Auction site Stuff.com.au has launched a free classifieds site in a challenge to the traditional classifieds content producers.
Stuff Classifieds will be integrated into the auction site and provide a free forum for users to post advertisements.
Stuff managing director Simon van Wyk said that he intended for the classifieds site to take market share from traditional classifieds services offered by major daily news publications.
“We have found that there is a genuine desire to deal with small focused organisations,” van Wyk said of the company’s move into classifieds.
“There is a compelling offer with free listings. Free online classifieds are a huge market in the US, but other classifieds sites cannot afford to adopt it because they have to support an existing model.”
Although it is a market van Wyk said is sure to draw users, Stuff will have to tackle larger, more established players like Fairfax and Trading Post, which have funnelled resources into promoting their classifieds offerings through online and offline advertising.
According to the Top 100 Australian online property ratings site, the Trading Post was 22nd most visited site last week, while news site news.com.au and newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, both of which offer classifieds services, were ranked 11 and 18 respectively. Stuff Auctions ranked 214 on this list
To reach the same audience as its competitors, Stuff will kick off a campaign this week incorporating national radio spots, public relations and “lots of online activity, as this is where a lot of our market is”, said van Wyk.
As classifieds browsers gain many of these services for free, van Wyk said that the real advantage will be to people who want to advertise on classifieds, but do not want to pay for it. To meet this need, Stuff Classifieds will also have unlimited text in its advertisements.
Stuff will gradually roll out aggregated orders, automated listings and other functions to its classifieds site. The company will also add other trading applications to expand the marketing options available to sellers.
“We want to turn Stuff into a marketplace, a place where people can visit to buy or sell anything,” said van Wyk.