Victus Spiritus


Learning from Competition

09 Sep 2010

While doing marketing research for GarageDollar this week I visited several map based sale update sites and twitter accounts. Most were graveyards of activity, a sign that their creators gave up due to a lack of discovered/perceived market, or conceded the market to a few winners. This is par for the course with startups and new businesses. It takes concentrated effort, a super network, and fantastic luck (or timing) to successfully breathe life into a novel social pattern.

I came across a few high quality search sites. Some have developed complimentary apps or subscription tools (listed below*). But the finest interface site I came across has been around since 2007. has a solid interface, a garage sale routing tool for directions, and specialized pins for large scale sales. The source of their listings was clearly Craigslist and back links to the original listings were included (pro move). Some of the addresses were scraped incorrectly which is a function of converting unformatted text to a mappable location. This high quality site has been around for 3 years in some form and has between 20-90k monthly visitors (seasonal) according to Alexa's analytics tools. Impressive for a new site, but far from a viral success 3 years in (not even ramen profitable).

Craigslist dominates classified listings, and combined with local papers and signs are the current market leaders in advertising local second hand sales. The transition from listings in papers to Craigslist is an easy one for sellers. It's time to introduce the market to even more efficient alternatives.

It's the buyers that benefit immediately from automatic mapping and quality listings. If active buyers can frictionlessly find a local sale, this will feedback to increased purchases from the sellers.

Lessons learned about the second hand local sales market:

* = List of Garage Sale Sites: Did I miss your high quality garage sale site? Please comment and I'll add your site to the list.