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Big-Box Retailer Sets Up Competing Yard Sale

Media Morph: Classified Ads From Wal-Mart

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: classified ads from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart Classifieds
WHAT IT IS: Not content with simply chipping away at the businesses of fellow retailers, Wal-Mart has quietly entered the classified-advertising fray, adding Craigslist and eBay-owned Kijiji to its list of competitors. The free site, now in beta, is run through Oodle.com and links to that company's listings. It also draws on its partners, the Washington Post and Cox Media.

WHAT YOU'LL FIND: Everything, including the kitchen sink. According to Ravi Jariwala, a Wal-Mart spokesman, the venture allows Walmart.com to provide an array of products and services which are not typically available from the retailer. Consumers can buy a Fort Lauderdale condo in foreclosure for $700k, a baby grand piano for $4,900 or a whole pack of pygmy goats, if the mood strikes.

THE MARKETER POV: "We recently launched Walmart.com Classifieds beta to provide additional opportunities for our customers to save money and live better. This free, community-based resource allows customers to buy and sell items locally, find local jobs and learn about events in their area," said Mr. Jariwala. "It also further connects our community of 130 million customers who shop the Wal-Mart brand each week."

THE SKEPTICISM: Wal-Mart has a mixed history of success with web businesses. In February 2007, after dabbling with movie downloads, it launched a video download beta, which was shuttered in December of the same year. It is also the first retailer to attempt to break into an arena traditionally dominated by local newspapers, and in more recent years, the online clearing house Craigslist. Walmart.com does, however, attract somewhere in the neighborhood of 29 million visitors a month in the U.S., according to comScore.
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