Craigslist 2012 revenues increase 9.7 %; ‘Big Four’ battle for global classified lead

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Articles, CIR, Craigslist, Daily Deals, Financial results, Insiders, Market statistics, Marketplace, Recruitment, World news releases

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ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — Revenue and profits at Craigslist resumed their steady growth in 2012 after a slight one-year dip, according to new estimates from the AIM Group, but the major classifieds site faces major challenges ahead.

In a new report released Monday, the AIM Group projects revenue at the San Francisco based site increased to 9.7 percent in 2012 to $126 million, with profits of up to $103 million, or 81.7 percent. The report details revenue and listings in 19 markets, and extensively covers recent changes at Craigslist and litigation involving the company. The “virtual halo” that once made Craigslist such a popular site is gone, the AIM Group reports.

“Even though revenue and profits are up at Craigslist, the amazing goodwill and sense of trust the site had for so many years is pretty much gone,” said Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of the AIM Group and editor of the report. “With several lawsuits pending; ‘Craigslist killings’ becoming a persistent problem; new competitors eating into its dominance, and limited usability on mobile devices, Craigslist is facing more difficult problems than ever before.”

The 171-page report, “2012 AIM Group Global Classifieds Annual,” outlines a battle for dominance of classifieds worldwide by four companies: Craigslist, EBay, Naspers and Schibsted. It profiles more than 150 emerging or expanding classified sites worldwide, with detailed analyses of 33 countries. The report includes 28 charts, including a six-page overview of the brands and countries covered by the Big Four sites and a two-page city-by-city analysis of cars, homes and job listings on Craigslist.

In a related note, Craigslist on Nov. 1 added nine markets to the list of 19 markets in the United States where it charges for recruitment ads. The AIM Group estimated the company’s revenue in 2013 would increase by $27 million in 2013 as a result of the addition.

The other Big Four companies, EBay, Naspers and Schibsted, are competing head-to-head in a number of markets and are growing organically, by acquisition and through aggressive marketing.  But in several countries, including Spain and Switzerland, independent sites have managed to take the lead in spite of the efforts of the Big Four.

The 171-page report is available for $1,295 / €995 through (Free copies are available to media for editorial use. See contact information below.)

The report extensively details Schibsted’s profitable online classified products, which are returning margins of more than 50 percent in some markets, and its expansion into China. Naspers, which has significant investments in China and Russia, has grown through recent acquisitions but still takes in just a small percentage of its overall revenue from online classifieds. And EBay continues to expand in the classified field, and is dominant in a number of markets like the Netherlands.

The report analyzes international expansion by Backpage, the U.S.-based site that will soon split off from the Village Voice Media weeklies, and an impending competitive battle between two classified sites in Canada.

“This annual is our largest and most comprehensive report on the global classified advertising industry in the 15-year history of Classified Intelligence Report,” Zollman said. “Our global analysts interviewed dozens of key decision makers and collected a wide range of statistical data to provide insights and ideas our clients can apply to their own business models.”

To access the full report, or download a free preview, visit the AIM Group website.

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Note to editors: Peter M. Zollman, founding principal, and Katja Riefler, principal and director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), are available for available for interviews or comments or the research. Zollman is available at 407-788-2780 or; Riefler is available at For free media review copies of the report for editorial use, call 407-788-2780 or email / .

About the AIM Group: The AIM Group, formally the Advanced Interactive Media Group LLC, is the world’s leading consultancy in interactive media and classified advertising. It publishes Classified Intelligence Report, a continuous advisory service often called “the bible of the classified advertising industry.”  Founded in 1998 and based near Orlando, Fla., the AIM Group works with leading media companies, broadcasters, dot-coms, yellow-page publishers and technology companies. It provides strategic and tactical consulting; sales training; proprietary and published research about interactive media; and other services.

Written by Peter M. Zollman

Peter M. Zollman brings more than 35 years of media experience to his role as founding principal of the AIM Group / Classified Intelligence Report. He has worked with a wide range of media companies, dot-coms, technology providers and start-ups to develop and expand successful interactive-media services. He is based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., near Orlando.