Classifieds giant OLX has launched a new dedicated real estate platform Storia.ro in Romania to complement its existing site OLX Imobiliare.
OLX.ro, majority held by African conglomerate Naspers, has also introduced a CRM solution AtlaStock, which offers access to both platforms.
According to Naspers Classifieds Romania General Manager Cristina Gheorghitoiu, Storia.ro was launched after discussions with real estate agencies and OLX users revealed website’s offer wasn't meeting their needs.
As a result, Storia.ro has been designed to allow users to upload a greater variety of data about real estate properties listed on the site, including maps, videos and information about the surroundings.
“Thanks to the dialogue we had throughout the past year, both with real estate agencies as well as with OLX users looking to rent, we understood there were needs we did not fully cover, such as the best quality ads or the possibility to conduct advanced searches on the website,” Gheorghitoiu says.
She adds the the decision to launch Storia.ro was also informed by the company's experience in relation to its local dedicated auto market site Autovit.ro and other rental platforms in the region such as Poland and Portugal.
OLX Imobiliare will remain accessible with real estate agents able to post three free ads every month, website representatives confirmed to Romania's Business Review.
They can also choose between a package allowing them to place their listings on OLX at a starting price of EUR 0.95 or exclusively on Storia, at a cost of EUR 3.99 for each add.
An integrated package is also on offer, which provides access to all three platforms – OLX, Storia and their unified management via AtlaStock – with a starting price of EUR 0.30 per ad.
“Right now, the commercial package that integrates all three services (OLX, AtlaStock and Storia) is the premium solution that we offer the real estate secto," says Naspers Classifieds Romania Head of Real-Estate Sorin Balan.
"Moreover, this is also our recommendation to all experts that want a double exposure for their ads at the most affordable cost," he says.
According to Romania Insider the launch of Storia.ro puts Naspers directly in competition with Swiss media group Ringier, which bought the imobiliare.ro website earlier this year.
Romania Insider also reports interest in the country's online real estate classified sector has significantly increased with several new players such as wizmo.ro, lajumate.ro and directimo.ro recently entering the market .
Naspers operates the OLX website in Romania through Allegro Online Services Romania, which recorded revenues of EUR 4.27 million in 2015 and losses of EUR 5.24 million in the same period.
Romania Insider says OLX took over main competitor tocmai.ro in a wider international transaction between Naspers and Norwegian Schibsted Media Group in February 2015.
Citing brat.ro it says OLX is the most visited website in Romania with over 9 million unique visitors and 29.5 million visits in July.
In January this year, OLX started charging for classifieds in the auto category, in an attempt to monetize this growing user base.