In decade of buy, and sell, dubizzle is a mirror for the UAE

Starting as a website for people to sell second-hand items 10 years ago, it has grown into an almost essential service that has helped people to find properties, cars and jobs.

DUBAI // As the face of the UAE has changed over the last decade, much of that rapid growth has been mirrored by dubizzle.

Starting as a website for people to sell second-hand items 10 years ago, it has grown into an almost essential service that has helped people to find properties, cars and jobs.

In its decade, the website has seen many weird and wonderful items sold.

Among them was a Dh3 million golden frog, a Boeing aircraft and even a second-hand toothbrush.

Dubizzle is known for more than just buying and selling. Many users find friends and even partners through sale transactions.

Also, the design, featuring the flaming head logo, has undergone updates, with the latest in February.

However, the most significant change has been the growing importance of its smartphone app and mobile site.

“I would say about 60 per cent of our visits is now done on the app and mobile website,” said Bilal Bajwa, chief product and technology officer at dubizzle.

Irina Katchan, dubizzle’s product marketing manager for Items for Sale and Mobile App, said the website had undergone huge changes.

“Not only aesthetically but also in terms of user experience, we have had to develop,” she said.

“We have noticed an increase in the use of our mobile app over the years and that is becoming more popular.”

Although the skeleton of the website has remained the same, functions have been added, such as logging in via Facebook, saved searches and favourites.

“Users have become more demanding and we have been trying to meet that demand and, as the technology has improved, we have tried to keep pace with that,” said Ms Katchan.

“We have come such a long way from working out of an apartment and then moving to a small office above a supermarket, and, as we grew, moving to a villa and now we are in offices in Media City.”

Demand is reflected in the huge increase in page impressions, from a million a month in 2005 to 270 million a month across the website, app and mobile website now.

“For my section, the most popular items tend to be furniture and mobile phones,” she said. “Dubai and the UAE are such transient places that people move regularly not just in and out of the country but within the country itself.”

Khalid Maroof, an administrative worker from Pakistan, said: “When we moved from Abu Dhabi to Dubai last year we used Dubizzle to sell some of our furniture and got buyers reasonably quickly.

“The great thing is that there is a real community that has developed on the site.”

Typically, the first quarter of each year tends to be the busiest, with Dh3.44 billion worth of items posted on the for sale section during that period last year.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, dubizzle is inviting users to “sell” their best dubizzle-related stories and be in with a chance to win Dh1,000 via its social media channels.

nhanif@thenational.ae

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