My initial test drive of Yakaz was a mixed bag of experiences. I started by trying to create an account directly through their web site. Everything seemed to go well, but going on 1 hour I still had not received my verification email, which pretty much left my account useless. I finally caved and used Facebook Connect to log onto the site. I’m sure this is one of those temporary glitches with a start-up, but if you’re impatient you can save some time by using your Facebook credentials.
The default view on the home page is of classified ads from across the United States. I felt this was a good place to start to familiarize myself with the kinds of ads running on Yakaz. The US view showed a wide array of ads covering cars, job offers, pets, real estate, fish tanks and furniture. For the most part, all the ads in the US view look liked they came from actual people posting to Yakaz. Responding to ads was as simple as selecting “Reply to this post” and your near instant conversation with the poster begins.
Wanting to dig a little deeper and see what was for sale in my town, I decided to do a little browsing around the Austin section. Here I found a much different sampling of ads. Most of the ads in the Austin section did not have a “Reply to this post” option, but instead offered you option to “Save this post” or click through to a specific URL.
It looks like the cause of this is that the listings with “Save this post” originate from other sites such as eBay, Craigslist, AutoTrader, etc. As anyone who has launched classified ads can tell you, one of the greatest challenges is the chicken before the egg scenario. How do you get an audience without ads and how do you get ads without an audience? In this case, it looks like Yakaz is borrowing chickens by listing and linking to ads from other websites. I suppose these could be syndication or affiliate deals with these websites, but I could find no indications either way.
Posting to Yakaz is fairly easy. At the top of the “ads” view is a field that says “Tell your neighborhood…”, simply clicking on that field allows you to start filling out your ad. Yakaz has a few clever tricks when you enter your ad including automatically figuring out the price and category based on the text from the ad itself.
While the jury might be out on the size of Yakaz’s audience and the response rate advertisers might get from listings, at “free” the price is right and might be worth an experiment or two. At the very least, perhaps you could try to get rid of that elliptical machine doubling for a clothes rack in your guest bedroom.