Could Meg Whitman make Zaarly into eBay.2

We TameBay editors have often talked about ex-eBay execs. What happens once they leave eBay, how long do we continue to blog about them and quite frankly will anyone care? Well in this case it might be worth noting – Meg Whitman (now CEO of HP) has just joined the board of directors of Zaarly.

No one has heard of Zaarly (at least not that I’m aware of), so why does this matter? Well Zaarly aim to build a marketplace enabling people to ask for anything from people nearby. They currently have a few dozen employees- That sounds very much like an up and coming marketplace business that Meg joined once before. That company was called eBay and they too only had a dew dozen employees when Meg joined them. Meg went on to oversee the growth of eBay to the marketplace it is today, so the question is could she do it again?

Zaarly aims to build a community driven ad-hoc, consumer-to-consumer business largely on a mobile platform. Listen to eBay PR and everything is mobile these days – could Zaarly bridge the gap between you, and whoever has what you want, the skills you want, or the spare time to do the jobs you want done? Want a DJ for a party, a builder, or just someone to feed the cat and walk the dog when you’re away for a night? Zaarly might be able to connect you with the person that you need.

Zaarly isn’t available in the UK yet, but apparently has over 100,000 members and they’re growing. They’ve also just landed a $14.1M investment.

Meg Whitman did it once with eBay, could she do it again with Zaarly?

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Interesting, one to watch...

Mark T • 26th October 2011 •

Terrible, terrible name.

Dan Wilson • 26th October 2011 •

I guess that there aren't that many six letter URLs left unused :D

Chris Dawson • 26th October 2011 •

when whitman did it with ebay there was no ebay no gum tree no amazon, to compete with

northumbrian • 26th October 2011 •

Agreed. And there are already sites and services out there that have tried to do this sort of thing. I can see the mobile angle giving it an edge, but I'm just not sure that this concept equals cash. Although, I notice some investors strongly disagree with me. ;o)

Dan Wilson • 26th October 2011 •

$14.1m investment... I wonder how much she would've been offered on Dragon's Den? Does someone know something we don't?

Mike • 26th October 2011 •

eBay couldn't get it to work with Kijiji (now eBay Classifieds) so wonder what makes Meg think it will work now? Maybe because it's a mobile app? Also, is it just me or is the teaser video incredibly boring?

Dillon Prime • 27th October 2011 •

I don't expect it to do well I can't begin to imagine how a market like that can begin to work Let's see

bicyclerubber • 29th October 2011 •

Many of the items that fit into this sort of thing-Walking the dog, building a garden shed, painting and decorating etc etc are really local - perhaps up to about 5 miles away maximum. Often in fact we find somebody to do them by word of mouth. I really could not see myself hiring somebody from say London(300 miles away) to walk my dog(if I had a dog). So I find myself thinking that in a large city such as London it might work but in deepest darkest Cornwall or any other rural area I suspect that Word of Mouth combined with the many local Free Newspapers and Newsagents Windows will win hands down.

Chris • 29th October 2011 •

So where do the majority of people live?

JD • 30th October 2011 •

And this is launched in the US where sizeable conurbations are often hundreds of miles apart. This is an updated extension to the 'wanted' adds in my local paper, which were both sparse and often filled by traders trying to buy cheaply. So, no I think that this is getting towards the bottom of the barrel for any possible UK launch.

JD • 30th October 2011 •

I suspect that you are right. Even in large conurbations I find myself doubting if it will work. Lets take dog walkers. In just about every area it is likely that there are dog walkers. Anybody who wants a dog walker probably already knows others with dogs and will ask them who walks dogs in their area. They will be recommended A, B and C and warn about D and E. So they contact A,B and C. Why would they be interested in somebody from miles away who might be the equivalent of D and E? No it will always generate a bit of interest but nothing spectacular.

Chris • 30th October 2011 •

the whisper is X, Y,& Z, are to be watched

northumbrian • 30th October 2011 •

Especially if the Drive an Aston Martin and live in a Castle.

Chris • 30th October 2011 •