Is this the beginning of the end of free Gumtree?

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eBay-owned classified site Gumtree has been a great way to advertise on the internet for free. But – maybe – not for much longer. One of the largest sections on Gumtree in the UK is the property for rent section, and that’s just introduced fees.

Landlords with properties to let, or house-sharers, can now only advertise twice a year for free. After that, they’ll be charged £9.95 per property. Not so bad, perhaps. But what will hit a lot of Gumtree users very hard are the new charges for “bumping” adverts. Gumtree’s search results are ordered by newest listed, so if you want to keep your ad visible, you need to sign in to the site regularly and “bump” it back to the top. And that’s now going to cost you.

Outside London, it’s £2 a day; in the capital, it’s £7.14 a day – working out at just short of £50 a week for the daily bump it will need. The alternative is to sign up for an agent account at £50 a month – which seems expensive if you don’t have a property or two to advertise every month.

Gumtree have ramped up their marketing enormously in the last few months, not least with TV advertising, and it’s a reasonable assumption that eBay won’t let the rest of the platform run as a freebie forever. I know (with my non-TameBay hat on) a lot of landlords who’ve built entire businesses on the assumption that they’ll never have to pay Gumtree for their advertising. If you’re selling anything else on the site, assuming that you’ll always be able to do so for free, now might be the time to start looking at alternative strategies.

10 Responses

  1. Anything that eBay gets its hands on or any feature that eBay introduces as “free” will inevitebly become fee based at some future point.

    Users of “free” eBay owned services should build this into their business model and planning. If they don’t they are doomed!

  2. It is a dangerous transition to introduce fees, especially when they are not linked to an income generating action.

    As if it’s not obvious, the timing, pricing and degree of application are absolutely critical.

    I cite the all Australian site OZtion, which was bought out and recently renamed “Quicksales” (which is a source of mirth in itself). Under it’s original name, this slowly developing start-up gained a significant boost in its growth when eBay’s infamous ‘Paypal only’ campaign hit the scene a couple of years ago.

    Those who tried to support it from its early days were joyous at the influx of members – buyers AND sellers – and the future seemed full of potential … possibly becoming a serious rival to eBay – in Australia, at least.

    Initially, fees were only charged on sales, which was fine. Sellers only had to fork out money from their income. Business sellers could afford to put up a large section of their inventory – which, although a potential risk in categories getting flooded, allowed a significant range of products to be available, which encouraged traffic and growth.

    However, when fees were first introduced for listing, it was the Business seller who was indirectly targeted. Anyone using their bulk listing tool ‘Expresslister’ was charged for listing. Using such a tool is the only practical way for a business to operate. While the concept seemed reasonable, there was a real problem with the arithmetic for many.

    I discussed the situation with one seller I know and they took me through some numbers… On OZtion (now Quicksales) to list a certain group of their items cost just one sixth as much as eBay. However, the return was only 10% of what eBay delivered for a comparable group.

    Now while this seller had not previously been paying for listing on OZtion, they HAD been supporting the site by investing their TIME and resources in it. However, when the P&L starts showing a real cost, there is a fiscal imperative that cannot be ignored.

    This seller had to choose between their hopes for a successful competitive platform to eBay – in the future – or to preserve income in order to keep food on the table – today.

    Reluctantly, they have had to let their presence on OZtion (er, Quicksales) fade – and with that, they took with them somewhere between 500 to 700 quality listings. From the observations I have made, they are not alone.

    The question as to whether this Aussie site will achieve a competitive position against eBay Australia is one I would not like to try and answer, but it is hardly encouraging when a number of sellers who have persevered are using alternative and somewhat disingenuous names for the site. “Slowsales” and “Nosales” are the two most common I have encountered.

    “Is this the beginning of the end of free Gumtree?”

    That is a very good question.

  3. Sorry Mickey Finn , someone has led you up the garden path , the information in your parable regardind express lister on quicksales is false , there is no charge for using express lister never has been in fact there is no listing charge no matter what listing method you use on quicksales only re-listing fees after 60 days and they are 8 cents if done manually or 6 cents if using the new automatic re-list option.
    There is a topic regarding this very thing on their community forum that discussion can be viewed at this url https://www.quicksales.com.au/Community/topic.aspx?t=expresslister&tid=429555

    Mickey it might pay to get the seller who crunched numbers with you to read this discussion and pay particular attention to the posted screen shot of the relevant quicksales fees page contained within this discussion , and perhaps this seller and other perenial knockers of quicksales ( previously Oztion ) could endevour to get their facts right before making future derrogatory comments about site and its fee structure , heaven knows we are facing an uphill battle as it is to compete without having falsehoods randomly splashed about on the worldwide web .
    Apologies to detract from the original subject matter here , but it annoys me no end when I get informed of such uneducated and baseless critisms being made and felt the need to bust the myth.
    On a brighter note it has enabled me to discover and have a quick perusal of this very informative site and I shall bookmark it for future reference .
    Thankyou

  4. A good alternative is https://www.friday-ad.co.uk as it’s free and cheap to ‘bump up’ and get in paper ads.

    I also really like the Right Move iPhone app… very easy to use. Not sure about costs to place properties on there though.

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