College Classifieds

I heard a lot about college classified sites late last year. A few of them were dormitem, CollegeMedium and chegg. AFAIK Chegg is the leader in this niche. They got $2.2 Million funding in January 2007 and got a $500,000 funding in an earlier round.

I was looking at traffic stats for all these sites on Alexa (don’t have an alternate) and found all of them are pretty much flat. As expected, Chegg lead in the traffic but didn’t impress me that much. It seems like they started really great, but are going down fast. I don’t know if this is related to college schedules, spring break, etc. or simply traffic dropping due to various reasons like competitors (CL, Ebay).

I understand that students need a place to buy/sell cheap books and other stuff. I feel Chegg is easy and simple to use for a student. I am trying to understand why, with an existing market and good usability, these sites are unable to gain momentum?

I think a student does not want to get limited to a site. It is easier to pay and exchange books “locally” on the campus, but you lose the ability to search for cheaper books elsewhere. As a student, I used campusi to find cheap books. The best part of campusi or other similar sites is getting results from a lot of sellers and getting them sorted by price including shipping price in most cases. Most of the time constraints to get the book(s) within a week or so, but I still tried to get the book as cheap as I could. Some of the times I used to order books from Canadian sites or sellers living in East coast.

I think syndicating their data to sites like campusi would help these college classifieds to get an existing user base and an incentive for the sellers to post stuff on these sites. I noticed that dormitem is already syndicating their data to edgeio and Oodle, I think they need to do more than this, but they are on right path.

Syndicating data to Edgeio and Oodle is simple, as both of these sites are looking for this data. However, partnering with these aggregators would be hard as they thrive on afiliate income. Chegg (and others) need to provide some inentive to the aggregators.

Here is an interesting discussion (in comments). For those of you who didn’t know, Chegg tried (is trying?) another business model.

You should follow me on Twitter at @gsharma.
  • http://dormitem.com/ Dan

    Thanks for the shout out! At DormItem, we continue to work to syndicate and decentralize our content – currently we feed out to Oodle and Edgeio, but you will start to see more syndication in the near future with college portals and other niche college sites. I think its great for sellers to have their content in as many places as possible. Stay tuned!

    -Dan
    DormItem

  • http://dormitem.com/ Dan

    Thanks for the shout out! At DormItem, we continue to work to syndicate and decentralize our content – currently we feed out to Oodle and Edgeio, but you will start to see more syndication in the near future with college portals and other niche college sites. I think its great for sellers to have their content in as many places as possible. Stay tuned!

    -Dan
    DormItem

  • http://www.thinkmantra.com Gaurav

    Thanks for the comment Dan. Will keep checking.

  • http://www.gsharma.com Gaurav

    Thanks for the comment Dan. Will keep checking.

  • http://jhaji-jhaji.blogspot.com sanjay jha

    Nameste Gaurav,came through Linked-In and liked the posts of your blog,i would like you to invite to visit my blogs too,and if possible add me in to your Linked-In network,warm regards,
    cheers
    jhaji.

  • http://jhaji-jhaji.blogspot.com sanjay jha

    Nameste Gaurav,came through Linked-In and liked the posts of your blog,i would like you to invite to visit my blogs too,and if possible add me in to your Linked-In network,warm regards,
    cheers
    jhaji.

  • Gaurav

    Hey there,

    This is completely unrelated to the other “Gaurav Sharma” stuff that happens to you. But do you own the blog gsharma.wordpress.com. It has the same title as your blog, so I guess.

    I saw its not been used even once. If you are the one who has that blog, if you’re not gunna use it, can you please let it go. I would like to have a blog by that url (my name is Gaurav Sharma too!), so it would appreciate if you can delete that blog and let me use that url.

    Thanks

  • Gaurav

    Hey there,

    This is completely unrelated to the other “Gaurav Sharma” stuff that happens to you. But do you own the blog gsharma.wordpress.com. It has the same title as your blog, so I guess.

    I saw its not been used even once. If you are the one who has that blog, if you’re not gunna use it, can you please let it go. I would like to have a blog by that url (my name is Gaurav Sharma too!), so it would appreciate if you can delete that blog and let me use that url.

    Thanks