Wednesday, May 1, 2013

First car dealers, now landlords: Some free Kijiji classifieds going pay-to-play

Sometimes the things that make you popular can get in the way. Take Kijiji's free online classifieds, for example. They proved so popular among people trying to sell their cars that dealers got in on the action and virtually took over the category, posting hundreds of free ads. The ads would've cost them a bundle to reach the same sized audience in other media, and the dealer ads quickly crowded out the ads from individuals trying to sell their cars. So, Kijiji moved to start charging people with multiple concurrent ads a fee.

The same thing is now happening to properties for rent. It used to be that you could rent a flat in your home or sublet your apartment with ease. Now major landlords with multiple properties have filled up the categories with ads they would've had to pay for in days gone by.

Kijiji announced recently that it will start bringing in fees for landlords with multiple listings:

the Apartment & Condos for Rent category will become a pay-per-insertion category. This change has been implemented to help maintain the high quality of listings on Kijiji and to allow us to further invest in improvements for both our customers and our users. We are committed to providing you with the best possible experience.

We understand this may come as a surprise to some of our regular posters and to help alleviate the impact, we have put into place the following measures:

1) All users will be allowed to have up to 3 active ads live on Kijiji at one time at no charge

2) Those users posting 3 or more ads in this category will be charged a $29.99/ad fee

3) Monthly subscription packages are in place that will allow you to syndicate your ads directly from your website which will eliminate the need to manually post

So, if you're just one person with one property to rent, you won't be paying anything to list. If you have two condos, you're still clear.

Beyond that, I'm confused. "Up to three" with no charge says to me you can have one, two or three ads live on Kijiji at no charge. But the next line says three or more will be charged $29.99 each.

For clarity, that really should read "one or two" ads are free, and "three or more" will be paid, unless I'm mistaken, and it's "up to three" and "four or more." I'll add to the post if I hear further about this.

Thirty bucks PER AD seems like a lot, especially in some smaller markets where one person may own much of a town's rental stock.

Still, if owners are tempted to complain, they're welcome to put their money into or some other purpose-built site. Oh, you don't want to pay a manager? You want the reach and popularity of Kijiji? You want to leverage the most popular classified ads site in Canada to fill your vacancies and make you wealthy?

Sorry, landlords. Time to pay to play.

15 Responses to “First car dealers, now landlords: Some free Kijiji classifieds going pay-to-play”

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