Looking for a cool new bike? Or a dress of a specific color and style? Instead of making you search for it, a startup called Ubokia lets you post what you’re looking for, then wait for the sellers to come to you.
The site has been making progress recently, crossing the 100,000 user mark (the company says via email that it’s now “well on our way to 200K users and over 400K unique visitors”), and it just launched a new feature that could take those numbers up further, by making Ubokia embeddable on partner sites.
Now, the idea of posting a “want” ad for what you’re looking for isn’t new. Heck, it was even a feature of old-school newspaper classifieds. However, Ubokia VP of Marketing Matt Pine points most online marketplaces are “seller-centric” — sellers determine what’s available for sale, then buyers just browse what’s on offer. That approach is becoming less effective as more and more marketplaces pop up, so that “buyers are becoming a scarce commodity” — hence the creation of Ubokia, which is all about “empowering the buyer.” (Sellers can post their own listings too, but that’s not the primary model.)
The closest point of comparison is probably Zaarly, another site where people post what they’re looking for and what they’re willing to pay. Ubokia is more focused on goods than services (to be clear, you can also ask for products on Zaarly, but every real-life example I’ve heard about has involved a task of some sort) and it’s less driven by local transactions.
And the new embeddable version means that other publishers can add marketplace features to their own sites without having to build the technology or the inventory on their own. Instead, they can just add an Ubokia Marketplace page to their site, customized to their specifications (for example, Pine demonstrated the feature on an automobile forum, which might want to focus postings on cars and car parts), and then they take a share of any resulting revenue.
You can read more about Ubokia’s partner feature on the company’s corporate site.