Several outlets are reporting that (primarily) mobile marketplace Zaarly has received $14 million in new funding and Meg “eBay” Whitman is joining the company’s board. No doubt Whitman will help Zaarly improve and refine its UX and model.
If the site can achieve some kind of critical mass it can work. However right now it’s too complex and “random” to be of much value. But the $14 million will sustain it for some time.
The classifieds game online has been won/lost and is dominated by Craigslist and verticals. Even eBay’s Kijiji failed and has now been rebranded as eBay Classifieds.
Mobile classifieds sites and marketplaces launched a coupe of years ago and basically failed. Smartphone penetration of nearly 50% in the US and abroad now makes them more viable. However they need to be dead simple and have sufficient usage. You have a real case of the “chicken and egg problem” in local classifieds: without enough traffic and activity there’s little incentive to list your stuff for sale; and without stuff people aren’t inclined to visit.
I’m skeptical that Zaarly will succeed but I’m ready to be proven wrong.