OLX South Africa quietly shuts down

The South African version of OLX, a secondhand classified site similar to Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, has shuttered much to the surprise of many visitors.

We discovered this first hand when trying to access the site to check on any new listings only to be presented with the above image informing us that the site is now closed and a redirection to AutoTrader or Property24.

We weren’t the only ones surprised to see this. Many people on platforms such as Twitter have similarly been blindsided by the closure.

We reached out to Naspers, the parent company for OLX, to find out what had happened.

Sjoerd Nikkelen, general manager for Asia, Middle East and Africa at OLX Group, told us this:

“Earlier today, we discontinued our OLX horizontal classifieds platform in South Africa, as we focus our customer proposition fully on our strong property and autos verticals in the country (Property24 and AutoTrader). This is ultimately an indication of the progress we have made in South Africa over recent years and symbolic of how we as OLX Group continue to adjust ourselves.”

While no mention is made of competitors we have to wonder how much the aforementioned Facebook Marketplace had to do with this decision.

Facebook’s take on classifieds have been available in South Africa for some years now and has matured to rival older platforms such as Gumtree, Junk Mail and the now defunct OLX.

Unlike its competitors Marketplace offered functionality that the others could not due to its status as a Facebook product. One feature we’ve used many times when buying and selling on Marketplace is the ability to post a single advert across multiple public and private groups, on top of the usual free for all main Marketplace hopper.

This means a higher likelihood of people in those groups seeing your advert.

Other benefits included more assurance when buying thanks to the ability to see a more mature Facebook profile attached to adverts, and a chat system using the regular Facebook Messenger.

OLX did offer some functionality we enjoyed such as the ability to more easily see sellers’ phone numbers attached to their adverts if a user was logged in, something that is outright blocked and prevented from happening on Marketplace.

The OLX name was also more well known in the secondhand space which makes the surprise of this closure more impactful.


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