Wal-Mart New Classifieds Site Mentors Us All

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 3, 2008

I learned this morning from DMNews that Wal-Mart has launched a classifieds website to “give customes another way to save money,” according to DMNews’ email quote by Wal-Mart’s spokesman Ravi Jariwala.

But, we all know what’s really going on here, don’t we? Wal-Mart is trying to get into the social networking experience that the web has to offer. And, it figures going up against Craigslist and EBay is the best vehicle.

I’m not one to disagree with that. In fact, I’m embracing it. What Wal-Mart has done is a classic case of identifying something that works in their industry and copied someone else to do things a little better for their own gain. And, that’s something all of us with websites should model after.

Here, take a look. Give the Wal-Mart Classifieds a try. You’ll never find a link to the classifieds area on the Wal-Mart home page (and I’m not sure why), so I’ve provided you with this link that goes directly to it. Search for something. Post something.

If you’ve used Craigslist before, you’ll notice a few oddities with Wal-Mart’s Classifieds.

1. It takes more time to figure out how to search than on Craigslist. So, I’m wondering what percentage of people actually find what they’re looking for if it’s a job versus Craigslist or how much actually gets sold versus EBay.

2. It takes more time to post to the right category. I never even found a category for marketing or Internet marketing.

3. Search results seem to be more limiting. I mean if I wanted to hire someone to come work with me in Aurura, I’d still like my posting to display if someone searched for Denver. And, with Craigslist, that happens as I’ve used Craigslist many times to find helpers.

But there are some things that Wall-Mart has improved upon that Craigslist seems to conveniently avoid.

1. The posting I made was immediate. Even with Craigslist you have to wait 15 or 20 minutes.
2. My posting actually showed up. Craigslist seems to hate any posting I make and I could never figure out why as much as I would eliminate obvious words that might get picked up.
3. The postings seem to have a higher-level flair to them. I’m not exactly sure what I mean by that. But, Craigslist draws a lot of frauds, y’know? And, they’re starting to get a little ‘rep.

Maybe it’s just that the Wal-Mart Classifieds are new and fresh and already highly populated with lots of things for sale and people looking for work…

Maybe it’s because they teamed up with Oodle to produce the site and probably an integrated database of some sort too so that Wal-Mart didn’t have to do any of that themselves…

Maybe I’m just glad to see yet another one of these fast-paced growing companies who refuses to reply to an email or take a phone call is getting passed up by a company that knows the customer (or in this case, the “visitor”) is still king…

But I believe that Wal-Mart’s launch of its own classifieds section is another lesson to us all to first think of an idea that will enhance our websites and then, second, find someone who already has something close to what we want and private label it with our company branding to make it our own.

Watch out Craigslist and Ebay. There’s a new social gatherer on the planet!

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