Gumtree.co.za, the No. 1 general classified site in South Africa, has beefed up its security in the wake of fraud attempts, as increasing numbers of sellers have turned to the platform.

Following the limited success of marketing efforts over 2020 and 2021, promoting tips on how to avoid scammers, Gumtree.co.za launched a new and improved app on May 8. It comes with a newly-developed intelligent ID verification system designed to keep buyers safe, according to a blog post by vertical and brand marketing manager, Estelle Nagel. It also has a new design and interface to improve the user experience.

Gumtree has been promoting its app’s enhanced safety features via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “Gummies” who decode clues to identify ‘fake’ listings until the end of July are in with a chance of winning ZAR1,000 ($62 U.S.) each week. Other marketing efforts include bright images with slogans such as “A brand new app, to buy or sell your pre-loved goods.”

The app relaunch follows a partnership that Gumtree.co.za struck with MFC, a division of Nedbank, in Jul. 2021, helping users secure safe, private finance for vehicles.

Gumtree — which is the leading horizontal in the country based on SimilarWeb data — hopes its differentiation strategy will help keep the company afloat and the platform relevant, despite strong competition from the popular Facebook Marketplace.

In a 2021 interview with the AIM Group, head of marketing Michael Walker cited Facebook as a major competitor. “Just their sheer size highlights why they need to be watched,” he told us. Claire Cobbledick, general manager of Gumtree.co.za, reiterated these sentiments on Radio 702 on Feb. 16.

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