NO) operating print newspapers in Scandinavia and online classifieds in over 20 countries.Not surprisingly, Schibsted’s print business is in structural decline.
In addition, over the past five years, they've launched similar businesses in ~20 other countries (including Italy, Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chile, Romania, etc).
Some have grown to be moderately profitable and others are burdened by heavy investment spending and big losses. Once a site becomes dominant in a local market, the network effect creates huge barriers to entry.
This allows established markets to gradually introduce pricing across verticals to professional sellers and for premium services to consumers.
The strategy in each market is to initially lead with free consumer-to-consumer (“C2C”) listings in order to drive a lot of traffic to their site.
In France (leboncoin.fr), they dominate all four but are in the early stages of monetizing this traffic.
Leboncoin is the most interesting asset within online classifieds given their dominance and long runway for monetization.
Leboncoin is the 8th most popular web site in the country and the 2nd most searched for term on Google France.
For those interested, I’ve attached at the back of this writeup a translated version of an article from Le Monde (Jan 2013) discussing how Leboncoin has become a social phenomenon in France.
Once a critical mass of traffic has been established, they begin charging targeted verticals for access to those consumers.
For example, the site can start charging professional sellers (e.g.
used car dealerships, real estate agents) for placing ads on the site. Over time, established sites can start monetizing from consumers for premium services (bumping the ad to the top of the list for a certain period of time or allowing the consumer to post additional photos).