In the case of Craigslist there really hasn’t been much marketing (online or offline?) to create awareness for their Kenya classifieds. Therefore, as a result, even though CraigsList practically dominates the “free” classifieds space globally, its relatively unknown in Kenya as hardly anyone is using it. On the other hand, N-Soko has been marketed quite heavily through Nation Media’s online and offline properties but ultimately its a paid service and not free. At the same time, although N-Soko has more classifieds listed than CraigsList, it quite simply isn’t that appealing or user-friendly.
Therefore, its quite a pleasant discovery that I made today when I stumbled on Pigia.me (as a side note, “pigia” means “to call” in Kiswahili). Pigia.me (at this time) is a “free” Kenyan online classifieds web site that has lots of promise. The first thing that struck me about Pigia.me is that it has a simple and minimalist user interface that is also highly intuitive and appealing. The second thing is that Pigia.me recognizes the importance of the mobile web in Kenya and has a mobile version at Pigia.me/m (Current estimates for Kenya indicate that as many as 2 million mobile subscribers go online via their mobile phones). The third thing about Pigia.me that I like is that they have social media profiles linked to their web site on Twitter and Facebook. In a nutshell, from my perspective, Pigia.me has the potential to become the front-runner for online classifieds in Kenya!
Other aspects about Pigia.me that I like are that they have limited the classfied sections to the following:
- For Sale.
- Accommodation and Travel.
The other interesting aspect is that apart from these listings, one can also post events to the classifieds on Pigia.me. In addition, they have also broken down classified listings by cities and towns in Kenya. As of this writing, Nairobi has the most classified listings in Kenya as is to be expected at 320.
Going forward, the online classifieds space in Kenya already has a huge number of web sites that are vying for leadership (too many in fact to list them all here!). Its clearly a massive opportunity for whoever will get it right and pick up a critical mass of users. One thing that remains to be seen is who will get the right business model that appeals to both buyers and sellers, as well as advertisers – its still very much early days. However, for me, Pigia.me is probably the best effort I have seen so far that manages to be simple, relevant, user-friendly and well-designed, all at the same time.