Zameen.com is the self-proclaimed #1 Property Website in Pakistan. A quick Google search to see the top search results and some exploration of the search listings on the top 3 sites reveals that this claim might just be accurate. Zameen.com has around 430K ads listed on its website, followed by Rocket Internet’s Lamudi.pk at around 100K and HomesPakistan.com at 34K. These specialized websites are still way behind the real estate section on OLX which has over 800K ads, but OLX is much more than just a property website.
How it works
The core part of the website is the property listings for renting and buying homes, plots and commercial properties. The listings are divided into three sections: Buy, Rent and Wanted. The biggest chunk of the ads falls in the “plots” category which reflects the nature of the real estate market in Pakistan – an investment vehicle for household savings.
Users can search for properties by City, Location, Home Type, Number of Bedrooms, Land Area and Price Range. This makes for a pretty accurate search tool for finding exactly what you are looking for. If you are just looking for a property agent, Zameen.com can help you out there too – there are around 1,000 agents listed on the website.
Going beyond classifieds
Additional features that go beyond the usual classifieds approach help Zameen.com distinguish itself from the generic platforms for online ads such as OLX. These include the section on new projects, the blog with property news and a forum for discussion. These features allow users to get more than just access to property ads and give a more wholesome experience.
The blog is the most impressive of these features as it is not only regularly updated; it has extremely rich content on local properties and issues surrounding them. The topics covered on a regular basis make it a blog worth following on a regular basis for people interested in investing in real estate. Comparing this to Lamudi.pk’s article on whether Germany or Argentina are a better place to live really speaks to the effort and local expertise that Zameen.com is bringing to the online real estate market.
What really helps Zameen.com stand out from the other property websites is that the entire website is also available in Urdu. This is probably one of the reasons for its success as it increases the range and scope of website visitors by a great amount.
Property trading and purchasing is definitely one of our more popular national sports. This means that everybody is interested in investing their savings in property or making a quick buck via the market. The availability of this website in Urdu includes a big chunk of the population that would have been disenfranchised otherwise. This especially includes the older generations who has the glut of savings in this economy and are the main movers and shakers in the property market.
The business seems to be the run-of-the-mill startup, in this case founded by two brothers: Zeeshan Ali Khan and Imran Ali Khan. Working on its first mover advantage, and with the help of foreign investors such as the French chairman who joined in 2012 – the business has really taken off.
In 2014, Zameen.com received investment in return for a non-controlling interest by Singapore-based Catcha Group and Frontier Digital Ventures. These additional funds as well as the access to more international expertise will definitely help Zameen.com grow stronger and increase its advantage in the Pakistani market.
Zameen.com claims to have 50 employees working on the website’s various aspects. Additionally, the website also talks about international offices operating in the UAE, USA and the UK.
Pop-up ads and featured listing seem to be the main revenue streams. Many of these ads are by real estate agents attempting to stand out on the website. This is an interesting aspect since websites like Zameen.com are technically putting real estate agents out of their jobs.
The extent of data available with Zameen.com about property prices, demand and supply has made it an oft-quoted source on the property market in Pakistan. This status further helps the website’s popularity as the top source of everything related to real estate in Pakistan.
Zameen.com’s story is an example of the great potential for setting up specialized online exchange portals and then working on becoming the leader in that arena. The next big idea in this area might be around the corner – we can only guess what it might be: art pieces, furniture, toys, or any of the several other possibilities.
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