I’ve been seeing ads for KTVZ "Mark It Place" online classifieds lately, and tonight finally took a look at what they’re offering.
The problem, of course, with this or any other similar endeavor is the 800-pound gorilla in the room—namely, craigslist. There is simply no competing with them; not only do they offer completely free and anonymous classified ads on any topic you can imagine, but they make it dead simple to create a posting without even requiring a registration process—all you need is a valid email.
And while it’s not winning any design contests, it’s also not cluttered with all sorts of excess graphics and Flash cruft, so it’s fast and readable. Add all of these factors together, and there’s really no getting around it: Everybody uses it, and everybody will continue to use it.
So, back to KTVZ’s site. First, it’s not hosted on their actual site, instead it’s outsourced to "adpay.com"—a site that offers online classified services. Second, it requires user registration to post ads. Third, while the graphics on the site aren’t bad, they are big and there’s a considerable amount of scrolling to take in all the various categories (craigslist manages to nearly fit them all on one screen).
Finally… there’s just not that many postings, which can be a death knell for such a site. I know this seems like a nit-picky thing to point out, but it’s the kind of thing that I would check out, see that there’s not much activity, and very likely not return.
Two things I notice that differentiate a bit from craigslist: first, the ability to create "alerts" for searches, which I imagine sends you an email when new items appear. Second, the ability to bookmark listings into a Watchlist. Both require registration and/or login.
Really, I didn’t start this post with the intention to hammer on KTVZ, I rather think that an online classifieds portion of their site is a natural progression for them. But there’s nothing here that I see that really does anything new or different or better than craigslist.
(Plus, why "Mark It Place" rather than "Marketplace"? I don’t get it.)