MoboFree.com – mobile social marketplace to share love, friendship and stuff. Despite a fact that there is no big buzz about this project in local media it seems that project is quite popular in Nigeria. According to Opera State of the mobile web – last June MoboFree was among Top 10 of the most visited mobile sites in Nigeria and has quite good positions in other African countries, such as Zimbabwe or Malawi.
According to official statistics of the site, MoboFree has ~2.5 million registered users mostly from Africa. More than 1.2 million of them – Nigerians.
As a social network MoboFree is dedicated to meet new people, find new friends, congenial and even soul mates. Users can exchange photos and files, communicate via internal private messages, private chat, discuss in forums. But there is one thing what makes this project special among other social networks – all project is based on the idea of so called collaborative consumption. Which means that MoboFree encourages members to share, swap, barter, exchange, rent or even give away unused stuff. Every registered member have access to MoboFree market place – http://market.mobofree.com – where he or she may upload owned stuff or search for stuff according his or her location.
According to project representative Neringa Pazusyte, almost everyone has some unused stuff at home – it can be read books, unused electronics, not suitable clothes, etc. MoboFree marketplace allows getting something what is really necessary for your family right now in exchange to things you don’t need, or even for free. It’s quite safe way to make your life more beautiful and more comfortable sometimes even without spending money.
Project developers admit that the most challenging thing in such type of projects is to avoid different scams. “The biggest advantage we have in comparison with biggest local boards of classifieds – strong internal community. When you want to buy or sell something via usual classifieds site – you usually see phone number of “mister unknown”. You have zero information about seller/buyer and risk to be dumped is extremely high. In MoboFree situation is different – both seller and buyer become more visible – you can see their photos, names, reviews by other members, how long they are registered to this site. Finally you can always start a deal from friendly chat or even flirt and if person looks reliable to you – proceed to deal in real life. Of course this does not protect from scammers 100%, but it’s much safer in comparison to buying from usual classifieds boards, especially if you do some research and choose to make deals only with people who have gained reputation on MoboFree and have several positive feedbacks.
Project developers claim that they are not trying to compete with traditional ads boards. “We are sure that both models can exist by each other. There are people who have limited time, have exact sum of money and know their direct target – those ones will always choose traditional classifieds board. And there are people for whom communication, trust, personal relation is very important – those will spend more time on MoboFree” – says Neringa Pazusyte.
According to project developers they plan to grow user base of Nigerian users to 2 million till the end of 2013. MoboFree is developed and supported by team of 3 people, based in Vilnius, Lithuania.