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I'm sure it is industry-specific. There are a number of classified sites in the U.S. that are profitable. Is your site a niche or a broad classifieds?
Right, this is definitely something you want to look at [b]uk_dokey[\b] before "taking the US by storm". Market saturation in the U.S. is very different from that in the U.K.
If the site you're talking about is the one in your profile, you're going to have a significantly harder time getting that successful in the U.S., primarily due to the fact that there are many established auto classified sites in the U.S. Unless you can provide something they don't, you'll be hard pressed to compete. Not only are they established, but several of them don't just allow online classifieds, they also draw classified ads from print publications.
Yep I could have the guessed the response. The fact of the matter is that in the UK there are 2 very large car classified sites. In the US there is 1. Print publications are great but in terms of classifieds they are going downhill at an astonishing percentile. I had all this talk before we started in the UK. People thought we were crazy competing in such a competetive market. But I should say that there are people who listen to that and never start and there are people who go get. No offence filipe but I asked for constructive help not a wet fish across my face.
No offence filipe but I asked for constructive help not a wet fish across my face
I likewise intended no offense, I was just trying to present the truth in as realistic a way as possible (like I do for any potential web-business I consult for). I'm not sure how you're defining classified sites - but there are several major sites that let you post your car for sale:
Just to name the major ones. I haven't looked over your site in a great deal, but it's entirely possible you're filling in a niche that these sites aren't.
But I should say that there are people who listen to that and never start and there are people who go get.
I agree entirely. However, when I consult, it's not my job to tell people "You can do it if you try and want it enough." - because I believe that's possible in most markets, given the right amount of knowledge and stamina. You have experience already in this market, so you have an advantage - all I'm saying is that you're up against a lot.
Classifieds are a HUGE industry, and unless you have a ton of money there is no chance you will be able to compete with them. I see hundreds of sites trying, and failing. I do wish you luck though, and I hope I am wrong, and that you make the next great classifieds site.
How about diversifying the effort, then. Instead of a huge, generalized site that'll take a ton of money, how about focusing on a specific niche and moving into that, within a narrower, specialized category. Like classic cars, that isn't so saturated, or certain types of imports.
Or apply the knowledge and experience gained and try for a different type of product line altogether.
Of course there are several, and the competition is tight. I do think the key would be to find the niche that has not already been done.
One thing to consider on that count is geography. In the UK, a 100% online classified site is a much more practical proposition, IMO, because you're within a day's drive of almost anywhere in the country no matter where you start out. A nationwide, general classified site is therefore a reasonable idea, since the buyers and sellers are relatively close together. In the US, I'd say an equivalent concept is a statewide classified site...
In the US, I think you'd want to aim for a very tightly targeted collector's market if you were running a nationwide classified site. Dedicated collectors will go to great lengths to get what they want, even if the seller is 3000 miles away. For a nation-wide general auto classified site, the problem is that nobody cares HOW good the price is on that 95 Honda Civic if the advertiser is more than 1/2-a-day's drive away (or less in many cases), they won't buy it...
If I want to shop for "just-any-old-car", I'd pick up a local paper or check out the local paper's own website, rather than go to the jumbo national site where I have to drill down to my local area... Everyone locally has heard of the locally-based paper/website anyhow, so they're likely to have a better selection than the big site to begin with.
Many large industries out there spend huge amounts of money branding their companies and spend far less time on SEO. I guess that is why all of us feel that we still have a chance against the big boys. At then end of the day if we can earn some money to feed our families we will be satisfied. Anything else will be a bonus. It gives me a huge kick to set my sites on some of the bigger names and try to compete directly without worrying about the niches. Our aim will be somehow to offer the service in a better way.