By the very nature of online classifieds sites like craigslist, their operations still rely on a certain amount of trust from its users. Unlike sites which allow businesses to have online shops, thus the ability to establish and maintain a reputation system, classifieds sites are based on a person-to-person business model, so it’s hard for the site to keep a track history of the transactions made a single user. Especially websites like craigslist, which allow anonymous postings.
Even if the site is able to detect and remove fraudulent users from its service, that user can still signup again and again with made up credentials. Making and effort to control this issue is critical for the success of a classifieds site, since it ensures trust amongst its users. One step towards this would be by de-automating the task of publishing ads to avoid bots being able to do it on a massive scale. Also, some degree of social features to a classified sites could help out, since it allows a personal communication to happen between the buyer and the seller, and once that is established, it’s the user’s responsibility to determine if the other party is trustworthy or not.
There’s a fine line we try not to cross though. At Spekios, we’ve given a lot of thought about to be or not be another social website. For the time being, we’ve decided to add only the minimum social features needed so registered users can rest assure they’re dealing with real people, selling real stuff, and not scammers.
You can’t “friend” or “follow” people, since this is not the point of a classifieds website. We try to hold true to our goal of getting buyers and sellers together, and making the buyer’s job easier. You can though, have private conversations with other registered users and get to know them before you actually buy their stuff. If you end up wanting to be friends later, you can always go offline for that 🙂
We are signed up for a chance to pitch Spekios at an international competition. Please help us by voting for us at the following link:
About 10 hours ago, we silently launched a beta version of Spekios, sending out invitatios to about 200 emails we’ve collected from our landing page in the past months.
Here are a few stats:
– 205 emails sent
– 122 people have opened the email
– 90 of them headed over to the site
– Open rate was 44.5% higher than industry average (eCommerce)
58 people have registered on the site (Some of them have already began asking for real stuff)
– 100 hits per minute on our main page during launch time.
These may not be impressive stats for most, but we’re pretty happy taking into account this was only as a result of sending out 200 emails, during night time.
We hope to keep growing 🙂
Thanks everyone who registered.
The guys at came up with this awesome description of what Spekios is all about:
Spekios re-energizes the power of the buyer by turning the traditional online classifieds model inside out. Carving a new dynamic in the market, Spekios lets buyers place just a single post of what they want, so multiple sellers can do the hard work and bid for their business. With a “set-and-forget” approach, buyers can relax and let the whole marketplace come to them, so they can achieve the best possible prices on the highest quality products. With Spekios, everyone else does the hard work – so you can just enjoy your new toy.
Check out how the reverse auction system we’re implementing here at Spekios.com works. Think of it as a reverse craigslist.
How Spekios Works
It’s interesting to see how the same idea can have different outcomes when different people try their take on it. Take Quora.com for example, which seems to be on an impressive ride to the top in terms of popularity. The concept of posting a question and letting others answer it by no means new. In fact, it is exactly what Yahoo Answers did (and failed). The same can be said about Facebook sharing the same core idea as MySpace, or stackoverflow being just another forum-like site. Innovation in the sense of true product or service creation did not happen in the case of these sites. They did not break new grounds with innovative products like eBay or Amazon did back in the days of internet inception. At its core, one could even say the sites mentioned were mere clones of the already existing ones, and it’s very likely what the big players thought about them when they first launched.
So if the idea itself is not what made them stand out, what is? Better funding? Better leaders? I believe they stood out because of one crucial factor: execution.
It seems to me like there’s a wave of innovation not so much in the idea world but in the execution part of the idea. Sites like Groupon. and LetMeGo are just a couple of more examples that come to mind of services trying to solve decade old problems. The difference is that, instead of creating a clone with useless “extra features”, they focused on one single twist to the de facto model and were able to stand out with a true innovative approach.
Facebook did this by focusing on targeted, highly exclusive user demographics. Quora is doing it by focusing on expert answers by expert people. The site itself is designed in such a way as to leave the average Joe out from answering questions in a stupid, non-helpful way (e.g. Yahoo Answers). You should also check out LetMeGo.com if you’re interested in yet another example.
These are just a few examples of how execution is just as important as the idea itself, if not more.
So what other online business models have stagnated over the years and are in desperate need of an innovate twist to come along?
Check out this question I’ve just asked on Quora
What is the best way to promote a startup and attract a decent amount of users to it? Write an answer on Quora