Craigslist is fundamentally flawed in many ways. Navigating through Craigslist postings will not be as simple as using Google's search engine. Sellers, to reach most buyers, have to either be lucky enough to have the buyer search all regions for an item or post in every region (not feasible). The user base of Craigslist could easily turn to Google as I'm sure that most will be a user of both websites. Google Talk and other VoIP options could connect users and sellers in a manner not available to Craigslist. Honestly, there just isn't a comparison in the long run between the capabilities of Google and Craigslist.

Anyone else starting to get nervous at the prospect that Google is slowly and silently in the process of killing off large site after large site?

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