Schibsted Classified Media has announced the launch on the Indian market of the free classified ads site Sahipasand.com. The site allows people in India to buy and sell in a wide variety of categories without any cost for the user. On Sahipasand is possible to sell any kind of object, car or pet, but also to buy, sell or rent apartments and houses, find jobs or publish CVs.
According to Schibsted, a big effort is being put into the quality of the service, especially in relation to possible frauds, seen as the biggest potential problem in the free classified business. All the ads are also manually reviewed one by one to reduce low quality ads, duplicates and promotional material.
Instead of the traditional classifieds structure based on categories first, Sahipasand’s homepage asks the user to choose between one of 28 regions. This layout has been designed to improve the user experience and give an incentive to local hand-to-hand exchanges rather than shipping through mail.
At the moment nearly 50,000 ads are present in Sahipasand’s database, but Schibsted’s ambitions are much bigger. According to Schibsted CEO Terje Seljeseth: “This battle is not about who else we should beat. It’s more about the transformation of the advertising networks and how the market develops. You should keep in mind that the gross domestic product of India is about four times the on of Norway. I guess that says something about the technological development in the country. This effort is a little different than what we have done previously in Europe.”
Sahipasand is based on a platform originally developed for the Swedish site Blocket, the fifth largest website in Sweden, and is part of the Schibsted Classified Media network, which includes sites based on the Blocket platform in more than 20 countries.
The launch of a new site in a nation as densly populated as India is a new direction in Schibsted Classified Media strategy, which up until now has concentrated mostly on smaller countries with a higher internet usage. With a population of nearly 1.2 billion and an estimated 71 millions internet users, India is considered by the Norwegian company to be a market with huge potential in regards to future growth.
About Schibsted Classified Media
Schibsted Classified Media is part of the Schibsted Group, a media company based in Norway. Founded in 1839, Schibsted has successfully moved from paper-based to online media company throughout the last decade. With the acquisition of no.1 French classified site LeBonCoin in September 2010, Schibsted Classified Media has become the third largest classified group in the world, behind eBay and Craigslist.