Offering users their choice of print, web or mobile access to the same large database of classified ads has boosted traffic substantially, says Felix Erken of Junk Mail. The classified advertising business is reportedly busier than ever before, with new mobile channels bringing a younger audience to a well-established marketplace.
"Ten years ago we thought we were doing well running 35,000 ads a month. Now we are easily doing double that number.
"There's a generational shift in the media that people prefer. The 20-something, who enjoyed Junk Mail
in print when it launched in the 1990s have now partly moved to the web, but their grown-up children prefer to buy and sell via their mobile phones. It's still the same experience at heart, just through a different medium."Classifieds-friendly market
He adds that South Africa is a very classifieds-friendly market. "In some wealthier countries people tend to give their old stuff away. Here we have a large middle class of people who on the one hand want to make some extra cash from stuff they do not need or want anymore and on the other hand really enjoy a bargain. Classified ads fill a need.
"It's in some ways a form of entertainment. There is a strong community around Junk Mail
and people are very loyal to the brand. There is a certain element of trust built up. Here is a typical story: A friend bought a used dartboard from someone in another town and accidentally overpaid by R50. He told the seller to include the change with the dartboard when he mailed it - and sure enough, the dartboard arrived with a R50 note taped to the back. There's a feel-good element to these interactions that keeps people coming back."