Mobile Classifieds: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Mobile classifieds platform Gumiyo announced that it had raised a second round of funding. The company characterizes itself as a mobile marketplace but it's attacking the traditional classifieds categories: jobs, cars, real estate and dating.

While there's no question that people will eventually want access "on the go" to classifieds content; the questions are when and whether a mobile-only site can succeed. Gumiyo is competing with a small number of other mobile classifieds vendors, but a far larger group of online classifieds providers that are building WAP sites or SMS capabilities (e.g., Craigslist, Oodle, Cars.com).

Content critical mass is critical. And there, absent partnerships for data, the established online brands will win. In addition those providers already have usage and to varying degrees consumer trust. And the mobile market and related consumer use of mobile for classifieds is not yet well established enough to support a mobile only provider.

A more likely scenario and model for a company like Gumiyo would be as a platform and mobile enabler of third-party classifieds publishers such as traditional newspapers and local "shoppers." While that's not as sexy as a B2C play it's more likely to succeed.