Interview With Pankaj Agarwal CEO Of – Insights On Online Classifieds Industry

PankajWe caught up with Pankaj Agarwal CEO of, one of the leading horizontal classifieds websites of India. This is one rare story how a website can grow without any funding or a big budget.

Q) Can you brief us about the traction on your website and how you achieved that?

Clickindia was started in April 2007 with a team of 5 people. We have, since beginning, focused on maximizing returns to the users, which in our case is responses per ad posted. Since this is a self funded company, we didn’t have enough cash to spend and gain traction. This turned out to be a boon for us because we were always level headed and focused on product development rather than just create a loud noise in the market.

By end of 2007, we integrated mobile with the website and launched innovative features, like ad posting via mobile, lead by sms, a mobile based site & now sms based push to top service.

We have always listened to our users as they are the best critics of a product/service. Most of the features and services on the website have been, at some point of time, suggested by our users. So, regular interaction with them helps us innovate.

Since august 2008, we have grown 1000%. We now have over 5.5 million unique users a month and growing rapidly.

Q) Who are your major competitors?

Sulekha, craigslist india, quikr, olx

Q) Why online classifieds have not been a rage in India as they are in US with Craiglist?

That’s an interesting question. There are two major reasons for the same:

1.       In India, we have a strong social support system – joint family. We have traditionally sought family’s help on routine search items like general utilities, education, housing etc. This is changing and as more and more people shift to nuclear families, this support system will realign. They will need to depend upon general information platforms like internet and mobile. Once this percolates down to tier 2 & 3 cities, we will see classifieds becoming a regular use service.

2.       The overall internet population in India is limited. Even though it is said to be around 50million, a person accessing Internet atleast weekly is not more than 25-30 million (estimated). Out of this, people looking for search based information would be 15-20 million. This is not a critical mass when compared to US or other developed markets. This number would increase substantially in the next 3-5 years because of two things:

a.       Broadband penetration and lower pc prices making it easily accessible

b.      The young generation which is born in Internet era getting into mainstream economy

Once these two happen, people will get comfortable with the idea of trading used goods online, concept of garage sales will pick up here, which is very popular in US.

Q) How do you compete with classified vertical websites like naukri, magicbricks etc?

We are catering to both segment of users (companies & individuals) & hope to create a free market in future. We will remain a free classifieds business where users need not pay anything to post their ad.

Q) How is your website different from other classified websites?

4 major reasons why we have a strong word of mouth referral:

1.       Clickindia is an extremely easy to use website. It takes an average 40 seconds to create an ad.

2.       We have been able to generate genuine enquiries for our users and therefore have a fiercely loyal member base.

3.       A quick search helps users find relevant information faster.

4.       We have an advanced member section where users can keep track of their ads & responses.

Q) What is your revenue model?

We are presently 100% ad supported. We are exploring additional options but have not zeroed in on anything. However, one thing is for sure, we will keep ad posting free of cost.

Q) Are you planning any tie-ups with other brands?

We are looking for partners that help in expanding our reach and/or provide complementary services.

Q) Are you funded or looking for funds?

We are a self funded company as of now.

Q) Can you tell us about your team?

We have a team of 15 people with varied backgrounds looking after product development and operations.

Q) How are you leveraging the mobile platform?

We have been active in mobile since 2007.

1.      We were pioneers in letting users post ads via mobile.

2.      We have a “send free sms” system where users can receive responses directly on their mobile phones from prospective buyers.

3.      Users can push their ad to top via simple sms which helps them generate more response.

4.      Our mobile website is very popular and currently gets 1 million page views a month.

5.      Users can post their ads via our mobile site as well.

Online classifieds is a INR 800 crore business in India.  In India we have many succesful vertical players ( jobs, matrimony and real estate ). Horizontal space has players like sulekha, quikr, craigslist, olx, clickindia and Rediff localads is also a noticable website providing free classifieds with “talk now facility”.

12 Responses to “Interview With Pankaj Agarwal CEO Of – Insights On Online Classifieds Industry”

  1. August 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    interesting interview. never knew about this site before, but i will now check it.

  2. ravi shekhar
    August 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    congratulations pankaj! this is a great achievement. all the best for your future.

  3. nupur agarwal
    August 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    well said…

  4. Rahul Bhartia
    August 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    good job man & a nice intellectual interview

  5. August 20, 2009 at 2:09 am #

    Congratulations Pankaj… “Over 5.5 million unique users a month” is great achievement in short span with less investment.. Wish you all the best… Gr8 job porush…

  6. Amrita
    August 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Good interview.. All the best.

  7. Praveen Grover
    September 14, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Keep it up sucess is with you

  8. J.Shakur
    October 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Clickindia is a Fraud website. Some of us may not knw why i call it fraud. Let me tell u…. Clickindia is a classified ads websites. We all knw posting of ads is free in their website. But the number of ads posted in their website by free customers(internet surfers) is very few to meet the demands of the increasing internet surfers . So The ClickIndia staff members employed us to post ads for their websites for more trafficking and for better options for seaching the right thing in the right location. Nearly all of the ads in the site is posted by us. We collect them from local newspapers, magazines etc. Everybody thinks its a genuine website but they are not. As we know their website grow without any funding or a big budget. It is because they never pay their employees. I myself works in Clickindia. I told them i will post a complaint if you dont pay us. They told us will be paid after 1 or 2 days. But now its more than 1 month now that they didnt pay us. They simply make excuses. Am not trying to DEFAME ClickIndia or insult it. Am just exposing their exploitation.

  9. nagendra
    January 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    first of all congrats for the success. Now a days it is getting common for few free classified website to hire staff to post ads intheir own website and visitors think that there are many users using the website. But finding right info in those free classified websites in difficult and always spam ads.

  10. March 6, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Great to see the achievement of young guys in IT related services.

  11. April 3, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    I have to agree that clickindia is a fraud website, I came across my own name, spelt wrongly, with incorrect services, but with my correct mobile number and landline number. Supposedly 1055 users have rated my services, which i do not even provide. Obviously Fake. I called the CTO cum founder, Sushan Rungta, and he was like, “no sir we dont do things like this”, blah blah. I told him remove the offending ad immediately, and he did. In case you find your information being misrepresented on Clickindia then just call Sushan on his direct mobile number +91-9312098968. Oh BTW, the first comment by Ruchita is also fake, as the URL points to one of Sushan’s websites.

  12. March 3, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Very Inspiration Interview I think Compare to It jobs Blogging Platform is Good…

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