OLX is the most well known public market place in Pakistan. By offering an easy way to buy and sell items even for non-tech savvy people, it has become a major player both locally and internationally. The focus of the platform has always been on enabling common citizens to buy and sell with ease.
New Issue Faced by Real Sellers
Recently, however, the situation has changed, especially in Pakistan. Reports have started coming in that OLX Pakistan is no longer a place for the average person to buy or sell their stuff. Amongst several other Pakistan-specific issues, spamming seems to have made some OLX city pages completely useless.
Users have informed ProPakistani that they can’t seem to sell their items on OLX and their ads get very few views. This problem seems to be more prevalent on the Karachi and Lahore based OLX pages. Local businesses have started spamming the pages with hundreds of duplicate ads every day.
More on Spam Ads
While a normal user has to go through a rigorous verification process which requires original product pictures, unique descriptions and one ad per item, these businesses seem to have a found a way to bypass the verification process and post several ads each day.
Upon investigation, we were able to see that about 20 to 40 spam ads are posted every hour throughout the day, which sums up to over 400 ads each day while a normal user refreshes their ad every week.
It was observed that the spamming process slows down during late night hours only and restarts again every morning.
The ads are mostly by businesses which want to either procure used items or sell them. There are several ads providing services like AC installation as well.
Advice for OLX
Users have been reporting such ads but OLX has done nothing to ban the spammers or enforce a tougher verification method.
If OLX is to maintain its supremacy in the market, it has to deal with the issue quickly before its vast userbase in the country leaves the platform for good.
OLX should also implement some new algorithms so that sellers with good ratings and successful sales get promoted up in the order instead of new ones taking center stage.
A proper rating system is also missing from the marketplace, creating loads of issues including that of fraudulent sellers and spammers.
When it comes to the ecommerce industry, one small bad experience can ruin it for potential customers for life.
The situation is even worse for OLX as users from two of the biggest cities of Pakistan can no longer use their marketplace.
Advice for Businesses
Many businesses are adding listing to buy used items in the Selling section, which makes little sense since buyers won’t be checking the Selling section while looking for things to purchase.
As far as service providers are concerned, their customers usually use the services category on OLX or use a search engine to find them. No one would look for service providers in the buying section.
Businesses that are spamming ads on OLX need to realize that they are hurting the very platform they want to leverage. If the ratio of useful ads to spam keeps getting worse, the value for a normal user decreases and they’re just going to end up leaving for good.
Our advice to these businesses is to post their ads in appropriate sections and not to post multiple ones as it has no positive effect on reaching their potential customers.
If you have faced similar issues on any other OLX pages or services, let us know in the comments below.