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30 November 2023

Selling your car online: Do paid ads work better than free ones?

Classified sites and community pages play an integral role in cracking right deal online. (Shutterstock)

By Sneha May Francis

Upgrading your car while shopping around for a good deal on your old car is a phenomenon most expats in the UAE will identify with.

This possibly explains why classified sites and community pages play such an integral role in cracking the right deal.

While the options are plenty, we at Emirates24|7 decided to ask a few online advertising experts on what works and what doesn’t.

“It’s tough to pick one right model,” insists Mehmet Eronat, owner and founder of Eronat Online Media. “Free classifieds works for some while paid ones work for others.”

There are several online classifieds including Dubizzle, which charges Dh199 for posting car adverts, and others that offer the virtual space for free.

Emirates24|7 steps in with its free classified section that allows residents to sell and buy without any cost.

Dubizzle went from a free to paid car advert model in December last year. “We need to provide constant customer support, invest in regular improvements and innovations on the site, and ensure ads get viewed by as many potential buyers as possible,” explained Osman Bhurgri, product marketing manager – Motors at Dubizzle UAE.

Some of the other regular haunts for online car shoppers are Olx, AutoFinderUAE, SellAnyCar, SimplyBuyAnyCar and MyCarPoint. Also, popular are some dailies’ online classifieds, which in some cases offer the facility for free.

Eronat insists that paying for an advert does not guarantee whether a sale will happen, or how soon it will happen.

“I personally feel that it is easier to sell on community pages, as it is based on trust. So, if a car shows problems after the sale, the new owner can easily contact the old one.” He directs towards the numerous community pages on social media networks like Facebook that is a safe bet. “It’s a safe bet for both the buyers and sellers.”

Another expert in the field felt paid classifieds could work better. “When the value of the sale item, in this case a car, is high, it’s not a big deal to shell out a fee for the ad. This way, you are directed only to genuine buyers, and can eliminate unnecessary elements.”

Talking about the wide range of options available online, she added: “People are clearly spoilt for choice. So, they might want to try out a popular site first, before making the differentiation based on money.”

Dubizzle’s Bhurgi agrees that the site has witnessed a dip in the adverts after the introduction of the fee. “We have seen a small drop, which is natural and expected when a product goes from ‘free’ to ‘paid’. But overall the recovery process has been faster than anticipated,” he says.

Some residents, however, felt it is easier to sell the vehicle to a car dealer instead. “It’s simple, straightforward and hassle-free,” said Jacob George, who resides in Karama. “I have heard enough stories of how some people get cheated through online classified deals. You might get a bargain, but you are not entirely sure if you have got yourself a good deal.”

(Image via Shutterstock)