Ebay Keeps Trying With Classifieds

Ebay is trying — again — to challenge Craigslist in the U.S. classifieds market with a relaunch of its Kijiji classifieds site. The company is renaming the site eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) Classifieds — a move which it says provides “a familiar and trusted brand name” to buyers.

And it’s emphasizing several attributes that position the free site as a counter to Craigslist. For instance, it describes the new site as “family-friendly” with no “adult-related content” (Contrast that with the uproar over erotic services ads on Craigslist) and clutter-free (“All those links you see on some sites? You won’t encounter that clutter here,” eBay says). eBay is also launching an iPhone app so that people can easily find and post listings (Craigslist has none).

The changes come less than three years after Ebay quietly launched Kijiji in the U.S. Back then, eBay downplayed the site’s ties to its parent and didn’t even direct eBay traffic to it. That has now completely changed. Along with the new name, eBay is promoting the site with a teaser on the top of its home page.

Ebay doesn’t break down the revenue — or traffic — of its classifieds sites, which include several big properties outside the U.S. What’s clear though is that Kijiji has failed to slow Craigslist’s revenue growth and metrics like Compete and Quantcast show it badly trailing Craigslist in traffic.

Ebay owns a stake in Craigslist but the two companies are battling in court over the relationship. One recent revelation from the trial: Craigslist CEO Craig Newmark said he had never visited eBay’s classifieds site.