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Monday, January 07, 2008

Kijiji a Comer in Pursuit of Craigslist's Oodles of Traffic?

The New York Times recently reported a story about Kijiji's attempt to take on Craigslist. Though Kijiji has some decent traction globally, it had been an unknown in the US. Is that about to change?

One factor in recent growth mentioned in the article was campaigns by eBay to inform users of Kijiji's presence. But what about the old tried and true - the organic search referrals that did so much to help Craigslist over the years? I figured Kijiji would look pretty strong on this front, because I've noticed their prominent placement on many local search queries here in Canada, in spite of their strong competition from, among others, Craigslist and Livedeal.

So I turned to my friends at Hitwise, and they nicely supplied the following snapshot of Kijiji's rapid growth in organic search referrals - technically they refer to this as "downstream traffic from the search engines category, as a percentage of all search engine referral traffic" - so literally, this is their share of the overall pie of available search referrals from Google, Yahoo, etc.:
















Nice-looking growth - so are they going to knock Craigslist's block off? No time soon. Look at the comparison chart - the charting software nicely equates Kijiji's relatively tiny referral traffic to zero:

















Finally, we looked at Kijiji's search referrals against Oodle's (thanks to Greg Sterling for reminding me of Oodle's existence):
















This shows Oodle kicking kijiji's butt. I'm still checking on whether this reflects paid clicks as well as organic.

Kijiji faces a not-insurmountable chicken-egg problem. Nothing says their search referrals can't go up 10X this year as their relatively new site gains more quality signals with Google's algorithm. But breaking through looks like it will be a formidable challenge - more so in the US, where Craigslist is established, than globally.

Regardless of what happens, eBay will be OK. They own stakes in both Kijiji and Craigslist.

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