Romania’s Lajumate seeks partners to expand abroad

04 May 2017

In Romania, the general classified site Lajumate.ro dethroned OLX.ro in the real estate category in April. The site plans to expand abroad and is searching media partners.

In April, Lajumate had over 210,000 property listings for sale or rent – nearly 15,000 more than OLX. Announcing this achievement, Lajumate project manager Matei Garici said the increase in the number of ads was a natural consequence of the company’s efforts in the real estate segment.

In the past few months, the site carried out several activities to promote its real estate category, including the most complex real estate survey in Romania. The company also launched the real estate vertical HomeZZ.ro in August 2016.

Launched in October 2015 as part of the local media company Antena TV Group, Lajumate.ro quickly drew attention to itself with spectacular growth and an aggressive TV campaign. In February 2016, it announced that it beat its main rival OLX.ro in the auto category in terms of number of listings (more). Now, the company said it outnumbered OLX in the real estate category.

HomeZZ was the group’s first vertical. CarZZ.ro, the second vertical site launched by Antena TV Group at the end of 2016, currently has more than 130,000 auto listings. JobZZ.ro is the latest site launched by Antena Group in March 2017, dedicated to the job market. In the few weeks since launch, about 20,000 jobs in all categories have been listed there (more).

New concept that works and is ready to be replicated abroad
The mastermind behind these projects is Cosmin Ghinea (LinkedIn profile), the former country manager of Schibsted’s general classified site Tocmai.ro. He and part of his team were hired by Antena TV Group to start the digital division after Schibsted exited the Romanian market and its Tocmai site was merged with OLX in April 2015 (more).

Cosmin Ghinea told us, while Lajumate.ro is trying to innovate the classifieds market with a concept to promote the ads of Lajumate users on TV, the approach to promoting ZZ verticals is different. The company wants to give ZZ verticals an urban and fun image – as you can see in the spots (HomeZZ, CarZZ, JobZZ).

All the ZZ verticals and Lajumate employ a freemium model, making money on listing promotion and display advertising. The ads posted on verticals get double visibility, in the sense that they are automatically also listed on Lajumate.ro. There are no plans for paid listing at this moment.

According to Ghinea, the marketing concept of the sites contributed most to the success of the project. However, the second important success factor was OLX’s introduction of fees in late 2015.

“At the time OLX launched fees, we had been on the market for two months, but already had about 40,000 ads in the car category. So, we actually had quite a good start. The timing of OLX.ro and its approach boosted Lajumate.ro, which was bad for them in terms of communication, in my opinion. And, of course, good for us,” told us Ghinea.

As revealed by Ghinea, Antena TV Group has started considering the option of going abroad with this concept. The Republic of Moldavia is an option (due to the same language), but there is nothing prepared yet.

“We want to explore this option with, for instance, simple, exploratory discussions with potential partners from outside. We can provide all that is needed, including project development, customer support, marketing strategy, also a business case. Basically, we can handle every aspect of the business, and we need a partner to support the media,” said Ghinea.

Fierce competition from OLX 
Antena TV Group’s Lajumate and all its verticals face strong competition from Naspers’ OLX in Romania. The site has already managed to reconquer the No. 1 position in the auto category by redirecting its strategy and removing fees for the vast majority of users.

At the time of writing, OLX has about 140,000 auto listings and Lajumate about 80,000. However, as emphasized by Cosmin Ghinea, Lajumate didn’t lose the ads, or the traffic, in the auto category. When Lajumate was No. 1, it had about 90,000 auto listings.

Also, in August 2016, OLX announced major steps to expand in the real estate field with the launch of a dedicated site for real estate Storia.ro, personalized packages for estate agents, and the launch of a CRM platform (more).

In March this year, OLX.ro received 27 million visits, while Lajumate.ro counted 3.6 million visits (desktop and mobile websites) in the same month, as measured by SimilarWeb.com.

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Andrzej Sowula

Andrzej Sowula has been a writer and an analyst for AIM Group since March 2013, focusing on the Polish market. As a journalist, he has worked in Poland for regional newspapers and national Internet-focused magazines for almost a decade. He has also substantial both in-house and in a PR agency experience as a PR specialist. Currently, he owns a small PR consultancy in Poland called PR Solutions. Andrzej has graduated from Journalism, Political Science and Business and Management at Jagiellonian University. He lives and works in Krakow.