Hoobly launches geographical search feature for its online classifieds

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In order to give users more geographical flexibility when searching its free online classified listings, Hoobly has added a radius search feature to its site.

In addition to searching by city, state, country or everywhere, the new feature will enable Hoobly users to select a city and then zoom in or out of that location within five to 500 miles.

Hoobly allows users to search across city, state and country lines to more easily find the items they are looking to buy, said Peter Grigor, founder and CEO of Hoobly, which is based in Pittsburgh. “We put everything in one database — it allows people to specify what areas they want to browse in,” he said.

In contrast, other online classified sites, like Craigslist and Kijiji, have separate sites for different local areas, Grigor said. This makes it cumbersome to search for items within a larger geographical area, Grigor added.

Hoobly's search features also provide an extra level of flexibility for advertisers, Grigor said. For example, Hoobly's Premium Ad system allows advertisers to target users by area and/or category.

There are a number of classified categories on the site. Ads for puppies and other pets tend to dominate, which has been the result of organic growth, Grigor said. However, over the past six to nine months, categories like vehicles and real estate have been increasing, he added. “We're shying away from personals,” he said.

On average, Hoobly gets from 9 million to 10 million page views per month and has attracted a little more than a half of million registered users, Grigor said. There are between 50,000 to 60,000 regular monthly users, he said.

In the future, Grigor said he hopes to add an online auction component to the site, similar to what eBay provides. The auctions will be ideal for one-of-a-kind luxury items, while the classified section will remain a better place to sell commodities. “People will be able to decide. We'll let them know what is the best way to sell items,” he said.

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