"Kijiji" Isn't Kutting It. How about eBay Classifieds?

eBay is having second thoughts about how easy it will be to spread the Kijiji brand in the U.S. The company is testing out the name “eBay Classifieds” in two cities, San Antonio and Pittsburgh. A letter sent out to Kijiji members states:

We here at Kijiji thought it made a lot of sense to start using the eBay brand name. After all, we are part of the eBay family and we are a classifieds site…so “eBay Classifieds” just seemed like a good idea.

Maybe it also has something to do with the “j”s and “i”s blending together beyond recognition in “Kijiji.” It’s not just the name that needs work. The number of visitors to Kijiji sites worldwide was up only 7 percent in January to 23.2 million, while Craigslist grew six times faster and widened the gap. It ended January with 41.4 million unique visitors (see comScore chart below).

In the U.S., Kijiji is experiencing much stronger growth, but its 3.7 million unique visitors in January is only a tenth of that of Craigslist (which had 39.4 million U.S. unique visitors, see second chart below). A year ago, Kijiji vowed to become No. 1 in the U.S. It is still far from that goal. And Oodle, which just signed a deal to power Facebook’s classifieds (in addition to MySpace’s and AOL’s), is catching up from below.

Kijiji is going to need more than a name change to challenge Craigslist.

Above is the global chart, below is the U.S. chart.