Wickedin, founded in Italy in March 2010 by a group of entrepreneurs of the online classified ads business, has recently launched its Spanish version (www.wickedin.es), which has already indexed nearly 1 million listings, and its English version (http://www.wickedin.co.uk/); in Uk the company hopes to replicate the same success it has achieved in Spain.

Wickedin’s team of investors is made up of business angels, but the Italian Xool holds the majority of the capital. Xool is a company specializing in Internet marketing classifieds, which launched in 2010 projects like Cityfan, an Italian guide to restaurants, pizzerias, pubs, taverns in the wake of Yelp, and has signed agreements with popular sites like the British Iannounce , the online platform used by 80% of British newspapers to deal with “personal announcements” such as obituaries, birthdays, anniversaries, golden anniversary, and so on. Xool represents Iannounce in Italy where the business exists only on paper.

“This website is undoubtedly “wicked” as it manages to index millions of classified ads from over 500 different sources”, Alessandro Cirinei CEO of Wickedin says.

 Thanks to a powerful search technology and to an effective filtering system which is structured by category, users are able to browse through the search results and, if they wish so, to reply to the ads directly on the inventory’s owner’s website. In case there are no ads, it is possible to activate an email alert and receive updates based on the search criteria. The integration with Google maps allows you to select the ads in relation to a specific geographic area.

“Meta Search Engines such as Wickedin.co.uk are certainly not new. In the online recruitment business, millions of job offers are crawled by websites like Simplyhired and Indeed on a daily basis and made searchable to the users”, Alessandro Cirinei says. According to Cirinei, Wickedin finds its real edge in the fact that it can display not only popular categories such as used cars for sale, homes, and job offers, but also ads from niche markets such as boats, pets, camper vans and even general merchandise.

Wickedin has also developed a compelling widget that allows bloggers and webmasters to show classified ads within their websites. “All you need to do is choose the ads category you wish to show and, if needed, the geographic area. You can pick the colour and the lay out of the widget and then simply cut and past the code generated by the system in your blog. So, for example, if you run a blog about custom motorcycles in Devon, you will be easily able to show Wickedin’s search results for these ads in your area”, Cirinei says.

Showing relevant classified ads allows blog owners to offer contents that are compelling, to increase traffic and the time surfers spend on average on their websites, and, last but not least, to expand their revenue opportunities through Google AdSense. Subscribing to Wickedin’s widget area and digiting the personal AdSense “pub” code you can take home half of the total revenue generated by your pages.

 “Wickedin is an ambitious project which aims at making the entire online inventory of classified ads searchable on a global level”, Cirinei says.

In the coming months the site will be launched in other major European countries starting with France in March 2011; Argentina, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal and Switzerland will follow suit.

According to Bjorn Jingberger, Vice President Sales of Jobrapido.it , the main Italian recruitment search engine with operations in 39 countries, the Italian search engine market is populated by few players that manage to operate in a fragmented market where many new, small companies are present.

Among the other major players there are Jobcrawler.it (job), Trovit.it (generalist), Autoxy.it (automotive), Nestoria.it (real estate).

Marco Cremonesi, GoHome.it Italian country manager, says that search engines are important because their features simplify the life of the users surfing the Net in search for something.

“Vertical search engines such as home, auto, jobs are growing because they offer good profits and they are useful, but I would like to point out that they must not be confused with aggregators: in fact, they are quite different. Aggregators need the XML feed to display the classified website ads on the portal, while search engines have their own robots or spiders or crawlers that allow you to draw data from the sites and give results that are relevant to the specific research launched”, Marco Cremonesi says.

The Gohome.it engine operates like Google, but its robots can only find information relating to real estate ads offering direct links to them. Moreover, when portals and online agencies update their information, Gohome automatically updates its index.

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