Ouedkniss is an online classified advertising platform that allows the individual and professionals to post advertisements.
Ouedkniss’s headquarters is based in Algiers, Algiers Province. Ouedkniss
This is a story of Algeria’s eighth most visited website that was started eight years ago when police showed up to shut down a suburban street market. For much time the market would regularly pop up on a street called Oued Kniss in the Algiers suburb of Kouba. “It was really nice concept,” people would easily buy, sell, and also swap anything they could visualize, from television sets to carpets.
Top Keywords include: ouedkniss auto, ouedkniss immobilier, ouedkniss emploi & ouedkniss moto — users are looking for everything from jobs, cars and other means of transportation.
This time many teens of Algeria are working on blogs and like the other teens, Bouzid and his four friends also dreamt of starting a blog. The five friends were Bouzid, Hichem Soudah, Amine Benmouffok, Ahmed Bouaouina, and Djamel Eddine Dib. They have already an idea to set up a classified platform for their friends but when Oued Kniss’ souk closed, they hurry their plans and getup in a nearby cybercafé and create their website. By this homage to street market, they sensed played a great part in Algiers’ identity and named it Ouedkniss.
There are a few websites in Algeria in 2006 and they were not thinking about making money. There were just a few Skyblogs, forums, and a couple of information websites. And, all they were want to leave their mark on the internet world.
First Year of E-Marketing
In the first year, there are a few visitors come to a website that is not more than 20 visitors per day and also a handful of classifieds posted by their colleagues and friends. Gradually, however, the word spread. At last, the team of Ouedkniss was invited to one of the first e-marketing events in Algeria in 2007 and it was the big day for this website that this website hosted 2,000 visitors in one day. Bouzid remembers “this was a record for us”
Only after entering the university did the real increase in the number of these five friends take place. Each of them could play a great role to easily convert hundreds of students. At that time students were the ideal target, as they were interested in the possibilities offered by the internet and they all wanted to try something new in their life. Quickly the word spread elsewhere their universities and The site became a trend.
“Many people have told us they started using the internet because of Ouedkniss,” says the cofounder. It was on Ouedkniss, he says, that many people bought something online for the first time or searched for an apartment or car for the first time.
Change to the advertising website
After three years of developing a website and tweaking their product, and letting Algerians make Ouedkniss their own, the five friends have decided to step it up and began great advertising the website, for Internet users and those who have not yet come online. In focusing on online ads running and Facebook to promote the service, they differed from their Moroccan counterparts who invested heaved heavily on TV and also on billboards to get non-internet users to join. “You can find Algerians who don’t even have an email address or use the internet, but use Facebook, so we decided to target them.”
When there’s no rush to monetize
Because of the students who were more interested in making something than getting rich, these five friends took their time before making money from the website.
They take a step further in 2009 and launched their Store offer, provide a monthly subscription that gave professionals an online store with a pre-defined number of classified ads.
They initially faced some resistance from top customers, who were not willing to pay for anything for free. So, the team change its policies and dropped the prices to 1,000 Algerian dinars for 100 adverts. They said “It was so cheap, people couldn’t refuse it,”
By the top of 2011, the startup had only had 100 professional sellers, but the beta was deemed successful, then the team moved on and hired a sales rep to succeed in brick-and-mortar shop owners in their own shops. In a year, the amount of Ouedkniss Stores increased sixfold.
The Stores were, of course, not the sole monetizing route the team explored. In 2010 they began to sell ads on the location. “It took us an extended time,” laments the cofounder. “I tried [managing ad sales] myself from 2009 to 2010, but I gave up,” he continues, explaining that advertisers didn’t get the web. “They were old-fashioned, and thought the web wasn’t serious enough.” Now, the startup has mostly outsourced this job to a couple of ad networks.
A ten-year vision
At last, the website reaches its peak point, and after eight years of patience, and persistence, Ouedkniss now boasts 250,000 visits a day and becomes the first Algerian website in the country to gain such a vast number of visitor. Looking rapidly at neighboring countries – with international and also significant players merging in Morocco, and Tunisia being attacked by Schibsted’s Tayara – could anyone have expected self-funded Ouedkniss remaining independent for therefore long? “We’ve had offers, mostly coming from the center East back in 2008,” says Bouzid, “but we don’t like the idea of having investors, we have our vision of what Ouedkniss could be in 10 years.”