In the Future of Media Report 2007 we published some original research on the ownership of online classifieds in the US, UK, and Australia. One of the biggest industry fractures in the shift to digital media has been the emergence of online classifieds. Classifieds used to be the sole domain of print media. As classifieds have shifted to a medium that is superior in accessibility, searchability, and cost, new entrants have taken part of the pie. It has been possible for incumbent media to leverage their power and position to be successful in online classifieds, but in many cases other players have taken the opportunity and seized prominent positions.
As such we looked at the jobs and real estate online classifieds markets across the three countries, dividing the owners of properties into five groups: Traditional Media, Large New Media (e.g. Yahoo, eBay, Google), Small New Media, Industry (e.g. recruitment or real estate firms), and Other. We used traffic to the sites as a proxy for their prominence. We would also have liked to have compared online classifieds with print classifieds, but it is difficult without financial data. Perhaps a project for our 2008 Report… The analysis is below – click on the charts for full details in the Report.
One of the most important issues for existing media organizations is how the classifieds market changes as it shifts online, and whether they can successfully link online classifieds to their news and media properties.
Australia’s traditional media organizations such as News Corp and Fairfax have done better than their peers in the US and UK at maintaining market share in the classifieds market as it shifts to online, primarily through establishing their own online properties and building them in conjunction with their popular news websites. The far larger US classifieds market tends to be more fragmented. In the US and UK newspapers have had success by establishing consortia with competitors, and building sites such as careerbuilder.com and fish4.co.uk. New media start-ups such as Seek in Australia, realtor.com in the US, and jobsite.co.uk have successfully taken solid market share. Interestingly, large online media companies such as Google, Yahoo!, eBay, and Amazon are far from dominant in online classifieds globally, with the only significant presence from Yahoo! in the US with its hotjobs and realestate sites. eBay has had to resort to buying Rent.com to have a presence in the field. Industry players have proven themselves to be at times highly effective at leveraging their industry expertise and presence, with TMP Worldwide doing well from it Monster.com site in the US and UK. Rightmove PLC, the dominant player in real estate classifieds in the UK, was established by three real estate agency chains, while real estate agencies RE/Max and Century 21 have a reasonable presence in the US online real estate classifieds market.