We recently discussed about the broken online classifieds services in India and also shared few pointers to what can be immediately improved. While there are a handful of sites that have those 1-2 features implemented but none of them really make life easy. Slimads is a newly launched classifieds site that may not be solving these issues but is taking a different approach towards classifieds.
Each listing on Slimads is a widget. When shared on Facebook/Twitter, it does not load the entire site on clicking but only the widget. Each listing is self contained, has images, videos, text and functionality to connect buyer and seller. It is equipped with a QRCode and is optimized for mobile devices.
Though this is a very new take to classifieds but the question is, does all this really solve any problem? I like their idea of putting a tiny banner ad on each widget but what is the sense behind fitting everything into a tiny screen and make me click to enlarge images and scroll for more text? This is a smart feature for a classifieds site but may be not a core differentiator of the product.
Here’s a quick QnA with the Slimads team.
1. Why Slimads?
We started to build a clutter free social network for Indians (www.yoyoindia.com) across the globe where users can set fine grained access controls on information that they share including photographs, blogs, etc. And as part of monetization for the site we introduced the bazaar module. We started to compare bazaar module with various classifieds sites: craigslist, gumtree, sulekha classifieds, etc. and realized we are significantly different and that bazaar module should be not for yoyoindia.com site but for users across the globe = larger market. Also I have used craigslist, eBay etc. several times and had my experience with craigslist spam , too many ads on sulekha , jumped out of craigslist to view YouTube videos or flicker images or for that matter launch my Gmail , perform a copy paste of sellers email to send email to buyer – all this was too tedious and old school.
I was frustrated and wanted something easier, user friendly and that has everything at one place, text, images, video, and ability to contact the buyer or seller. I also spend a good amount of time on facebook and wanted to leverage the social network as well.
2. What pain point is this solving with respect to current format of classifieds? How does this visualization add value?
In plain simple terms, relevant information is packed as a widget – text, images, video, and functionality to contact the buyer or seller, share features, QRCodes to be printed in print media. Our facebook app presents the listing to the user as it appears on slimads.com. Users don’t have to jump out of facebook. A listing URL shared on twitter when clicked does not load the entire site and only loads the listing. SlimAds are optimized for mobile devices. SlimAds offers basic analytics for listings in the present version and will offer comprehensive analytics in next versions.
3. What about SEO? I see there is no effort made for SEO on the site. All content load through JS. How do you think you will gain traffic?
We are working on optimizing the listings for Search Engines. Also note that SlimAds while is a marketplace, it is not necessary that users have to visit slimads to look up for listings. Being marketplace is just one function of slimads. The idea is to allow users and businesses to leverage social networks. A listing created on slimads can be shared on facebook app, can be published on facebook fan pages, is visible in our TV App, can be tweeted. Branding on each listing (SlimAds Icon on left bottom) allows for slimads brand penetration Also while we trademarked classifieds on steroids, and thought of slimads.com to facilitate online classifieds we realized slimads uses are many: Digital business cards, product flyers, user’s portfolios, business user reviews etc. QRCodes on slimads can be used on product labels; real estate agents can create slimads and generate sell sheets, etc.
Most importantly slimads can be published on fan pages. We are working on specialized features for specific markets ex real estate, restaurant industry, consumer packaged goods and will be integrating dynamic coupons. Also slimads platform is being offered to publishers under SAAS model and our soon to be released API will enable developers/publishers to create viral slimads with ease.
4. Why the US centric banner ads on India centric content?
We are still in the early stage. This will change soon.
So what do you think of Slimads. Do give it a try and share your views.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]