Pronto-Media, the holding company of regional classifieds major Trader Media East (TME), has successfully recruited Danila Nikolaev from Russian media major Rambler & Co. The new hire is expected to play a major role in the general online classifieds platform IRR.ru.
At Rambler & Co, Nikolaev was head of Afisha, a major online and print guide that reviews the best food and drink, events, activities and attractions across Russia. The site is a major driver of web traffic due to its rich online content.
TME CEO Nicholas Dadiani and Nikolaev had previously worked together at Rambler & Co, and Dadiani likely wants the Afisha head for his creative input, as TME continues to accelerate its transition from offline to online.
Pronto-Media, a leading Russian publishing company owned by regional classifieds major Trader Media East (TME), has called time on the print version of its general classifieds brand IzRukVRuki (IRR). The company cited the loss-making status of the publication as the primary reason for its closure.
The IRR newspaper was launched in 1992 and was the foundation upon which the online version (IRR.ru) of the same name was developed. In 2008, the newspaper had the largest audience for a daily publication in Russia, with over four million readers.
In trend with the print segment in general, the newspaper saw a sharp contraction in revenue in the past few years. According to TME CEO Nicholas Dadiani, in 2013 the print version was responsible for around 40 percent of total revenue of the IRR business, but by 2014 this share had declined to 25 percent.
The publication started to gather significant losses, and Pronto decided to close it down altogether to focus its priorities on online. The final print edition was published on March 1, 2015.
Haider Ali Khan, CEO of real estate site Bayut.com, announced Bayut.com will launch a CRM software service for real estate agencies soon. This CRM software will be offered in collaboration with an independent company. Also, the CEO announced that during 2015 Bayut.com will expand to new FCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.
Bayut.com offers users flexibility when searching. They can see location maps, nearby amenities, hospitals, schools, parks, grocery stores, markets etc. Users can also calculate the most recent trends in the locations of their choice. All the user has to do, is enter basic information, such as the desired location, budget, and the property type (villa, office, apartment etc.). Prospective buyers or renters are given all the necessary information before they physically go to the location.
The end-users of Bayut.com are both individuals in search of properties, and brokers. Property seekers browse for-sale and to-rent listings provided on the website by registered agents. Upon finding the desired properties, users can get in touch with the agents directly. Furthermore, the user can also take advantage of the marketing tools on Bayut.com, to find out how the property market is performing in a certain area. Both for rental and for-sale properties.
Bayut.com was founded in 2007 by brothers Zeeshan Ali Khan and Imran Ali Khan for the UAE real estate market. In 2006 they founded Zameen.com, the real estate site for the Pakistan real estate market. In 2012 they partnered with an investor who took the company to the next level and became the chairman. The investor was Gilles Blanchard, co-founder of French property site SeLoger.com. In 2014, another invesment came Zameen.com’s way from two venture capital firms, Catcha Group and Frontier Digital Ventures.
SocialCar.com, Spain’s first peer-to-peer auto platform, has raised €800,000 ($800,000 U.S.) in funding from Cabiedes & Partners. This firm is best known in classified advertising for being the sole investor in Trovit.com. Cabiedes put €600,000 into Trovit in the Barcelona-based aggregator’s early days.
SocialCar, founded in Barcelona in 2011 by Mar Alarcón and Francesc Queralt, is essentially an AirBnB for automobiles. Users can advertise their vehicles for short-term hire or rent a car. Unlike some other innovators in the auto space, notably Uber, SocialCar has taken pains to ensure its business model complies with Spanish law according to Alarcón.
The founder, quoted by NovoBrief, noted that a key challenge was streamlining its insurance process. Until last year users had to acquire their own insurance. Now, they can sign up for daily policies to cover the hire car. Simplifying this process will make it easier for tourists, who currently account for about 17 percent of rentals, to use the services.
With investment from the Spanish government’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism; and partners including oil giant Repsol, SocialCar will be hoping to emulate the success of Cabiedes’ previous classified investment. As AIM Group reported, Trovit — which now operates in over 40 countries — was purchased by Japanese firm Next for €80 million late in 2014.
Presently SocialCar has 40,000 registered users.
Automotive service marketplace Openbay will soon offer a mobile-enabled way to remotely diagnose a vehicle’s mechanical problems, and find service providers than can fix the car or truck.
The new Openbay Connect leverages connected-car technology to also store the vehicle’s repair history and offer Openbay Rewards for future service. With Connect drivers can find out what has gone wrong with the vehicle, who can fix it for how much, read provider reviews to choose the right one, pay for the service, schedule the service appointment and export the appointment to their digital calendar.
A select group of users get to try it out this spring, though they must first apply to do so on OpenbayConnect.com.
Openbay is a Cars.com competitor, in that it vies with RepairPal, a service marketplace financially supported by Cars.com and live on its website. Openbay is available on Boston.com, and is expected to expand at least into Canada.
Here’s the announcement:
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today at the New York International Auto Show in New York City, Openbay, the online marketplace for auto repair, launchedOpenbayConnect, a first-of-its-kind platform that leverages connected-car technology to remotely diagnose automotive vehicle problems and deliver competitive repair quotes to consumers from local mechanics. Consumers benefit with OpenbayConnect and Openbay by the competitive choice and convenience they offer for any automotive repair and maintenance service.
“Google Ventures looks to invest in companies that disrupt traditional markets”
“We live in an on-demand society, and today’s connected consumers expect immediate responses to their needs. Fewer people are raising a hand to hail a cab or calling a restaurant to book a reservation, and now, we’re eliminating the need to head to a mechanic to diagnose a check-engine light,” said Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay. “OpenbayConnect will remotely determine cause, cost and availability to perform the repair by local mechanics, answering virtually every driver’s need for efficient, affordable auto repair service.”
“Google Ventures looks to invest in companies that disrupt traditional markets,” said Rich Miner, General Partner, Google Ventures. “Openbay’s app solves the broken auto repair process in a few clicks, making automotive repair easier for drivers and auto shops alike.”
OpenbayConnect In Action
When a vehicle experiences a problem, OpenbayConnect wirelessly gathers and analyzes vehicle diagnostic data. The data is then analyzed, translated from trouble codes into plain language, and, if the issue warrants an immediate service, the information is delivered to local auto repair shops all via the Openbay platform – all without human intervention. Those shops assess the data and may respond with an offer to complete the service, along with a binding price.
Choosing a shop – based on location, ratings and reviews, and price – and securing an appointment via Openbay may be completed in as few as three taps. Openbay processes payment, via credit card or Apple Pay, only after the agreed-upon repair or maintenance is performed. OpenbayConnect’s service is completely free to vehicle owners.
Then & Now: Vehicle Diagnosis
Of the 250-million vehicles in operation on U.S. roads, 72% of them are more than five-years old, and in need of service between two and three times per year.
When a mechanic encounters a modern-day vehicle with a problem, the initial approach is to have the consumer bring the vehicle in for a diagnosis. The mechanic almost always first connects a hand-held scanner to the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port. Those ports, often located below the steering wheel, transmit vehicle error codes and other important data generated by the car’s onboard computers, helping to quickly pinpoint vehicle problems or better understand the cause and effect of the problem.
The vehicle’s OBD port is a valuable central data source; it delivers information gathered from a multitude of sensors, including those for vital engine components, and is essential to troubleshooting issues in today’s vehicles.
Now, by leveraging connected-car technology, OpenbayConnect eliminates the need for consumers to bring the vehicle to a shop for a diagnosis. OpenbayConnect will wirelessly gather vehicle data via a connection established in one of two ways:
- External Device: Self contained, consumer-installable wireless communication device that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD II port. These ports are available on vehicles manufactured on/after 1996. Approximately 81% of vehicles on U.S. roads today are ready for OpenbayConnect.
- Built-in Vehicle Telematics: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) embedded telematics system.
- Receive competitive service offers for repair and maintenance — no human intervention required
- Remote diagnosis of vehicles’ problems; eliminates the need to bring a vehicle to a mechanic to get scanned.
- Automated alerts of problems in simple language.
- Recommended simple solutions for vehicle owners to perform, e.g. “tighten fuel cap.”
- Automatic communication of urgent vehicle problems to local mechanics.
- Competitive choice and convenience for automotive repair services
- Delivers competitive, binding offers – not estimates – from local mechanics.
- Shops’ prices often range by 30-50%; there’s significant opportunity to save while working with a well-rated shop.
- Prices for quoted services are final, and include all fees; from oil- and tire-disposal fees to taxes.
- Select provider based on location, customer ratings and review, and price.
- Schedule a service appointment and export to calendar.
- Service History Maintained Online
- Vehicle repair and maintenance history is automatically maintained online. Openbay’s web and mobile app sync for anytime access to service history.
- Being able to demonstrate regular repair and maintenance via electronic records could serve as a used-vehicle selling point.
- Additional Savings on Future Repairs with Openbay
- Openbay Rewards are earned for each completed service.
OpenbayConnect will be made available, beginning this spring, to a select user base, both directly from Openbay and through its partners. Consumers, as well as businesses fleets, are encouraged to apply for access to OpenbayConnect at http://www.OpenbayConnect.com
Openbay is an award-winning online marketplace helping consumers comparison shop for automotive repair and maintenance service saving upward of 50% by shops competing for their business. Openbay is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, is privately held and its investors include Google Ventures, a16z seed, Boston Seed Capital, Stage 1 Ventures and several individual investors.
Connecting with Openbay and OpenbayConnect:
OpenbayConnect, Openbay and the Openbay and OpenbayConnect logos are trademarks of Openbay, Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
On April 7, when ListHub stops sending listings to Zillow and Trulia, the two real estate giants will be publishing more property listings than they did when relying on ListHub. Zillow also claims that the ads will be more accurate, more robust and more timely (The latter because Zillow’s Data Dashboard now offers the same 15-minute listing update as has long been Realtor.com’s differentiator.)
“Come April 8, our listings will be more robust and accurate than ever before – a huge benefit for consumers and agents as we head into home selling season,” Zillow Group chief industry development officer Errol Samuelson said in the announcement.
Zillow Group also announced 16 new multiple listing service (MLS) partners.
Here’s the announcement: (more…)
Schibsted Classified Media (SCM) announced on its site (here) it’ll exercise a call option to buy the 26 percent of Italian job site InfoJobs.it it doesn’t already own.
It has been the majority shareholder of InfoJobs.it and “will buy the remaining 26 percent to strengthen our position in the Italian classified market”, the company said.
Schibsted Classified Media also owns Subito.it, the No. 1 trading platform in Italy and steadily among the top ten most visited Italian online brands (source: Audiweb Total Digital Audience – 2014 average).
“The decision to exercise the call option on the remaining InfoJobs.it shares is a natural move to further strengthen our position in the Italian market. Subito.it is the leading general classifieds site in the Italian classifieds market, and a clear success story for Schibsted. But, its presence in the jobs vertical is still marginal. With the acquisition of 100 percent of InfoJobs.it, Schibsted will be able to strengthen its presence also in the jobs vertical and thereby offer an even broader range of services to Italian users,” said Gianpaolo Santorsola, senior vice president of Schibsted Classified Media.
InfoJobs.it is an online job site with more than 700 new job offers every day. In 2014 InfoJobs.it reached 5.5 million candidates, and more than 70,000 companies, with 36,000 active job offers every month, according to the company.
Seeking to expand the number of listings, Acheter-Louer.fr partnered with SNPI, France’s National Association of Real Estate Professionals, and said the partnership should help it reach its target of 1.5 million listings in 2015.
“We started working with SNPI to gather all listings from its members,” CEO Fabrice Rosset told Immomatin. In exchange, the union negotiated “very competitive” rates on subscriptions to services offered by Acheter-Louer.fr, such as creating websites, mobile applications, or targeted emailing.
SNPI already has a partnership with the site for professionals SeLoger, which offers its members discounted ad posting services.
Acheter-Louer.fr passed a symbolic mark of one million listings in March 2013. The portal also worked hard on traffic acquisition recently, and partnered with high-visibility sites such as Liberation.fr to boost its audience. It now has 200,000 unique monthly visitors to the site Acheter-Louer.fr and an additional two million come from partner sites.
Earlier Acheter-Louer.fr partnered with Ubiflow, a vendor for many of France’s portals, for multi-listing of its ads.
After restructuring its debt in 2013, and following a switch from a primarily paper-based to an online business, Acheter-Louer.fr continues to work hard on gaining momentum in France’s online real estate market.
Naspers’ Allegro, the most popular e-commerce service in Poland, will shut down its user forum Cafe Allegro in April this year. Instead, the site launched a fan page on Facebook called Allegro Help.
Allegro decided on the change, due to the drastic decrease in activity on the forum in the last months. On Cafe Allegro users were able to submit various problems associated with the use of the site and discuss its various functionalities.
Now all the user-help related issues have been moved to the Allegro Help profile page on Facebook (here). It currently has 300 fans. Allegro also plans to launch a new forum dedicated only to its sales manager and WebAPI.
Allegro Group has 12.2 million real users who generate 2.7 billion page views each month. These results give the Allegro Group a 57.1-percent share of the Polish e-commerce market (source: PBI/Gemius, 11/2014).
Swiss real estate site Homegate.ch launched an updated version of its IOS app. The new IOS version enables users “to create and publish ads directly in only five steps” on Homegate.ch using an IOS mobile device, as the company announced on its site.
Users can create and manage an account from their IOS device by filling out four mandatory fields in the app, with ads being automatically buffered afterwards, making it possible to insert an ad later from a mobile device, or desktop PC.
A new feature is the “Swype” function that allows users to erase, edit, archive or re-activate ads on Homegate.ch. New is also that pictures can be taken directly with the Homegate IOS app for uploading to the platform.
Tamedia’s real estate site Homegate is currently the leading platform for real estate ads in terms of number of listings (85,000) and traffic (1.7 million unique clients, NET-Metrix Audit 2/2015) in Switzerland. It is slightly ahead of Ringier’s real estate site ImmoScout24.ch (69,000 listings; 1.5 million unique clients).
Looking at traffic numbers on mobile devices, the picture changes. Here ImmoScout24 is in front in traffic from IOS and Android devices, with 151,000 unique clients measured by NET-Metrix Mobile in February. Nevertheless Homegate has been gaining ground, reaching now 94,000 unique clients, which is 30 percent more than a year ago.
The new IOS app, which enables users also to insert and manage their listings directly from the mobile device, might become a growth driver for Homegate.ch, since ImmoScout24’s apps do not offer any classifieds management functions.