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MOBILE & TELECOMMUNICATIONS | Mobile Commerce / Auction & Classifieds
mobofree.com

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Stage

Seed VC | Alive

About MoboFree

MoboFree is a Nigeria-based company operating a mobile marketplace to buy, sell and swap products.

MoboFree Headquarter Location

Nigeria

Latest MoboFree News

Who will win the battle of Nigeria’s online classifieds?

Aug 25, 2015

Lessons learned on building a pan-African network of angel investors Advertisement Classified ads are not entirely new in Nigeria thanks to the popularity of Craigslist in the country — especially among the early internet savvy demographic. However, the inability of Craigslist to fully localise its platform to allow Nigerians to make use of its services created a vacuum which many emerging companies are now fighting to fill — the popular ones are OLX , MoboFree and new-kid-on-the-block Efritin . In an exclusive interview with Ventureburn, the CEO and co-founder of MoboFree, Cristobal Alonso described his company’s ability to tailor their product to meet local needs as their major strength. He also recently announced that Nigerians are selling stuff worth several millions of dollars on the platform. Most of the players in Nigeria’s classified ads ecosystem know that for users to take them seriously, their product has to be good and simple. Users furthermore must be able to easily get to their ads on time. They all know that, and this is why it would take more than just having a beautifully designed platform to attract the users in Nigeria. Read more: It’s a jungle out there: ValueForest wants to help you find the best online classified deals MoboFree is banking on its ability to quickly respond to users’ inquiries, monitor forums, building trust, planning for the future, and continually innovating. For OLX, which currently has more than 200 million users globally, it is fighting a different battle — building trust, no thanks to the popular OLX Nanny saga that gave the platform its worst PR nightmare in Africa so far. In a recent interview, Lola Masha, Country Manager for OLX Nigeria said they are innovating in order to allow OLX users to trade safely and successfully. The Nigerian market is very unique in comparison to other markets globally. The issue of trust and safety is not as prevalent there as it here. That is why we ensure all ads posted on the site are reviewed by an OLX team member to ensure they meet our requirements before they go live on the site. Classifieds similarities OLX and MoboFree operate an e-tail model although many Nigerians don’t know that what they see listed on these platforms are not owned by the companies. This is why they tend to hold the platforms responsible when they buy fake products or have a nasty experience on the websites. They also operate similar business models by making money from sponsored ads and monetising traffic. Read more: Why online classifieds are an ally in the ecommerce world “The primary Classifieds business model is to monetise traffic through 3rd party sponsored advertisements,” said Masha. “On the OLX site, we have several sponsored links that have been paid for to appear on the site across all categories e.g. vehicles, mobile phones, electronics and so on.” MoboTribe’s Alonso also noted that the company make money when brands run campaigns on the platform. Beyond ads, MoboFree is also considering providing services, especially to SMEs. “In the future, I see more possibilities — providing more services to SMEs such that when they place ads they can get additional analytics services so I see more possibilities for monetisation for us by providing additional services to SMEs,” he told Ventureburn. For Efritin, the goal is to allow users to sell used products — it is also venturing into logistics by delivering ordered products to the customers. This has the capacity of allowing users to trust the service much more since it is protecting buyers from being swindled. With the influx of more classified ads startups into the Nigerian ecosystem, only time will tell which companies would survive the competition, sustain the tempo and dominate the market. While the companies are in search of more money to spend to improve their products, the users have become spoilt with choices to make — a sharp deviation from the era of seeking products on a Craigslist that had no plans for Nigeria to a dispensation where they can meet locals in their area for date via MoboFree, and get someone who is selling Macbooks at rock bottom prices in their local government via OLX. Interestingly, this is not yet the end — it is just the beginning of a fierce battle to conquer the classified ads space in Nigeria. And luckily for the players, the market is big enough for all of them to make money — now or in the future. You may also like...

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